By Tim Cronin
This week Washington State and California announced an agreement to accelerate the adoption of a carbon price to slow the pace of climate change. Together, both states account for 15 percent of US GDP, or about $2.7 trillion worth of annual production.
These two US states were joined by five American countries (Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Chile) and five Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia).
The announcement comes on the heels of the UN Climate Summit in Bonn, Germany, which featured representatives from US states, localities, and businesses working alongside nations to take action on climate. CABA’s Executive Director Michael Green brought four Massachusetts legislators to participate in the talks (learn more about his trip here).
The Bonn talks and California/Washington’s announcement highlight an important, and growing, recent trend in climate action: states stepping up for bold climate policies.
Since his inauguration, President Trump has taken a number of steps that run counter to the prevailing wisdom on climate change. He’s nominated a slew of climate skeptics to top administrative posts, including Scott Pruitt as EPA chief; and taken steps to suppress federal studies, information, and reports on global climate change. The biggest shock came when President Trump withdrew the US from the Paris Climate Agreement, leaving the US as the only nation not signed on.
Massachusetts lawmakers and other policy makers attending the Bonn Climate Talks represents the first of many steps forward on climate action in the state. But our state leaders should take the next step by passing a statewide price on carbon, as California and Washington have both committed to do. Two bills before the Massachusetts legislature would do just that.
A carbon price has been shown to be the most efficient means of reducing long-term emissions, while maintaining and even stimulating economic growth. Doing so would signal to the nation and the world that Massachusetts is ready to join as a leader in addressing climate change.
To learn more about carbon pricing and how you can support it in Massachusetts and beyond, visit Climate-XChange.org.
About the author: Tim assists in coordinating CABA’s Policy Program, and is a young professional with experience in community organizing and state politics. He is currently pursuing a B.A. in Economics at Stonehill College. Tim has previously studied Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) at Oxford University, and has interned at the State House and in local government. He currently serves as student-body president at Stonehill College where he has continued to fight for sustainable initiatives such as fossil fuel divestment, expanding the college’s solar farm, and reducing food waste. Tim is on the board of a local civic association in his hometown of Weymouth, and is the founder of the community nonprofit Green Weymouth. Tim enjoys reading The Economist, listening to podcasts, and exploring state parks in his free time.