Business leaders advocating for carbon pricing met with enthusiasm from legislators
By Michael Green, Executive Director
Governor Baker stood waiting for the elevator outside his office on the second floor. Before we were even halfway down the stairs I called to him, “Governor Baker, businesses are in the state house calling for a price on carbon, do you have a second?”. This was the perfect way to end a long day of legislative meetings with our elected leaders and their inquisitive staff.
One of my key takeaways from the Paris climate talks was not only how influential the voice of progressive business leaders can be, but also the importance of timing when leveraging their voice. By speaking out at the beginning of the negotiations in 2015, business leaders were able to set the pace for what ended up being a successful global climate agreement. With these major victories in jeopardy because of the direction the new administration is taking us, we knew that CABA had to replicate that momentum early in the 190th session of the Massachusetts State House.
And we did just that today. All day, the State House was abuzz with business leaders eagerly waiting to speak with their Senators and Representatives. Collectively, our member businesses met with nearly 25 different legislators to drive home a common theme: local businesses support putting a price on carbon in Massachusetts.
While the carbon pricing bills H.1726 and S.1821 together already have 80 co-sponsors, Business Carbon Pricing Lobby Day participants sought to build even greater support in the legislature. Meeting topics ranged from thanking legislators for their support, to sharing educational information, to discussing the benefits carbon pricing will have for businesses and communities across the state.
We had a diversity of participants, including web developers, clean energy experts, investment managers, and more, who spoke from their unique dual perspective of both constituents and business leaders. Businesses emphasized how a price on carbon would spur the innovation economy by catalyzing a faster shift to renewable energy, keeping tens of billions of dollars in the state, and creating thousands of jobs. They also explained how the policy will result in public health co-benefits as it curbs pollution-related illnesses and deaths. All-in-all, they painted a picture of a healthier economy, climate, and community, achieved through a statewide price on carbon.
Each business was met with eager curiosity and encouragement from their legislators. Legislators who had already signed on asked what they could do to further help the campaign. Those who were less familiar with the legislation listened attentively, asking questions about how the bills might help their constituents. We came out of the meetings feeling hopeful and ready to dive headfirst into educating every legislator on Beacon Hill about carbon pricing.
It was inspiring to see local business owners go beyond their day-to-day operations to advocate for their community and lead with their values. It was clear that their voice held a special weight with legislators, and we look forward to continue building a community of shared values to advocate for climate policy. If you’re a business leader ready to lead with your values and get involved, join CABA today.
Michael Green comes to CABA as a seasoned advocate for climate policy and environmental action. Since 2012, he has served as a representative to the United Nations focusing on international climate science and policy. In his role at CABA, Michael manages staff and oversees the development of all program areas. He sits on the Board of Boston area non-profits as well as a policy advisor to national business associations on topics ranging from energy policy to climate adaptation. Michael is a Northeastern University graduate with degrees in international affairs and environmental studies, course work at the University of Edinburgh’s MSc Program in Environmental Protection and Management and Harvard Business Schools CORe Program.