State Carbon Pricing Network

The State Carbon Pricing Network (SCPN) provides a platform to connect and collaborate across initiatives. Sharing wisdom and resources helps the movement thrive towards getting carbon pricing passed. Join our network to get involved in monthly state update calls, dive deep into carbon pricing’s toughest topics, and stay informed on the frontlines of the movement.

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OVERVIEW OF THE CARBON PRICING MOVEMENT

In the wake of striking federal inaction on climate change, states have taken a leadership role in the fight for carbon pricing. Campaigns have emerged in dozens of states, with Northeastern and Western US leading the way.

13 states have introduced carbon pricing bills this year

California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Utah, Washington.  

New England

  • New England is paving the way in the fight for carbon pricing. All but one New England state have introduced carbon pricing legislation in 2019, with Massachusetts serving as the undeniable leader of the pack. Bay State legislators have proposed a fee on carbon pollution every year since 2013, and this year’s bills boast more co-sponsors than ever before. It remains to be seen if legislation will be enacted this session, but keep your eyes peeled for updates regarding Rep. Benson’s and Sen. Barrett’s bills.
  • In Maine, the state’s first-ever carbon tax bill faced significant opposition at its public hearing.
  • Connecticut Rep. Jonathan Steinberg has introduced carbon pricing bills for three years now. This year, he’s fighting just to get a hearing on his bill.   
  • Two carbon pricing bills were introduced in New Hampshire; one is a study bill and one imposes a $20 per carbon ton fee. Both are unlikely to pass this session.
  • Lawmakers in Vermont have once again proposed carbon pricing, but the legislation is not expected to advance.  
  • The Energize Rhode Island coalition has faced a slow start, but bills are expected to be introduced in the coming days.  

Mid-Atlantic

  • Lots has been going on in the Mid-Atlantic. In New York, the NY Renews coalition has been pushing for strong climate legislation that doesn’t involve carbon pricing just yet, but will in the near future.  
  • Gov. Murphy announced New Jersey will rejoin RGGI. At the same time, NJ Student Climate Activists have been actively working on developing a “carbon cashback” policy that will likely be introduced next year.
  • Pennsylvania’s Clean Air Council has filed a petition to establish a cap-and-trade program. Over 104 environmental, health, and religious groups, businesses and municipalities have now signed on, and attorneys are leading the charge.  
  • Maryland’s carbon pricing bill, sponsored by David Fraser-Hidalgo and Ben Kramer, has gained momentum.

Midwest

  • Not a whole lot is happening in the Midwest in regards to pricing pollution. But, early coalition-building efforts are in the works in Illinois.

South

  • Other than Virginia joining RGGI, there aren’t many notable carbon pricing advancements in the American South. Know of an active carbon pricing campaign in the South that we missed? Contact the network.

Mountain

  • Rep. Joel Briscoe has once again introduced carbon pricing legislation in Utah. Last year, the legislation garnered attention due to its bipartisan support, but both of the Republicans that cosponsored that bill have retired.
  • In Montana, carbon pricing bills were put forward by lawmakers for the first time. They died in committee.
  • In New Mexico, Governor Lujan Grisham recently signed an executive order committing the state to aggressive action against climate change, and a carbon pricing bill died in committee in early March.

Pacific

  • There’s lots to keep up with in the Pacific US. California’s cap-and-trade program remains the only state-level, multi-sector carbon pricing scheme in the country, and additional carbon pricing legislation has also been introduced.
  • Oregon’s Clean Energy Jobs bill has been introduced again this session, and is rapidly gaining momentum. The passage of this comprehensive cap-and-trade program is a noted priority of Gov. Kate Brown, and efforts to push the legislation forwards are led by the Renew Oregon coalition.
  • After failing to pass carbon pricing at the ballot two times in both 2016 and 2018, Washington State legislators have introduced cap-and-trade legislation and a bill that will impose a gradually-increasing, $10 per ton fee on carbon pollution.
  • Hawaii lawmakers introduced five carbon pricing bills this session after the state’s Climate Commission unanimously called on the legislature to pass a carbon tax. One bill, repealing the state fuel tax and replacing it with a $6.35 per carbon ton fee, unanimously passed through the Senate and is now in the House.

ARKANSAS

State Update:

While there is not currently any legislation for carbon pricing in Arkansas this session, the Citizens Climate Lobby is working hard to pass clean energy initiatives. With a 6th chapter being finalized now, Arkansas’ CCL is supporting SB.145 in the Senate, which would expand renewable energy use and make it more accessible. This bill passed the House and Senate as of March 12th, and is awaiting action by the Governor.

2019 Legislation:

The 2019 Legislative Session convened on January 14th and will adjourn on May 2nd.

Political Context:

  • Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson supported Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and has not supported emission-curbing policies.
  • Republicans have an overwhelming majority in the Senate (26-9) and House (76-24).

Past Legislation:

N/A

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

N/A

Further Reading:

Not Yet Available

Key Figures:

CALIFORNIA

State Update:

California has long been a state leader in climate change, imposing some of the most ambitious reduction targets and strongest regulations. It is currently the only state with an economy-wide cap-and-trade program. This program generated $525 million in revenue in its first year alone, and more than 7 billion in aggregate since 2013. It has also been successful in helping California meet its 2020 emission reduction target, which it surpassed in 2018. The state is on track to meet its 2030 reduction goals.

2019-2020 Legislation:

The 2019-2020 Legislative Session began on December 3, 2018 and will adjourn on November 30, 2020.

  • A carbon tax study bill (SB 43) has been introduced by Sen. Ben Allen. The tax would replace the sales-and-use tax with a carbon tax that would be based on the “carbon intensity” of the product.

Political Context:

  • Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom is a long-time environmentalist. He supports former Gov. Jerry Brown’s goal of California producing 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2045, and has even stated he wants the state to be a “net exporter” of clean power, shipping surplus electricity to neighboring states.
  • Overwhelming Democratic majorities exist in both the Senate (29-11) and House (60-20).  
  • Emission reduction targets:
    • By 2020: 1990 levels
    • By 2030: 40% below 1990 levels
    • By 2050: 80% below 1990 levels

Past Legislation:

  • In 2013, California launched a multi-sector, cap-and-trade program. The program regulates the emissions of more than 450 businesses – large electric power plants, large industrial plants, and fuel distributors – that are collectively responsible for about 85% of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Origin of program: In 2006, California’s Global Warming Solution Act (AB.32), introduced by Assembly members Fran Pavley and Fabien Nunez, laid the groundwork for California’s cap-and-trade program. The Act called for the California Air Resources Board (CARB) – the state’s clean air agency- to enact regulations that would allow the state to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. These regulations ultimately came in the form of an economy-wide cap on emissions.
    • Fee system: Entities regulated by the program are allocated a specific number of carbon allowances each year, an amount that declines annually.
      • The California emissions cap, standing at 358 million tons of carbon for 2018, will plummet to 200 million by 2030, a 44% decrease.
      • After an entity pollutes beyond its allocated amount, they must purchase additional allowances via quarterly auctions. These allowances, essentially permits to pollute, are sold at a reserve price (minimum price) that increases by 5% annually. For example, in California’s August 2017 auction, allowances were sold for $15.48 per ton, even though the reserve price was $13.57.
      • The carbon market, shaped by how much companies are willing to pay and what demand looks like, ultimately determines the price of allowances. Allowance sales are how the program raises revenue, as the initial supply of allowances provided to governments is free.
    • Revenue breakdown:
      • 45% invested in reducing state emissions, through renewable energy and energy efficiency measures
      • 35% rebated to households and businesses
      • 15% allocated to energy-intensive and trade-exposed (EITE) industries
      • 5% held in the state reserve
    • Status: A scoping plan for the program is updated every 5 years. In 2015, a provision was added that emissions should be 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. In 2017, legislation (AB.398) was passed extending the cap-and-trade program through 2030.

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

  • California is part of the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), a coalition of jurisdictions committed to taking collaborative action against climate change and forming a collective emission reduction strategy. The other jurisdictions currently partaking in WCI are Canadian provinces British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia.

Further Reading:

Key Figures:

COLORADO

State Update:

While Colorado has not been successful in moving carbon pricing legislation forward at the state level, they have demonstrated leadership at the city level through initiatives such as the Climate Action Plan. State activists have been closely watching Utah lead the way in the region.  

2019 Legislation:

The 2019 Legislative Session began on January 4th and will wrap up on May 11th.

