"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.
Tuesday's hearing of the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy in Boston was packed. Attendees overflowed the limited seating, sat on the floor, lined the walls, and spilled into the hallway of the State House. The majority of the nearly five-hour meeting focused on the competing carbon pricing schemes, and many of the speakers favored Barrett's bill.
Barrett, the second person to testify, said a carbon price is necessary if Massachusetts is to slash its carbon emissions 25 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050 compared to levels before 1990, a mandate laid out in the state's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008.
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 Merkeland 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.
"The idea of putting a price on carbon is catching fire as one of the best ways we can cut emissions and deal with the worst effects of climate change," Kenneth Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a climate research and communications nonprofit told InsideClimate News. "I do think the Paris agreement is going to galvanize that further.
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