With 3100 miles of tidally influenced shoreline, Maryland is among the states most vulnerable to climate change. Maryland farmers are also at risk of costly losses, and residents are vulnerable to significant property damage from extreme weather events. For this reason, addressing climate risks and a focus on mitigating their consequences must be among the state’s top priorities.
Maryland has a unique opportunity to be a leader in transitioning to a low carbon economy. As one of the fastest growing sectors, clean technology and renewable energy jobs, are providing economic growth, job opportunities and attracting new talent to the state. Putting a price on carbon will help fuel this growth and guarantee a cleaner and healthier environment for the future of Marylanders.
Climate XChange-Maryland and our home office in Boston are leading an advocacy effort to for carbon pricing in the state. With design and analysis help from CXC staff, in February of 2018, the House introduced a carbon pricing bill, sponsored by Delegates Ben Kramer and David Fraser-Hidalgo.
Meanwhile, CXC-Maryland has been conducting public education and building support for the policy with other advocacy groups and the general public, as well as building its own strong organization.
House Bill 939, entitled An Act Concerning Regional Carbon Cost Collection Initiative aims to put a price on carbon emissions by charging a fee per ton of carbon dioxide emitted through the direct use of fossil fuels and for electricity generation. The majority of the funds collected would go back to residents and employers in the form of rebates, and a small percentage would create a ‘Green infrastructure Fund’ (GIF) intended to support investments in transportation, resiliency and clean energy projects.
The bill proposed a fee that would start at $15 per ton of CO2 in 2019, increasing by $5 per ton annually until 2025 where it would remain at $45. 90% of the funds collected would go to a Greenhouse Gas Pollution Charges Fund, which would provide rebates to households and employers. The remaining 10% of funds would go toward the GIF to support investments in transportation, resiliency, clean energy projects, and transitional benefits for workers in fossil-fuel related industries.
- Climate XChange produced two full studies and additional analysis in support of the bill:
The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Impact of a Carbon Pollution Charge in Maryland, by August Granath and Marc Breslow
- An Analysis of Impacts of Households at Different Income Levels from Caron Pollution Pricing in Maryland, by Marc Breslow and Chynna Pickens
- In addition, CXC Research Associate Jonah Kurman-Faber conducted an analysis of impacts from the fees and rebates on particular business sectors in Maryland
- See also Marc Breslow’s summary statement given at the Commission’s Mitigation Working Group meeting to discuss carbon pricing
The House held a hearing for the bill on February 6th of 2018, and on March 13th, it received an unfavorable vote by the Economic Matters Committee.
The Maryland Commission on Climate Change is sponsoring modeling of different scenarios for how the state can reach its mandate to reduce emissions 40 percent by 2030. As of this writing, despite initial resistance from state officials, CXC-Maryland has succeeded in getting the Commission to include a model run that will have carbon pricing as one of the policies. This is essential if the Commission is to include pricing in the draft plan for 2030 that is due at the end of 2018 and the final plan at the end of 2019.
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