Political Context:

  • Democrats currently hold the majority in both the House (41-24) and Senate (19-16)
  • Governor Jared Polis (D) made environmental issues a cornerstone of his campaign, and has pledged to ensure the state’s energy supply is 100% renewable by 2040.
  • Emission reduction targets:
    • By 2025: More than 26% below 2005 levels

Past Legislation:

While carbon pricing legislation has not yet been introduced at the state level, the city of Boulder made headlines in 2007, when voters approved an electric-sector carbon tax.

  • In 2007, the city of Boulder passed the Climate Action Plan (CAP), America’s first voter-approved tax aiming to address climate change. The fee is based on the amount of electricity consumed.
    • Fee system: The CAP levies a tax on residents and businesses, imposing different rates depending on the sector. Xcel Energy collects the tax on its monthly utility bills, and customers subscribing to wind-generated power are exempt from taxation.
      • The average resident pays $21 per year.
      • The average commercial organization pays $96 per year.
      • The average industrial organization, approximately 13 of the city’s largest energy users, pay $9,600 per year.
      • Based on those three sectors, annual revenue from the fee is about $1.8 million.
    • Revenue breakdown:
      • 38% to enhance commercial and industrial building energy efficiency
      • 25% to enhance residential building efficiency
      • 25% for local renewables, EVs, and market innovation
      • 12% for strategy development, outreach, and program evaluation
    • Status: In 2015, the city of Boulder voted to extend the CAP tax through 2023. So far, the tax has generated almost $18 million in revenue.

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

N/A

Further Reading:

N/A

Key Figures:

CONNECTICUT

State update:

Legislators have been vying for an economy-wide fee on carbon pollution for several years now. Such legislation was introduced by Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D) in 2017 and 2018, and several carbon pricing concept bills have been proposed in both the House and Senate in the 2019 session. Carbon pricing advocates are cautiously optimistic as momentum builds in the state.

2019 Legislation:

The 2019 Legislative Session began on January 9th and will wrap up on June 5th.

  • On the Senate side, “An Act Establishing Carbon Pricing” (SB.74) was introduced by Sen. Alex Bergstein and referred to the Joint Committee on Environment.
    • Status: Referred to the Joint Committee on Environment as of January 17th.
  • On the House side, three bills have been introduced: House Bill 6436 by Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, and House Bill 6451 and House Bill 6452 by Rep. Mary Mushinsky. All three were referred to the Joint Committee on Environment on January 28th.

Political Context:

  • Democratic Gov. Lamont has promised constituents he will prioritize climate issues during his first term. His goals are ambitious: for the state’s energy portfolio to be 100 percent renewable by 2050, and for all new homes and buildings to be zero carbon by 2035. He’s also strongly advocated for the state to put a price on carbon.
  • Democrats hold majorities in both the Senate (19-16) and House (41-24).
  • Emission reduction targets:
    • By 2020: 10% below 1990 levels
    • By 2050: 80% below 2001 levels

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

  • Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: Connecticut remains a member of RGGI, a regional cap-and-trade program on electric sector emissions between 10 states.
  • Transportation and Climate Initiative: Newly elected Gov. Ned Lamont (D) has announced plans to join TCI, a 12-state regional collaboration that would cap emissions from the transportation sector.
  • Carbon Costs Coalition: Connecticut legislators are a part of a multistate alliance between legislators focused on reducing and pricing carbon.

Past Legislation:

  • In 2015, Connecticut formed the Governor’s Council on Climate Change to evaluate ways to reach the state’s ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 80% below 2001 levels by 2050.
  • In 2017, Rep. Steinberg (D) introduced House Bill 7247 “An Act Establishing a Carbon Price for Fossil Fuels Sold in Connecticut.”
    • Fee system: Starting price is $15 per carbon ton, increasing by $5 annually
    • Revenue breakdown:
      • 25% toward climate resilience, efficiency, and renewable energy programs
      • 30% rebated to employers in the state
      • 40% rebated to state residents
      • 5% to administration
    • Result: Did not make it out of committee
  • In 2018, Rep. Steinberg, along with Rep. Cristin Vahey and Rep. Mushinsky, introduced a revenue neutral carbon pricing bill, House Bill 5363.
    • Fee system: Starting price is $15 per carbon ton, increasing by $5 annually
    • Revenue breakdown:
      • 50% rebated to residents
      • 45% rebated to employers
      • 5% for administrative purposes
    • Result: Did not make it out of committee

Further Reading:

Key Figures:

DELAWARE

State Update:

Delaware, a founding member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), pledged this fall to partake in another carbon pricing scheme- the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), which would cap transportation-sector emissions. But, the idea of imposing a direct, multi-sector fee on carbon pollution hasn’t gained much traction in the state. The League of Women Voters of Delaware conducted a study on statewide carbon pricing in 2015, which found that pricing carbon, either via a direct fee or a regulatory mechanism like cap-and-trade, would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

2019-2020 Legislation:

The 2019-2020 Legislative Session began on January 8th and will wrap up on June 30th.

Political Context:

  • Democratic Governor John Carney generally supports strong climate policy. He firmly opposed Trump’s repeal of the Clean Power Plan, and is a member of the U.S. Climate Alliance. He hasn’t advocated for carbon pricing, however.
  • Democratic hold majorities in the Senate (12-9) and House (26-15), but no clear carbon pricing champions have stood out in the legislature. (Consequently, no carbon pricing legislation has been introduced).
  • Emission reduction targets:
    • By 2030: 33% below 2008 levels

Past Legislation:

No prior legislation

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

Further Reading:

Not Available at this Time

Key Figures:

HAWAII

State Update:

While last session’s carbon pricing legislation didn’t pass through committee, in November 2018, Hawaii’s Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission firmly recommended that lawmakers enact carbon pricing, declaring that a “price on carbon is the most effective single action that will achieve Hawaii’s ambitious and necessary emissions reduction goals.” Hawaii became the first state in the country to legally commit to a zero-emissions, carbon neutral economy by 2045. The Commission also recommended that carbon pricing mechanisms minimize regressiveness, such as through equity-based tax credits or carbon fee and dividend.

2019–2020 Legislation:

The 2019–2020 Legislative Session began on January 16 and will wrap up in May of 2020.

  • On the House side, four bills have been introduced, one for a research study and three for direct fees on carbon emission.
    • “An Act Relating to Carbon Emissions” (HB 1584) appropriates funds to the University of Hawaii to conduct a comprehensive study of a statewide carbon tax. The legislation states that the current price of emissions does not accurately reflect its environmental and health costs.
      • Status: The bill passed out of the Energy and Environmental Protection committee on Thursday, January 31 with a 6-0 vote.
    • “An Act Relating to a Carbon Tax” (HB 1287), introduced by Rep. Chris Lee and Rep. Amy Perruso, puts a direct price on carbon pollution.
      • Fee system: $20 per carbon ton, increasing by $5 annually until reaching $55 per ton in 2034
      • Revenue breakdown:
        • 50% rebated back to taxpayers
        • 25% for the Environmental Response Revolving Fund, funding the removal, remediation and detection of pollutants and hazardous waste.
        • 25% for the Energy Security Special Fund, to support clean energy initiation program, renewable energy facilitator, and greenhouse gas emission reduction task force.  
      • Status: Referred to Committee on Energy and Environmental as of January 28th.
    • “An Act Relating to Taxation” (HB 1459) was introduced, calling for the replacement of an “environmental response, energy, and food security tax” with a carbon emissions tax. The bill, introduced by Sen. Russell Ruderman and Sen. Karl Rhoads, would repeal state fuel taxes under the fuel tax law and leave the state with as much revenue as it would otherwise have.
      • Fee system: $6.25 per carbon ton, changing according to department of taxation’s annual recommendation.
      • Revenue breakdown:
      • Status: Referred to Committee on Energy and Environmental as of January 28th.
  • “An Act Relating to Statewide Sustainability Initiatives” (HB 1579), introduced by seven legislators, imposes a carbon fee and establishes various sustainability initiatives.
    • Fee system: $15 per ton of carbon (no annual increase)“An Act Relating to Statewide Sustainability Initiatives” (HB 1579), introduced by seven legislators, imposes a carbon fee and establishes various sustainability initiatives.
    • Revenue distributed for the following funds:
      • Renewable Energy
      • Electric Vehicle Station
      • Energy Efficiency in State Facilities
      • Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan
      • Green Technology Development
      • Sea Levels Rise and Flooding Adaptation
      • Employment and Training
      • Various district infrastructure uses
    • Specific allocation amounts have yet to be delineated
    • Status: Referred to Committee on Energy and Environmental as of January 28th.
  • On the Senate side, “An Act Relating to Taxation” (SB 1463) was introduced. It is the Senate version of HB 1459.
    • Status: Referred to Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection as of March 7th.

