Since 2008 British Columbia's economy has grown while carbon pollution dropped using a popular and business-friendly law championed by a centrist-conservative politician. How? A simple carbon fee on fossil fuels. It's a fee - not a tax - if government refunds all the proceeds back to everyone, effectively lowering taxes for individuals and employers, especially those that choose to burn less fuel. Based on BC's experience, we know that businesses like it because the fee provides predictability about the inevitable (paying to pollute) and a net tax break. Consumers like it because we're guaranteed a rebate, and can modify choices to end up with more money (by using less oil and gas and coal-sourced power). Anyone who breathes and wants prosperity and security knows that we need to burn less fossil fuels. So a carbon fee - let's call it a clean reward - means prosperity, cleaner air, and an incentive to innovate. We also know it boosts clean tech businesses and jobs. Oh, and it succeeded in dropping fossil fuel consumption per person by 16% while it increased 3% in the rest of Canada.
Massachusetts bill S.1747, modeled on British Columbia's carbon pricing law, has 20% of the state legislature signed-up as co-sponsors. A detailed study found that a clean reward (the carbon fee funded rebate) would make most Bay Staters (on average) break-even or come out a bit richer (especially those of us among the poorest 60%), create 4,000-10,000 new jobs, and cut emissions. While we may be first-state-in-the-USA to adopt this solution, we'd be catching-up to much of the world. Jurisdictions representing 42% of the world's GDP (soon to be over 50%) already have some form of carbon pricing.
To learn more and/or watch-or-get-engaged in the debate about this law:
- If you're a fellow Bay Stater, you can write-in to your representative and senator (you can look yours up in a few seconds here), or, if you are seeing this in time, show up at the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy hearing about Bill S.1747 on Tuesday, October 27 at 1:00 PM in Hearing Room 1-B at the Massachusetts State House.