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Act Now to Put a Fair Price on Carbon!

Due to Tuesday’s snow, the MA legislative co-sponsorship deadline was extended.  This means we have until 5pm Monday Feb 2 to contact our state legislators and ask them to sign on to put a fair price on carbon. This is agreed by most economists to be the most important step we can take to transition away from fossil fuels. Yet it’s also fair to call this policy a tax, and any “tax” faces a steep political hurdle. So it’s important to take effective action NOW to get legislation passed. Climate XChange has made it easy to contact your legislators.

Two Bills: There are now two bills in the MA legislature designed to put a fair price on carbon. Both bills tax fossil fuels and return revenues to citizens. There are some differences between the bills. For example, SD 285, sponsored by Sen. Barrett, returns all revenues to residents and businesses. SD 1814, sponsored by Sen. Pacheco, returns 80% of revenues to residents, and dedicates 20% to an alternative energy fund. Another difference is that SD 1814 includes electricity, SD 285 does not.

Both bills Endorsed by Coalition: On a statewide organizers call January 27, we learned that 350MA has been working closely with Climate XChange to build a powerful coalition to pass a bill to price carbon. To date, there are over 10 coalition members including the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, Climate Action Business Association, Clean Water Action, Acadia Center, and the Environmental League of MA. At this point, the coalition is urging state senators to cosponsor both bills, and then engage in a thoughtful and thorough debate on the merits. Most likely, over the next 18 months, a law that combines the best of both will be passed – but only if we show our strong support!. Coalition members believe that without this legislation, it will be very difficult to achieve the MA goals established in the Global Warming Solutions Act to cut emissions by 25% by 2020.

What You Can Do: Click here to go to a Climate XChange page set up to ask your local state rep and senator to sponsor Sen. Barrett’s bill. If you want to follow the coalition strategy and support both bills, you can cut and paste something like the following to the message that goes out to your representative and senator:

“While I strongly support putting a fair price on carbon, as SD285 does, I also encourage you to support a thorough discussion of SD285 in relation to SD 1814 (Sen. Pacheco’s bill) which proposes dedicating 20% of carbon price funds to a “major new investment in clean energy and public transportation.” I believe that “the best of both” bills will serve our Commonwealth best.” After you take this step please contact others you know and encourage them to do the same.

With gas prices low, this can be the best time to get a carbon tax passed nationwide. Citizens Climate Lobby is leading the nationwide effort. In parallel, organizers in Massachusetts, Vermont, Washington, and Oregon working hard to get state laws passed. If you’d like to work with us to make it happen here in MA, please contact Dave Roitman at droitman1@verizon.net or call 413-535-7173.