Political Context:

  • Gov. David Ige (D) has been a leader on climate issues and will likely support carbon pricing legislation
  • Democrats have overwhelming majorities in both the Senate (24-1) and House (46-5).

Past Legislation:

  • In 2018, Rep. Kaniela Ing introduced “A Bill for an Act Relating to Environmental Protection” (HB 1991), which aimed to price carbon in the state for the first time.
    • Fee system: $10 per carbon ton, increasing annually by $5 until reaching $40 in 2025.
    • Revenue breakdown:
      • 80% for the state general fund
      • 20% for Environmental Response Revolving Fund, funding the removal, remediation and detection of pollutants and hazardous waste.
    • Result: Died in committee

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

  • Carbon Costs Coalition: One Hawaii legislator, Sen. Mike Gabbard, is part of a multistate alliance between legislators focused on reducing and pricing carbon.

Further Reading:

Will Hawaii be the first state to price carbon? (Feb. 2019)

Hawaii’s Carbon Pricing Bill Passes Senate with Unanimous Support (March 2019)

Key Figures:

ILLINOIS

State Update:

While no carbon pricing legislation has been introduced in the 2019 legislative session, a coalition known as the Illinois Pricing Pollution Coalition is developing. The coalition, comprised of members from the Climate Reality Project and Citizen’s Climate Lobby, is working to introduce a carbon pricing initiative by 2021. Decarbonization concepts bills have also been introduced in the House and Senate this session.

2019-2020 Legislation:

The 2019-2020 Legislative Session began on January 9th, 2019, and will wrap up on January 6th, 2021.  

  • On the House side, An Inter-Agency Report on Decarbonization and Economic Opportunities Act (HB2801) was introduced by Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch.
    • This act would require several different state agencies in Illinois to collaborate in developing a broad-based policy approach to decarbonizing the state’s electric sector.
    • This act was developed with a goal of ending polluting power plants in Illinois by 2030 and creating new economic opportunities in the process.
    • Status: Referred to Renewable Initiatives Subcommittee as of March 6th.
  • An identical bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Heather Steans as SB2020.
    • Status: Passed Senate Committee of Environment and Conservation as of March 14th.

Political Context:

  • Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced plans to join U.S. Climate Alliance, upholding the goals of the Paris Climate Accord. In his inaugural address, he pointedly said, “I believe in science” and spoke of the threat climate change poses. He hasn’t explicitly advocated for carbon pricing, however.
  • Democrats have significant majorities in Senate (40-19) and House (74-44) after enjoying a blue wave in the November midterm elections.
  • Emission reduction targets:
    • By 2020: 1990 levels
    • By 2050: 60% below 1990 levels

Past Legislation:

N/A

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

N/A

Further Reading:

Not Available at this Time

Key Figures:

MAINE

State Update:

For the first time in Maine history, legislators have introduced a revenue neutral carbon fee in the House that has already been co-sponsored by more than 80 legislators. For eight years, Gov. Paul Lepage (R) largely opposed strong climate action, but the election of Gov. Janet Mills (D) has spurred fresh excitement for the carbon pricing movement. A public hearing was held on the carbon fee and dividend bill on February 28th.

2019–2020 Legislation:

The 2019–2020 Legislative Session began on January 2nd, 20019 and will wrap up in April 2020.

  • “An Act to Price Pollution” (HP 343), introduced by Rep. Deane Rykerson (D), places a fee on carbon emissions and establishes a Carbon Content Assessment Fund that would reduce utility rates for electric consumers. Rep. Rykerson is hoping this bill will be passed as a fee with further study.  
    • Fee system: $5 per ton of carbon, increasing by $5 until reaching $40 by 2028. The fee does not apply to the electric sector.  
    • Revenue breakdown:
      • 100% of money rebated back to consumers “in an equitable way”, through utility rate decreases.
    • Status: Public hearing set for February 28th

Political Context:

  • Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has signaled climate action is a top priority for her administration.  
  • Democrats hold sizable majorities in both the Senate (21-14) and House (89-57). Momentum for carbon pricing has been growing in both chambers.
  • Emission reduction targets:
    • By 2020: 10% below 1990 levels
    • In long-term: 75-80% below 2003 levels

Past Legislation

Not Available at this Time

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

  • Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: Maine remains a member of RGGI, a regional cap-and-trade program on electric sector emissions between 10 states.
  • Transportation and Climate Initiative: Newly elected Gov. Mills has announced plans to join TCI, a 12-state regional collaboration that would cap emissions from the transportation sector.
  • Carbon Costs Coalition: Rep. Rykerson and Rep. Stanley Paige Ziegler are part of a multistate alliance between legislators focused on reducing and pricing carbon.

Further Reading:

Key Figures:

MARYLAND

State Update:

Legislators in Maryland first attempted to pass a carbon pricing bill in the 2017-2018 legislative session. This session, Delegates Kramer and Fraser-Hidalgo are co-sponsoring the Healthy Climate Initiative Bill which would impose a fee on carbon while creating a House and Employer Rebate Fund and Healthy Climate Infrastructure Fund.

2019 Legislation:

The 2019 Legislative Session began on January 9th and will wrap up on April 8th.

  • In the House,“An Act Concerning Healthy Climate Initiative” (HB.1235) was introduced by Delegate Fraser-Hidalgo.
    • Fee System: $20/tonne fee on greenhouse gas emissions that will increase by $5 annually.
    • Revenue Breakdown:
      • 70% to House and Employer Rebate Fund
        • 85% to Households
        • 15% to Employers
      • 30% to Healthy Climate Infrastructure Fund
        • 40% to Transportation
        • 25% to Clean Energy and Efficiency
        • 25% to Resiliency
        • 10% for Transition
    • Status: Introduced to House on February 8th. Hearing by Economic Matters on March 8th.
  • A companion Bill (SB.0702) was introduced by Delegate Kramer
    • Status: Introduced to Senate on February 4th. Hearing by Senate Finance Committee on March 5th.

Political Context:

  • Governor Larry Hogan (R) is one of 16 governors who has joined the bipartisan U.S. Climate Alliance.
  • Democrats currently hold majority in House (98-43) and Senate (32-15)
  • Emission reduction targets:
    • By 2030: 40% below 2006 levels

Past Legislation:

  • Regional Carbon Cost Collection Initiative (House Bill 939) introduced by Delegates Kramer and Fraser-Hidalgo.
    • Fee System: The fee would start at $15 per ton of CO2 in 2019, increasing by $5 per ton annually until 2025 where it would remain at $45.
    • Revenue Breakdown:
      • 90% to a Greenhouse Gas Pollution Charges Fund
        • Rebates to households and employers
      • 10% to a Green Infrastructure Fund
    • Status: Given an unfavorable report by Economic Matters Committee in March 2018

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

Further Reading:

Key Figures:

MASSACHUSETTS

State Update:

Since 2013, Massachusetts legislators have been actively working to impose a statewide fee on carbon pollution. Sen. Michael Barrett and Rep. Jennifer Benson have emerged as key legislative champions in the fight for carbon pricing in Massachusetts. This session, both have introduced carbon pricing bills, one in the House and one in the Senate. The bills have been well-received by state lawmakers, with large majorities in both chambers supporting the carbon pricing bills.

2019-2020 Legislation:

The current legislative session began in January 2019 and ends in July 2020.

  • On the House side, “An Act to Promote Green Infrastructure and Reduce Carbon Emissions” (HD.2370) has been introduced by Representative Jennifer Benson.
    • Fee system: Starts at $20 per carbon ton, increasing by $5 annually until reaching $40 per ton.
    • Revenue breakdown:
      • 70% rebated to households and employers
      • 30% for a Green Infrastructure Fund for local transportation, resiliency, and clean energy projects
    • Status: Has been introduced in the House this session. The legislation has 108 cosponsors between both chambers, with 74% of House members supporting this bill.
  • On the Senate side, “An Act to Combat Climate Change” (SD.1817) has been introduced by Senator Michael Barrett.
    • Fee system: Fee begins at $15 per carbon ton, increasing by $5 annually until reaching $60 per ton.
    • Revenue breakdown:
      • 60% invested in Commonwealth Transportation Fund to help develop more efficient public transportation infrastructure and clean transportation
      • 30% for educational aid for Massachusetts cities
      • 5% invested in energy efficiency projects
      • 5% invested in an environmental health and justice fund
    • Status: Has been introduced in the Senate this session. The legislation has 65 cosponsors, with 60% of Senators support this bill.

