States and cities are increasingly on the frontline in the fight against climate change. With leaders from private, public and academic sectors recognizing the need to address climate change, a search is on for a solution that all can agree on. Long a climate leader, Massachusetts has proposed an innovative climate initiative that has created some unlikely allies.
With the goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, Massachusetts government leaders have proposed two separate measures that would put a price on carbon. Essentially, these plans would raise the price of fossil fuels in an attempt to accurately reflect their true costs in terms of health, pollution, and other government subsidies. The carbon price would increase government revenue that could either be reinvested in renewable energy production, or returned to residents and businesses. Either way, the greater price on carbon would discourage and decrease fossil fuel consumption.
What makes this solution promising is the allies that it has created. Six major oil companies, international leaders, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, business leaders, politicians and environmentalists, and 5 other states in the US all support carbon pricing. With such overwhelming support, local and state government leaders must seize the moment. Rarely does such a diverse coalition come together in an attempt to solve a problem with such magnitude as climate change. Help to get your city involved by checking out the resources at Path to Positive Communities.
"We have to step up our fight against climate change," Massachusetts state Sen. Michael Barrett told a packed committee hearing in Boston on Tuesday. Barrett's solution: put a price on carbon.
Barrett laid out his plan in Senate Bill S.1747, one of two carbon price options before the legislature. Massachusetts joins five other states—Connecticut, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington—with proposed legislation exploring this option for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Although the idea of a carbon price is not new, it is increasingly seen as a key climate solution in the leadup to the U.N. climate talks in Paris in December. Six major oil and gas companies, including BP, Shell and Statoil, have said they support carbon pricing. In recent weeks, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg voiced support for a global price on carbon. So have the heads of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, along with many global leaders in business and politics.
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