July is the last month of the two-year legislative session, and the status of carbon pricing legislation is changing rapidly.
A carbon pricing provision passed the Senate as part of S.2564, and we are now focused on getting the House to attach carbon pricing to one of the energy/climate bills that it is considering. Follow this link to found out how to get involved in our phone banking to the constituents of key legislators.
On June 14th, 2018 the Senate unanimously passed S.2564- An Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future which, among other things, included provisions to institute a state-wide price on carbon. Unlike the other bills proposed this session, the Senate’s language does not impose a detailed blueprint. Instead, the Governor and his administration are held to specific deadlines — carbon pricing of some kind for the transportation sector by the end of 2020, for commercial and industrial buildings and processes by the end of 2021, and for residential buildings by the end of 2022. Check out this post for more information on the Senate bill.
Why Carbon Pricing?
Economists on the left and right agree that putting a fee on carbon pollution is the most cost-effective way to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Such a charge would give energy producers and consumers a strong incentive to shift from fossil fuels to clean energy – while having the freedom to decide how to do so.
The revenue from the fee would be used as a rebate to put cash in the pocket of every resident – to spend as they choose. Part of the money could also be invested into clean energy infrastructure and transportation, giving the renewable energy economy a helpful boost.
Carbon Pricing Legislation Filed in Massachusetts
Three key bills were filed in the Massachusetts legislature this session that focus on putting a fee on carbon pollution. The bills collectively received 79 cosponsors – more than one-third of the legislature.
Senator Michael Barrett’s An Act Combating Climate Change is the carbon pricing bill in the Senate, and Representative Jennifer Benson has put forth An Act to Promote Green Infrastructure, Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Create Jobs in the House. The bills are largely similar, with a few differences as described below. Both bills include provisions to protect low-income people. After building a campaign around Senator Barrett’s carbon pricing bill last session, we have a solid foundation to work off of, and have high hopes for the bills this session. In the Senate, an omnibus climate bill, S.2302, An Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future, sponsored by Senator Pacheco, was proposed that contained provisions that would institute carbon pricing (see Section 4 on page 58, beginning line 1192). This bill was amended and voted out unanimously by members of the State Senate. Please read our bill overview for more information.
H 1726, An Act to Promote Green Infrastructure, Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Create Jobs
Sponsored by Representative Jennifer Benson
80% of the revenue would be returned via rebates to households and employers, while 20% would be used to fund green infrastructure investments in transportation, clean energy, and protection against the impacts of climate change. By rebating a high proportion of the funds through a progressive formula, the bill would ensure that low- and moderate-income households do not come out behind. Because the bill rebates funds to employers based on their number of employees, most business sectors would come out ahead or about even, and there would be a net gain to employment in the state. The fee would begin at $20 per ton of CO2, and rise $5 a year until it hits $40 per ton, the same as in S 1821.
H 1726 was officially filed by Representative Jennifer Benson on January 20, 2017 and received an impressive 58 cosponsors. The Campaign for a Clean Energy Future, a coalition that Climate XChange has a leadership role in, is building a campaign to push the bill forward in the legislature. On June 13th, 200 people met with 50 legislators for Carbon Pricing Lobby Day. One week later, more than 400 supporters attending the TUE committee hearing on the carbon pricing legislation. For updates on the campaign, sign up for the Climate XChange newsletter.
S. 1821, An Act Combating Climate Change
Sponsored by Senator Mike Barrett
100% of the revenue would be returned to households, businesses, and institutions. For the CO2 charges paid by people, each state resident would receive an equal share of the total money collected. For charges paid by businesses and other institutions, each would get a rebate in proportion to its share of total employment in Massachusetts. Additional rebates would be provided to households in rural areas and to businesses that are energy-intensive and face stiff out-of-state competition. The fee would start out at $10 per ton of CO2, rising $5 a year until it hits $40 a ton.
S 1821 was officially filed by Senator Mike Barrett on January 20, 2017 and currently has 65 cosponsors – up significantly from the 48 cosponsors that his carbon pricing bill received last legislative session. The Campaign for a Clean Energy Future, a coalition that Climate XChange has a leadership role in, is building a campaign to push the bill forward in the legislature. On June 13th, 200 people met with 50 legislators for Carbon Pricing Lobby Day. One week later, more than 400 supporters attending the TUE committee hearing on the carbon pricing legislation. For more updates on the campaign, sign up for the Climate XChange newsletter.