Political Context:

  • Republican Governor Charlie Baker has made no public statements on carbon pricing bills in past legislative sessions, and has been criticized for not taking aggressive enough action against climate change.
  • Democrats hold veto proof super-majorities in the House (127-33) and Senate (34-6)
  • Emission reduction targets:
    • By 2020: 25% below 1990 levels
    • By 2050: 80% below 1990 levels

Past Legislation:

  • On the Senate side, “An Act Combating Climate Change” (S.1821) was introduced by Sen. Barrett in 2017.
    • Fee system: Fee started at $10 per carbon ton, rose by $5 annually until it reached $40 per ton.
    • Revenue breakdown:
      • Funds rebated back to households, in an equal amount per household.
      • Funds rebated to employers based on number of employees.
    • Status: Public hearing held June 2017. Released favorably from joint committee in February 2018. Version incorporated into a comprehensive clean energy bill, which passed Senate unanimously. Comprehensive bill did not receive vote in House.
  • On the House side, “An Act to Promote Green Infrastructure, Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Create Jobs” (H.1726) introduced by Rep. Benson in 2017.
    • Fee system: Fee started at $20 per carbon ton, rose by $5 annually until reaching $40 per ton.
    • Revenue breakdown:
      • 80% rebated to households and employers using a formula that favors low and moderate income households
      • 20% invested in clean energy
      • Funds rebated to employers based on number of employees.
    • Status: Public hearing held June 2017. Not released from committee for vote in House.

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

  • Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: Massachusetts remains a member of RGGI, a regional cap-and-trade program on electric sector emissions between 10 states.
  • Transportation and Climate Initiative: Gov. Charlie Baker (R) has announced plans to join TCI, a 12-state regional collaboration that would cap emissions from the transportation sector.
  • Carbon Costs Coalition: Massachusetts legislators are a part of a multistate alliance between legislators focused on reducing and pricing carbon.

Further Reading:

Key Figures:

MINNESOTA

State Update:

While carbon pricing legislation has not been introduced this session in Minnesota’s state legislature, the likelihood of future carbon pricing has increased after the state’s Democratic party gained 18 seats in the House. The effects of this shift has already been manifested- the House established an Energy and Climate Committee, marking the first time in the state’s history that the word “climate” has been used in a committee name.

2019-2020 Legislation:

The 2019-2020 Legislative Session began on January 8th, 2019 and will wrap up on May 21st, 2020.

Political Context:

  • Recently-elected Democratic Governor Tim Walz supports expanding the renewable energy standard, reducing carbon emissions in all sectors, fighting for energy justice and advocating for tribal rights. He hasn’t explicitly advocated for carbon pricing, but has suggested that an increased gas tax would make a good revenue source.
  • Republicans have a slight majority in the Senate (34-33), but Democrats now have a significant one in the House (75-59).
  • Emission reduction targets:
    • By 2025: 30% below 2005 levels
    • By 2050: 80% below 2005 levels

Past Legislation:

  • In 2018, the Minnesota Carbon Assessment and Rebate Act (SF.4086 / HF.4517) was introduced by Senator John Marty in 2018, as the state’s first proposed revenue-neutral carbon pricing program.
    • Fee system: Imposes a $40 per carbon ton 2020, increasing by $5 annually for the first five years. Beginning in the sixth year, it would increase by $10. Beginning in the 12th year, the fee would increase by $15 annually.
    • Revenue breakdown: 100% of funds rebated to individuals on a per capita basis.
    • Status: In May 2018, the proposal was referred to Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy Committee, where it was tabled. With a Democratic majority in the House and a Republican majority in the Senate, the future of the legislation is uncertain.

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

N/A

Further Reading:

Not Yet Available

Key Figures:

MONTANA

State Update:

For the first time in Montana history, legislators have introduced carbon pricing bills in both in the House and Senate. While the bills are unlikely to pass this session, their introduction demonstrates even conservative-leaning states are joining the carbon pricing movement. The state has also ambitiously pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

2019 Legislation:

The 2019 Legislative Session began on January 7th and will wrap up on May 1.

  • On the House side, “Montana Climate Action Act (HB 193) was introduced by Rep. Mary Ann Dunwell (D), putting a direct fee on carbon pollution for the first time.
    • Fee system: $10 per carbon ton, increasing by $1 annually until pollution levels are in compliance with emission reduction targets.
    • Revenue breakdown:
      • 50% towards the general state fund
      • 20% for disbursement in accordance with state law
      • 10% for climate adaptation efforts
      • 10% to help vulnerable communities transition
      • 10% to address environmental damage caused by pollution, such as by revegetating polluted land or rehabilitating polluted bodies of water.
    • Status: Tabled after hearing in House Taxation Committee on January 31st
  • A carbon pricing bill has also been introduced on the Senate side (SB 189), by Sen. Mike Phillips (D) and Dick Barrett (D). The bill provides more exemptions for public and nonprofit properties, as well as an offset system for major electricity sources.

Political Context:

  • Democratic Governor Steve Bullock has been a strong proponent of climate action, vetoing anti-environmental legislation and speaking frequently about the dangers of climate change. Gov. Bullock has opted not to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, however, and has remained quiet on the issue of carbon pricing.
  • Republican hold firm majorities in Montana’s state Senate (30-20) and House (58-42), which should make passage of legislation difficult.

Past Legislation:

N/A

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

N/A

Further Reading:

 

Key Figures:

NEBRASKA

State Update:

While there is not currently any legislation for carbon pricing in Nebraska this session, the Citizens Climate Lobby and students with Our Climate are hard at work to start building a conversation around carbon pricing. The groups are putting their support behind LB.283, a bill which would provide the University of Nebraska with $250,000 to develop a comprehensive state climate action plan.

2019 Legislation:

The 2019 Legislative Session convened on January 9th and will adjourn on April 15th, 2020.

Political Context:

  • Nebraska has a unicameral legislative body, made up of 49 “Senators”.  Currently, Republicans hold an overwhelming majority with (30-18) with one independent legislator.
  • Governor Pete Ricketts (R) was an advocate for the Keystone Pipeline and does not have a history of being supportive of environmental initiatives.

Past Legislation:

N/A

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

N/A

Further Reading:

Not Yet Available

Key Figures:

NEW HAMPSHIRE

State Update:

New Hampshire legislators have been trying for several years to pass a bill that would mandate the study of the economic impacts of carbon pricing. This session, Rep. Lee Oxenham introduced a carbon pricing bill for the first time.  

2019 Legislation:

The 2019 Legislative Session began on January 2nd and will wrap up in late June.  

  • “Establishing a commission to study the economic impact of national carbon pricing in New Hampshire” (SB.75) introduced by Sen. Martha Fuller Clark.
    • Status: Scheduled for hearing with Senate Committee on Energy and National Resources on March 19th.
  • “An act relative to carbon pricing” (HB.735) by Rep. Oxenham, Sen. Fuller Clark and Sen. David Watters.
    • Fee system: Starting price is $20 per carbon ton, increasing by a complicated formula annually, until reaching $53 in 2023.  
    • Revenue breakdown:
      • 70% rebated to state residents
      • 20% invested in renewable energy efficiency
      • 5% rebated to large commercial and industrial consumers (those hit unusually hard)
      • 5% for administration
    • Status: Referred to Joint Committee on Science, Technology, and Energy for first public hearing which occurred on January 30th. The bill is currently being retained in Committee

Political Context:

  • Governor Chris Sununu (R), who has questioned if carbon is the leading cause for global warming and supported Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, will likely oppose proposed carbon pricing legislation.
  • Democrats hold majorities in the Senate (14-10) and House (234-166)
  • Emission reduction targets:
    • 20% below 1990 levels by 2025
    • 80% below 1990 levels by 2050

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

  • Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: New Hampshire remains a member of RGGI, a regional cap-and-trade program on electric sector emissions between 10 states.
  • Transportation and Climate Initiative: Gov. Sununu has announced plans to join TCI, a 12-state regional collaboration that would cap emissions from the transportation sector.
  • Carbon Costs Coalition: New Hampshire legislators are a part of a multistate alliance between legislators focused on reducing and pricing carbon.

Past Legislation:

  • In 2017, Senate Bill 123/House Bill 1230 aimed to establish a commission to study a carbon reduction investment program for New Hampshire.
    • Result: Passed through Senate but died in the House

Further Reading:

Key Figures:

NEW JERSEY

State Update:

Nearly eight years since Republican Gov. Chris Christie pulled New Jersey out of RGGI, the state has rejoined the cap-and-trade initiative. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced the return last January, and hopes to finalize the cap on electric-sector emissions this spring. At the same time, a Princeton group, the New Jersey Student Climate Advocates, has been actively working on developing a “carbon cashback” policy that would rebate revenue from a fee on carbon pollution back to households. A portion of generated proceeds would go toward investment in sustainable infrastructure and aid to vulnerable businesses.

