Tuesday, November 24, 2015

These Could Be the First U.S. States to Tax Carbon — and Give Their Residents a Nice Paycheck

Steam billows from the coal-fired Merrimack Station in Bow, N.H. (Credit: AP Photo/Jim Cole)  Click to Enlarge.
But Massachusetts may give Washington state a run for its money.  For their part, advocates in Massachusetts are also set on becoming the first state in the country to successfully implement a carbon tax, said Zaurie Zimmerman, president of Zaurie Zimmerman Associates Inc., board member for Climate XChange and co-chair of Business Leaders for Climate Action.  Rather than pushing a citizen’s initiative, interested residents, businesses and civic organization have formed a coalition called the Massachusetts Campaign for a Clean Energy Future and rallied behind a bill introduced earlier this year by state Sen. Michael Barrett, a Democrat.

The bill also proposes a revenue-neutral carbon fee, which would start at $10 per ton of carbon dioxide equivalent and rise by $5 per year until it reached a cap of $40 per ton.  Money raised would be returned to the public in the form of rebates.  The proposed tax would not affect the electricity sector, which is already regulated through a cap-and-trade system called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

As of last weekend, the bill had gained 45 co-sponsors, which is more than 20 percent of the state legislature.  On Oct. 27, the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy held a hearing largely devoted to discussion of the proposed carbon tax and related testimony from interested individuals and organizations, including business, industry, faith and civic leaders.

A price on carbon is “essential” if Massachusetts wants to meet its statewide emissions reduction goals, which include reducing emissions by 80 percent relative to their 1990 levels, said Christopher Knittel, professor of energy economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in testimony to the committee.

“I  have  rarely  in  my  career  explicitly supported  a  single  piece  of  legislation, but this is one very important exception,” he wrote in his address to the committee.  “S. 1747 is the right policy, at the right time, for the right reasons.”

Zimmerman said the bill could be out of committee as early as March, at which point it would be subject to a vote, although there’s a possibility the process could be pushed back later in the year.

Read more at These Could Be the First U.S. States to Tax Carbon — and Give Their Residents a Nice Paycheck

No comments:

Post a Comment