[Boston, MA] On Tuesday, October 27, the Massachusetts legislature held its first public hearing on carbon pricing legislation in front of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. The hearing room was completely filled, with business owners, investors, economists, faith leaders, and students testifying in support of S.1747 An act combatting climate change. The bill, sponsored by Senator Michael Barrett, would implement an economy wide fee and rebate system for carbon emitting fuels. Massachusetts has ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Currently we are not on track to meet those goals. However, a carbon pricing system could help Massachusetts meet those targets while also creating jobs by investing in our local economy.
The business community recognizes this opportunity and testified favorably for the bill at the hearing. Susan Labandibar, founder of Tech Networks of Boston and the Climate Action Business Association (CABA), stated that “although the financial impact of this legislation is relatively modest, it stands in a class of its own in its potential to be a game changer for Massachusetts and beyond.” Other successful companies, like Google, Microsoft, and Walmart, already put a price on their internal carbon emissions. “Why not follow their lead? The day we put a statewide price on carbon, Massachusetts businesses will have a market-based mechanism that will enable small businesses to participate in climate change solutions.” Another business leader at the hearing, Jorge Colmenares, formerly of Exxon Mobil and JP Morgan Oil and Gas, noted the historic precedent that oil companies are setting by supporting carbon pricing ,”they have realized the wave of market-based forces is behind climate action & innovation and they want to be part of it.” This year, the six largest oil and gas companies in Europe publically announced their support for efforts to put a price on carbon.
The day of the hearing, Business Leaders for Climate Action, a coalition of forward thinking businesses, associations, and industry leaders focused on advocating for carbon pricing legislation in Massachusetts, released an endorsement letter for the bill, to which over 100 business and business leaders in Massachusetts have pledged their support. The business supporters come from a broad array of industries, including financial services, healthcare, hospitality, food services, transportation, design and technology companies. In addition, associations representing businesses throughout Massachusetts including the Alliance for Business Leadership, Environmental Entrepreneurs, the Climate Action Business Association, the American Sustainable Business Council, and the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Institute of Architects have signed on to support carbon pricing.
Carbon pricing is the preferred mechanism by business leaders to fight climate change. The policy is based on having to import less fossil fuels thus stimulating the local economy. And as CABA member business leader Arne Hessenbruch describes it, carbon pricing is “a model that looks at economic actors in macroeconomic terms: Output and demand; labor and capital demand; population and labor supply; compensation, prices, and costs; market shares.” This legislation comes at a critical time for Massachusetts’ energy future. Senator Barrett’s proposal will help the Commonwealth meet the emission reduction mandates in a way that is business friendly and will protect low and moderate-income households. To show your support for Senator Barrett’s bill, sign on to our endorsement letter.
The hearing got a lot of media coverage!
Boston Business Journal: White House summit sets stage for first-ever Mass. legislative carbon pricing hearing, by Zaurie Zimmerman
by Rupa Shenoy
MassLive: Environmentalists push carbon fee in Massachusetts, by Shira Schoenberg
Commonwealth Magazine: Carbon fee supporters turn out in force, by Bruce Mohl