2018–2019 Legislation:

The 2018–2019 Legislative Session began on January 9th, 2018 and will end on January 7th, 2020.

Political Context:

  • Democratic Governor Phil Murphy is undoubtedly more supportive of strong climate policy than his predecessor, Gov. Christie. Gov. Murphy has set ambitious clean energy goals for the state: that more than 1.5 million New Jersey homes will be powered by offshore windmills by 2030, and that 100% of New Jersey will be powered by clean energy by 2050. Murphy’s first year in office was praised by most environmental groups, although some worry he has focused too much on electricity and not enough on other sectors, like transportation.
  • Democrats hold firm majorities in both the Senate (25-15) and House (54-26). 
  • New Jersey is swimming in debt, so fiscal responsibility is imperative moving forward.
  • Emission reduction targets:
    • By 2020: 1990 levels
    • By 2050: 80% below 2006 levels

Past Legislation:

N/A

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

Further Reading:

Key Figures:

NEW MEXICO

State Update:

On January 29, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed an executive order committing New Mexico to critical climate action. As a result, the state will join the U.S. Climate Alliance and form a Climate Change Task Force required to create an extensive climate strategy by September 15th, 2019. This strategy must include a “comprehensive market-based program that sets emission limits across New Mexico”, among various other measures. What exactly this market-based program will look like has not yet been determined, but some have speculated it could resemble an existing economy-wide cap-and-trade program like California’s.

2019 Legislation:

The 2019 Legislative Session began on January 15th and will wrap up on March 16th.

While the consequences of Gov. Grisham’s executive order remain to be seen, legislators have also partaken in New Mexico’s push toward carbon pricing.

The “Next Gen Carbon Emission Pricing Plan” (SB 393), introduced by Sen. William Soules, expands upon existing gas tax structures to put a price all greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Fee System: Imposes a $0.09 fee per gallon of gasoline, which increases by $0.09 annually until capping off at $0.45 per gallon in 2024.
  • Revenue breakdown:
    • 15% to low-income home energy assistance
    • 15% to renewable energy technology fund
    • 10% to displaced fossil fuel workers
  • Status: Referred to the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee as of January 29th.

Political Context:

  • Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham campaigned on the promise of strong climate action, and signed a decisive executive order in her first month in office.
  • Democrats hold sizable majorities in both the Senate (26-16) and House (46-24).
  • Emission reduction targets:
    • By 2030: 45% below 2005 levels

Past Legislation:

In 2018, “A Study of Carbon Fee and Dividend Legislation” (SM 23) was passed by Senate, which tasked a legislative committee to study how a revenue-neutral carbon fee could be implemented in the state, and what impacts it would have on health, the economy, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Further Reading:

Key Figures:

NEW YORK

State Update:

Legislators and advocates, led by the broad New York Renews coalition, are pushing for two statewide climate initiatives in 2019. The first, the Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA), calls for the entire state’s economy to be free from fossil fuels by 2050, but does not put a direct price on emissions. The second, the Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA), imposes a fee on carbon pollution. At the same time, two carbon pricing bills from previous sessions have been reintroduced in the House.

2019–2020 Legislation:

The 2019 Legislative Session began on January 9th and will end on January 6th, 2021.

  • An ambitious carbon pricing bill that has been introduced for several sessions now (A00039), was once again sponsored by Assemblymember Kevin A. Cahill.
    • Fee system: $35 per carbon ton, increasing by $15 annually until reaching $185 per ton.  
    • Revenue breakdown:
      • 60% rebated to low and moderate income households
      • 40% invested in clean energy and transportation infrastructure
    • Status: Referred to Ways and Means Committee as of January 9th with more than 20 co-sponsors.
  • Also in the House, a more modest carbon pricing bill (A03459) has been introduced by Assemblymember Felix Ortiz. This legislation is also a repeat from previous sessions.
    • Fee: $5 per carbon ton, increasing by 1% annually for the first 10 years, plus the rate of inflation.
    • Revenue breakdown: All goes to a Carbon Tax Revenue Fund, with revenue appropriated by legislature.
    • Status: Referred to Ways and Means Committee on January 29th. 
  • In the Senate, Senator Parker introduced S03608, a bill which is identical to A00039 in the House.
    • Status: Referred to Budget and Revenue Committee as of February 11th.
  • The CCIA has not yet been introduced, but is expected to look similar to the 2018 version (S7645).

Political Context:

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) has been a proponent of carbon pricing and strong climate action. He’s called for the passage of a ‘Green New Deal’ that mandates the electric sector be 100% carbon-free by 2040, and the establishment of a council that evaluate policies to eliminate emissions across the state. Gov. Cuomo has also set a bold emission reduction target: 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
  • Democrats hold firm majorities in the Senate (40-23) and Assembly (107-43)
  • Emission reduction targets:
    • By 2030: 40% below 1990 levels
    • By 2050: 80% below 1990 levels

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

  • Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: New York is a committed member of RGGI, a regional cap-and-trade program on electric sector emissions between 10 states.
  • Transportation and Climate Initiative: Gov. Cuomo has announced plans to join TCI, a 12-state regional collaboration that would cap emissions from the transportation sector.
  • Carbon Costs Coalition: Several Connecticut legislators are a part of a multistate alliance between legislators focused on reducing and pricing carbon.

Past Legislation:

2017–2018 Session

  • The Climate and Community Investment Act (S7645) was introduced by Sen. Parker.
    • Fee system: $35 per carbon ton, increasing with inflation  
    • Revenue breakdown:
      • 33% to Community Just Transition Fund, providing targeted investments for disadvantaged communities
      • 30% to Climate Jobs and Infrastructure Fund, funding large-scale and multi-region emission reduction projects
      • 30% New York Energy Rebate Fund, providing tax credits and other rebates for low and middle-class New Yorkers
      • 7% to Worker and Community Assurance Fund, providing aid to displaced fossil fuel workers
    • Result: Failed in committee after gaining 12 sponsors
  • Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton and Sen. Liz Krueger sponsored a bill (SB 4598/A01919) authorizing a study on implementing carbon emissions fee.
    • Result: Failed in committee
  • Senate and Assembly introduced identical bills to “establish a tax on carbon-based fuels.” The Senate bill (S02846) was sponsored by Sen. Parker, while the Assembly bill (A0107) was sponsored by Assemblymember Cahill.
    • Fee system: $35 per carbon ton, increasing by $15 annually until reaching $185 per ton.  
    • Revenue breakdown:
      • 60% rebated to low and moderate income households
      • 40% invested in clean energy and transportation infrastructure
    • Result: Failed in committee (but reintroduced this session)
  • Assemblymember Felix Ortiz introduced A03967.
    • Fee: $5 per carbon ton, increasing by 1% annually for the first 10 years, plus the rate of inflation.
    • Revenue breakdown: All goes to Carbon Tax Revenue Fund, with revenue appropriated by legislature.  
    • Result: Failed in committee (but reintroduced this session)

Further Reading:

Strong Climate Policies on the Horizon in the Empire State (Feb. 2019)

Key Figures:

OREGON

State Update:

Oregon’s highly-anticipated Clean Energy Jobs bill has been introduced again this session. Cap and invest legislation has been in the works in the state legislature for years now, introduced for the first time in 2016. After Clean Energy Jobs gained considerable support in 2018, Gov. Kate Brown (D), House Speaker Tina Kotek (D), and Senate President Peter Courtney (D) have made passing the carbon pricing legislation a priority this session.

2019 Legislation:

The 2019 Legislative Session began on January 22nd and will adjourn on June 1st.

  • Clean Energy Jobs (HB 2020) sets an economy-wide limit on the emissions of greenhouse gases that declines each year. Entities responsible for more than 25,000 tons of annual carbon emissions are required to purchase emission allowances at auctions to comply with caps. As the cap decreases, the price of allowances would increase and thereby force companies to reduce their emissions.
  • The proposed legislation:
    • Establishes a new carbon office to administer the program.
    • Sets hard interim targets on emissions of 45% below 1990 levels by 2035 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. (The emissions cap would change annually to ensure Oregon meets goals.
    • Regulates the transportation sector, which will likely be the richest source of revenue in the bill.  
    • Provides manufacturing and industrial companies with 100% free allowances in year one, and then ratchets down that number each year.
    • Provides electric companies with free allowances through 2030 due to the fact they are already subject to several state regulatory laws.
    • Allows regulated entities to meet up to 8% of of their compliance obligations by purchasing offset credits.
    • Exempts the emissions of fluorocarbons — powerful greenhouse gases (GHGs) generated as a byproduct of semiconductor manufacturing — from regulation for five years.
  • Revenue breakdown:
    • Some of the revenue raised from the transportation sector must be invested specifically in transportation infrastructure, in accordance with state law.
    • Unrestricted revenue would be invested in a Climate Investments Fund, that could go toward any of the following:
      • Promoting energy efficiency and energy conservation in buildings.
      • Supporting electrical grid decarbonization efforts, such as by investing in renewable resources like community solar projects.
      • Investing in transportation electrification, by promoting fuel and energy efficiency and improving roadside landscape management efforts to promote carbon sequestration.
      • Implementing local planning organizations for reducing GHG emissions.
      • Investing in agricultural or forestry practices in ways that reduce emissions and promote carbon sequestration.
      • Assisting the state’s businesses and industries to be more emission-efficient.
      • Developing the state’s clean energy infrastructure.
      • Strengthening the resilience of fish, wildlife and ecosystems.
      • At least 10% must be allocated for projects and programs that benefit Indian tribes.
  • Status:
    • Referred to Committee on Carbon Reduction.
    • Seven public hearings have been held between February 15th and March 2nd.

Political Context:

  • Democratic Governor Kate Brown has championed and prioritized the legislation.
  • After the midterm elections, Democrats hold supermajorities in both the Senate (12-9) and House (26-15). Furthermore, Speaker of the House Tina Kotek (D) and President of the Senate Peter Courtney (D) are committed to the passage of the legislation this session, co-chairing a Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction that has been studying the carbon pricing bill for nearly a year.
  • Emission reduction targets:
    • 45% below 1990 levels by 2035
    • 80% below 1990 levels by 2050

Past Legislation:

For a comprehensive history of carbon pricing in Oregon, read here.

  • 2009: Cap-and-trade (SB 80) introduced in Oregon for the first time by Governor Ted Kulongoski. While the bill never makes it out of committee, it continues to be introduced in subsequent sessions.
  • 2011: Two carbon pricing bills and one greenhouse gas fee bill are introduced.
  • 2013: A bipartisan carbon tax study bill (SB 306) passes, making Oregon the first state to thoroughly study state-level carbon pricing in the U.S.
  • 2015: Three carbon pricing bills are introduced but don’t make it through committee:
    • HB 3470: The Climate Stability and Justice Act enforces Oregon’s climate goals and requires the state to develop “market-based compliance mechanisms that sources may use to maximize feasible and cost-effective reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.”
    • HB 3252:  Imposes a $60 fee per carbon ton, with revenue going toward job creation, economic assistance, and transition assistance for low income homes.
    • HB 3250: Cap-and-dividend bill that places legal limits on pollution, creates auctions, and rebates revenues back to taxpayers.
  • 2016: The Healthy Climate Act (SB 1574) is introduced, a cap-and-invest bill.
  • 2017: Clean Energy Jobs (SB 1070) is introduced for the first time, receiving 33 co-sponsors.
  • 2018: Clean Energy Jobs (HB 4001 / SB 1507) introduced once again, and is widely considered a very detailed and refined piece of carbon pricing legislation.

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

  • Carbon Costs Coalition: Oregon legislators are a part of a multistate alliance between legislators focused on reducing and pricing carbon.

Further Reading:

Key Figures:

PENNSYLVANIA

State Update:

In late November, a coalition of more than 60 environmental, health and religious groups filed a petition to pass a cap-and-trade program in late November. Though a similar petition was rejected by the Environmental Quality Board in 2014, Pennsylvania’s Clean Air Council believes the state is uniquely positioned to pass strong climate legislation on the strength of its Environmental Rights Amendment. The amendment, a part of the constitution’s “Declaration of Rights” guarantees that people have a right to clean air, pure water and the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. The legal implication of this language remains to be seen.

2019-2020 Legislation:

The 2019-2020 Legislative Session began on January 1, 2019 and ends on November 30, 2020.  

Political Context:

  • For the first time, Democratic Governor Tom Wolf has set strong carbon reduction goals for the state. The commonwealth aims to reduce emissions by 26% below 2005 by 2050, and by 80% by 2050.
  • Republicans hold slight majorities in Senate (29-21) and House (110-93), which would make enacting carbon pricing through legislative means be difficult.  
  • Emission reduction targets:
    • By 2025: 26% below 2005 levels
    • By 2050: 80% below 2005 levels

Past Legislation:

  • In the 2017-2018 legislative session, SB 15 was introduced by Sen. Jay Costa, calling for cost-effective emission reductions and for the state’s Environmental Quality Board to develop new emission regulations.
    • One of the proposed regulations are “market-based mechanisms, such as the imposition of emissions caps and a system for the purchase, redemption and trading of carbon dioxide allowances that represents units of emissions.”
    • Status: The bill gained 13 sponsors, but was tabled in the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

Further Reading:

Key Figures:

RHODE ISLAND

State Update:

Carbon pricing bills are expected to be introduced in the coming weeks in both the Senate and House, though draft language is not yet available. Such legislation has been introduced for three sessions now, back by the Energize Rhode Island coalition. It remains to be seen if the legislation will gain any traction this session.

2019 Legislation:

The 2019 Legislative Session began on January 1st and will wrap up on June 30th.  

Political Context:

  • Democratic Governor Gina Raimondo has supported carbon pricing in the past but stated in October, 2018 that the state is too small to adopt its own program.
  • Democrats have overwhelming majorities in the Senate (33-5) and House (66-9).
  • Emission reduction targets:
    • By 2020: 10% below 1990 levels
    • By 2025: 45% below 1990 levels
    • By 2050: 80% below 1990 levels

Past Legislation:

  • 2015: Carbon Pricing and Economic Development Investment Act (S0417) introduced by coalition of experts.
    • Fee system: $15 per carbon ton, increasing by $5 annually
    • Revenue: 100% invested in Clean Energy Fund, which can be used for any of the following:
      • Direct rebates to residents and employers
      • Administrative costs
      • Investing in wind, solar, energy storage, and energy efficiency
      • Investing in public transportation
    • Result: Died in committee
  • 2017: Carbon tax study approved (S108/H6305), but does not provide for funding.
  • 2018: Two carbon pricing bills introduced
    • Economic and Climate Resilience Act (H7400/S2188)
      • Fee system: $15 per carbon ton, increasing by $5 annually until reaching $50 per ton.
      • Revenue: Bill expected to raise $150 million in first year, and about $50 million more in each succeeding year.
        • 40% rebated to state residents
        • 30% rebated to employers, per number of full time employees
        • 28% invested in climate resiliency, renewable energy, and efficiency programs
        • 2% for program administration
      • Includes a “trigger clause” so that the legislation would only take effect if a neighboring state with a population of at least 5 million people adopts a similar policy.
      • Result: Died in committee
    • Global Warming Solutions Act (H7827 / S2747)
      • Fee system: $25 per carbon ton, increasing by $5 annually  
      • Revenue: Rebated back to residents
      • Result: Died in committee

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

  • Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: Rhode Island remains a member of RGGI, a regional cap-and-trade program on electric sector emissions between 10 states.
  • Transportation and Climate Initiative: Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) has announced plans to join TCI, a 12-state regional collaboration that would cap emissions from the transportation sector.
  • Carbon Costs Coalition: Rhode Island legislators are a part of a multistate alliance between legislators focused on reducing and pricing carbon.

Further Reading:

Not Available at this Time

Key Figures:

TEXAS

State Update:

Texas is far and away the highest carbon-emitting state in the U.S. The state produced 657 million tons of carbon in 2016, 5% higher than the year before and nearly twice as much as California, the second-biggest polluter. Although it’s one of the most ideologically conservative states in the US, climate activists are not deterred. Citizens Climate Lobby members are trying to pass a state environmental initiative that’s not quite as far along as carbon pricing, but nonetheless recognizes the impacts of a changing climate and expresses commitment to reducing emissions. After all, Texas is one of the most at-risk states, prone to extreme heat, drought and wildfires. Activists in the state have garnered inspiration from the carbon pricing movement in Utah, a conservative state where carbon pricing legislation has gained some bipartisan support.

2019 Legislation:

The 2019 Legislative Session began on January 8th and will wrap up on May 27th.

  • A bill (HB 223) authorizing a greenhouse gas emissions fee was filed in the House by Rep. Ron Reynolds, but has gained very little support.
    • Fee system: Imposes a $5 per carbon ton fee, which cannot increase in future years.
    • Revenue: Goes to general revenue fund.  
      • 50% invested in a low-income energy efficiency program is established, offering assistance to electric consumers who meet one of the following criteria:
        • Have a household income less than 125% the federal poverty guidelines
        • Receive nutrition assistance program benefits

Political Context:

  • Republican Governor Greg Abbott has regularly opposed strong climate policy. He supported the appointment of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, and maintains that though the Earth’s climate is changing, it’s unclear if humans play a significant role.
  • Significant Republican majorities in both the Senate (19-12) and House (83-27) make strong climate action unlikely.

Past Legislation:

  • A bill (HB 3175) authorizing a greenhouse gas emissions fee was introduced by Rep. Reynolds in the House.
    • Fee system: $5 per carbon ton, commission can provide for an automatic annual increase
    • Revenue: Invested in Greenhouse Gas Emissions Fee account
      • At least 50% invested in a grant program for utilities to help them with the transition
      • At least 10% invested in a low-income energy efficiency program is established, offering assistance to electric consumers who meet one of the following criteria:
        • Have a household income less than 125% the federal poverty guidelines
        • Receive nutrition assistance program benefits
    • Status: Introduced to House on February 19th and referred to House Affairs.

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

N/A

Further Reading:

Not Yet Available

Key Figures:

UTAH

State Update:

Last year, Utah lawmakers made headlines for introducing the nation’s first bipartisan carbon pricing bill. The legislation, described by proponents as a “tax swap”, imposed a fee on pollution, but in turn reduced other state taxes in order to lessen the burden on consumers. While the legislation did not make it through the House in Utah’s short session last spring, it is expected to be reintroduced this year.

2019 Legislation:

The 2019 Legislative Session began on January 28th and will wrap up on March 14th.

  • “Fossil Fuels Tax Amendment” (HB 304) was introduced by Rep. Joel Briscoe (D). The bill uses similar language as Utah’s 2018 carbon pricing legislation (see HB 403 below)
    • Status: Referred to House Rules Committee as of March 11th

Political Context:

  • Republican Governor Gary Herbert has expressed stiff opposition to carbon pricing.
  • Republicans hold firm majorities in both the Senate (23-6) and House (58-17).

Past Legislation:

  • In 2018, Utah’s first ever carbon pricing bill (HB 403) was introduced in the House by Rep. Joel Briscoe and Rep. Rebecca Edwards (R).
    • Fee system: $10 per carbon ton, increasing by 3.5% annually, plus inflation.
    • Revenue:
      • 90% is rebated to consumers. This is done by eliminated several existing state taxes, including the sales tax on grocery store food and income taxes on mining and manufacturing businesses. Additionally, generated revenue would fund an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) match, where families affected by intergenerational poverty would receive a state tax credit equal to 75% of their federal EITC amount.
      • 10% is invested in programs reducing local air pollution and boosting rural economic development.
    • Result:
      • The legislation was finalized too late in last year’s 45-day session to be considered by the House, but is expected to be reintroduced this session.

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

  • Carbon Costs Coalition: Utah is a part of a multistate alliance between legislators focused on reducing and pricing carbon.

Further Reading:

Not Available at this Time

Key Figures:

VERMONT

State Update:

Last March, Vermont’s legislature approved a study for an impartial economic analysis on carbon pricing in the state. Resources for the Future, the research firm hired to conduct this study, announced its promising results on January 22nd. The study concluded that carbon pricing would not hurt the state’s low-income residents or economic growth, and paired with other environmental initiatives, it would help the state meet its emission reduction goals. The consultants looked at a number of carbon pricing policies, including the ESSEX Plan, the Western Climate Initiative, the Transportation and Climate Initiative, and a “high carbon price” starting at $60 in 2020. A second study, conducted by the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), is expected to come out later this month.

2019–2020 Legislation:

The 2019 –2020 Legislative Session began on January 9th and will wrap up in mid-May of 2020.

  • In the House, “An Act Relating To A Carbon Charge, Public Transportation, Tax Credits, Weatherization, And Incentives” (H.477) was introduced by Rep. Diana Gonzalez
    • Fee system: Starts at $5 per carbon ton, increasing by $5 annually until reaching $50 per ton.
    • Revenue breakdown:
      • ⅓ of funds will be used to fund programs and tax credits to support rural Vermonters.
      • ⅓  of the revenue will be used to fund programs and tax credits to support Vermonters with low income.
      • ⅓ will be used to fund programs and provide incentives that
        support electric vehicles and weatherization.
    • Status: Referred to committee of Energy and Technology on February 27th.

Political Context:

  • Republican Governor Phil Scott long opposed a fee on carbon, and even rejected the state’s Climate Action Commission’s recommendation to study carbon pricing. Gov. Scott has repeatedly said carbon pricing would hurt low-income and rural Vermonters, and that he would veto any legislation that taxes emissions.
  • Democrats have majorities in both the Senate (21-6) and House (95-43). However, Speaker of the House Mitzi Johnson and Senator Tim Ashe, president pro tempore of the Senate, have expressed their opposition to the passage of a carbon tax.
  • Emission reduction targets:
    • By 2030: 40% below 1990 levels
    • By 2050: 80-90% below 1990 levels

Past Legislation:

2017

  • “The Economy-Strengthening Strategic Energy Exchange (ESSEX) Act” (H.791/S.284) was introduced by Sen. Christopher Pearson and Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas.
    • Fee system: $5 per carbon ton, increasing by $5 annually until reaching $40 per ton in 2027
    • Revenue breakdown: 100% rebated to consumers through electric bills
    • Result: Failed in committee
  • “An Act Relating to a Study of Approaches to Greenhouse Gas Reductions” (H.763) required the Joint Fiscal Office to conduct a study, with independent professional assistance, on the costs and benefits to Vermont of various approaches to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and submit a report of its findings to the General Assembly.
    • Result: Despite Gov. Scott’s rejection of the idea, two independent studies on carbon pricing were conducted, paid for mostly through private grants.
  • “Joint resolution requesting the Governor to advocate for a regional carbon tax and to convene the RGGI states to discuss the development and implementation of this tax” (JRH006)
    • Result: Bill failed in committee after gaining 10 co-sponsors.

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

  • Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: Vermont remains a member of RGGI, a regional cap-and-trade program on electric sector emissions between 10 states.
  • Transportation and Climate Initiative: Gov. Phil Scott (R) has announced plans to join TCI, a 12-state regional collaboration that would cap emissions from the transportation sector.
  • Carbon Costs Coalition: Six Vermont legislators (Rep. Curt McCormack, Rep. David Deen, Rep. Mary Sullivan, Rep. Mike Yantachka, Rep. Copeland-Hanzas, Sen. Pearson) are a part of a multistate alliance between legislators focused on reducing and pricing carbon.

Further Reading:

Not Available at this Time

Key Figures:

VIRGINIA

State Update:

Though Republicans have opposed Virginia’s plans to join RGGI by 2020, legislation looks likely to pass nonetheless. Proponents of the move have cited the fact that RGGI states have successfully met their emission reduction targets, while also experiencing economic benefits. A series of recent scandals in the Virginian government, however, could change the course of Virginia’s entry into the cap-and-trade program, which was seen as all-but-certain just months ago.

2019 Legislation:

The 2019 Legislative Session began on January 9th and will wrap up on March 10th.

  • Legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate enabling Virginia to join RGGI’s electric sector cap-and-trade program.
    • On the House side, the “Virginia Coastal Protection Act” (HB.2735) was introduced by Rep. David Toscano.
      • Revenue breakdown:
        • 77% to the Virginia Coastal Protection Fund, to implement hazard mitigation projects in areas subject to recurrent flooding
        • 10% to support energy efficiency projects
          • 20% of this will be used for low-income energy efficiency projects
        • 10% to provide economic development, education, and workforce training programs for families and businesses in communities most hurt by a decline of fossil fuel production.
        • 3% will be used for administration costs
      • Status: The bill was referred to the House Committee on Commerce and Labor as of February 5.
    • On the Senate side, identical legislation (SB.1666) has been introduced by Sen. Lynwood Lewis.
  • Legislation has also been introduced opposing the state’s climate efforts. On the House side, the “Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative; Prohibition on Participation by Commonwealth” (HB.2661) was introduced by Rep. Charles Poindexter.
    • This bill stipulates that neither the Governor nor a state agency may adopt a regulation that creates a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade program or has Virginia join a regional market for the trading of carbon dioxide allowances, such as RGGI.
    • It specifies that Virginia may only join RGGI or a comparable program if the House and Senate both pass a resolution that approves of the RGGI regulations by a ⅔ majority.
    • Status: Passed by both the House and Senate as of March 13th. The bill currently awaits a decision by Governor Northam who has a deadline of March 26th.

Political Context:

  • Republicans currently hold a majority in both the House (49-41) and the Senate (21-19).
  • Governor Ralph Northam (D) supports efforts for Virginia to join RGGI. However, recent revelations that the Governor, and his attorney general, have worn blackface in the past, has put the future of the state’s leadership in question. It is unclear how a series of scandals, that include sexual assault allegation against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, will impact the state’s likelihood of joining RGGI.

Past Legislation:

N/A

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

Further Reading:

Key Figures:

WASHINGTON

State Update:

Washington has been actively working to pass a carbon fee for several years now, introducing carbon pricing ballot initiatives in both 2016 and 2018. In the 2018 November midterms, voters rejected I-1631, which would have imposed a $15 per ton fee on carbon, while in 2016, voters rejected ballot initiative 732, which also aimed to put a $15 per ton fee. 732 was a revenue neutral proposal, under which generated funds would rebated back to taxpayers, while 1631 would have invested money in a slew of environmental initiatives. On the heels of these failures, momentum for carbon pricing in state of Washington has waned. Nevertheless, some carbon pricing legislation has been introduced this session.

2019-2020 Legislation:

The 2019-2020 Legislative Session began on January 14th, 2019 and ends on April 22nd, 2020.

  • On the House side, “An Act Relating to Reducing Carbon Pollution” (HB.1406) was introduced by Rep. Sharon Shewmake.
    • Fee system: Imposes a $10 per carbon ton fee, increasing by 20% plus inflation annually.
    • Revenue breakdown:
      • Residents receive an annual rebate that can not exceed $1,000 per person.
      • Remaining revenue would be invested in projects that reduce emissions, sequester CO2, or mitigate the impacts of climate change for disproportionately impacted communities
      • Organizations deemed to be emissions-intensive will receive credits based on historical emissions to trade. These will decline from 80% of emissions in 2020 to 60% in 2035.
    • Status: Bill was passed through House on March 5, 2019 and was introduced to the Senate for reading on March 7.
  • In the Senate, “An Act Relating To Implementing A Greenhouse Gas Emissions Cap and Trade Program” (SB.5981) was introduced by Senator Guy Palumbo.
    • Status: Introduced to Senate on March 6th, referred to committee on Environment, Energy, and Technology.
  • “An Act Concerning Transportation Funding” (SB.5971) was introduced by Senator Annette Cleveland
    • Fee System: $15/ton of carbon
    • Status: Made it out of Transportation Committee, currently in Ways and Means Committee

Political Context:

  • Governor Jay Inslee has made a name for himself as a long-time advocate of carbon pricing, and championed SB.6203. If he runs for president in 2020, a federal price on carbon would likely be a part of his platform.
  • Democrats currently hold majorities in both the House (57-41) and Senate (28-21).
  • Emission reduction targets:
    • By 2035: 25% below 1990 levels
    • By 2050: 50% below 1990 levels, or 70% below expected emissions

Past Legislation

  • In 2018, a ballot initiative entitled “An Act Relating to Reducing Pollution by Investing in Clean Air, Clean Energy, Clean Water, Healthy Forests, and Healthy Communities by Imposing a Fee on Large Emitters Based on Their Pollution” (I-1631) looked to impose a price on carbon.
    • Fee system: $15 per ton, increasing annually by $2 plus inflation
    • Revenue breakdown:
      • 70% invested in carbon reduction and clean air
        • 15% of this must be targeted to reducing environmental impacts for low income residents
      • 30% invested in pollution and health action areas- regions where residents face more significant environmental health impacts based on their income, pollution levels, and other factors
      • Status: The initiative was rejected by 56% of voters in the November midterm election.
  • On the Senate side:
    • “An Act Relating to Reducing Carbon Pollution by Moving to a Clean Energy Economy” (SB.6203) was introduced by Sen. Carlyle in 2018.
      • Fee system: Initially, carbon would be priced at $20 with an increase equal to inflation. Bill language was then adjusted to $12 per carbon ton, increasing by $1.8 per year until capping off  at $30.
      • Revenue breakdown:
        • 15% rebated to low-income assistance programs
        • 35% to water and state forest funds
        • 50% to carbon reduction and clean air investments
      • Status: Senate rules “X” File as of March, 2018 and does not make it out of the chamber.
    • “An Act Relating to Creating a Fossil Fuel Carbon Pollution Tax” (SB.6335) was introduced by Senators Hobbs and Saldaña in 2018.
      • Fee system: Carbon priced at $15 per ton until 2024 when it will rise to $20 per ton.
      • Revenue breakdown:
        • 40% used to reduce pollution from transportation sources, reduce congestion, and improve mobility
        • 20% invested in clean energy technologies and efficiency
        • 20% invested in reducing stormwater impacts
        • 10% for forest fire prevention and forest management
        • 5% expended for fish barrier correction projects
        • 5% to benefit rural economic development
      • Status: Referred to Committee on Energy, Environment & Technology in January, 2018
    • “An Act Relating to Establishing a Carbon Pollution Tax” (SB.5930) introduced by Sen. Palumbo in 2017.
      • Fee system: Carbon priced at $15 per ton with a rate increase of $2.50 until it reaches $30 per ton
      • Revenue breakdown:
        • 45% directed to a Carbon Reduction Investment Fund
        • 20% invested in water infrastructure
        • 20% invested in fire resiliency and prevention
        • 15% rebated to vulnerable populations
      • Status: By resolution, was reintroduced in January, 2018 and died in committee there.
  • On the House side:
    • “An Act Relating to Enacting a Carbon Emissions Tax to Fund  Stewardship of Washington’s Natural Resources and Investments in Communities and Economic Opportunity” (HB.2230) was introduced by Rep. Fitzgibbon in 2017.
      • Fee system: Carbon priced at $15 per ton of CO2 with an increase equal to inflation.
      • While exact revenue breakdown was not specified, money would be allocated to the following programs:
        • An Equitable Transition Fund to ensure impacted workers are supported during transition to a clean energy economy
        • A Low-income Carbon Pollution Mitigation Tax Grant to provide rebates for vulnerable populations
        • A Natural Resources Super Account
        • Clean Water Climate Grants
        • Forest Health Investments
        • Clean Air Investment Programs
        • Carbon Reduction Investment Fund
        • Sustainable Infrastructure Fund

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

  • Carbon Costs Coalition: Washington legislators are a part of a multistate alliance between legislators focused on reducing and pricing carbon.

Further Reading:

Key Figures:

WASHINGTON D.C.

State Update:

In December, Washington D.C. passed the Clean Energy D.C. Act, considered to be one of the strongest pieces of climate legislation in the country. The bill, which which transitions DC to 100% renewable energy by 2032, also invests in energy efficiency, funds local sustainability programs, and creates new building standards. The act also mandates DC to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2032, and authorizes the Mayor to impose a carbon fee on motor fuel if Maryland and Virginia do the same.

2019-2020 Legislation:

The 2019-2020 Legislative Session began on January 2nd, 2019 and will end on December 31, 2020.

Political Context:

  • D.C. is represented in the House of Representatives by Eleanor Norton (D).
  • Mayor Muriel Bowser pledged in 2017 to make the District carbon neutral by 2050.
  • Emission reduction targets:
    • By 2032: 50% below 2017 levels
    • By 2050: 100% below 2017 levels

Past Legislation:

  • The “Clean Energy D.C. Act of 2018” (B22-0904) was introduced by Councilmembers to strengthen the jurisdiction’s 2004 renewable energy standard, and set specific emission-reduction targets. The omnibus bill, which also includes provisions on new building emission standards and funding local sustainability initiatives, notably contains a carbon pricing stipulation.
    • Fee system:
      • This bill will increase the Sustainable Energy Trust Fund fee, established by the Renewable Portfolio Standard Act of 2004. This fee increase will result in a $1 increase to residents’ monthly electric and natural gas bills, and in an approximately $2.10 increase to average gas bills. This fund is used to promote energy efficiency, increase the renewable energy generating capacity of low-income housing, and reduce energy consumption.
      • This bill will also impose a carbon fee on motor fuel if Maryland and Virginia, the two most common commuter states for D.C., do the same.
    • Status: Passed in December 2018 and went into effect in January, 2019.

Other Carbon Pricing Commitments:

Further Reading:

Key Figures: