200 Constituents Push for Carbon Pricing at the State House
Our Communications Fellow, Abigail Benjamin, wrote about her experience at Carbon Pricing Lobby Day.
When you wake up for work in the morning, you might not expect to find yourself advocating for carbon pricing to your representative or senator. That is, if you don’t work at any of the more than a dozen organizations – including Better Future Project, Clean Water Action, Business Leaders for Climate Action, and more – that were represented at today’s Carbon Pricing Lobby Day. With over 50 legislator meetings scheduled for the day, our volunteers meant business.
Around 9:30am, the eager crowd filed through the streets of Boston from the Old West Church to the Massachusetts State House. Despite sweltering temperatures, the group maintained high spirits, buzzing with talk of their scheduled meetings and swapping stories of past State House exploits.
The excitement only grew as we entered the air conditioned security checkpoint and everyone dispersed to their respective wings of the building. From there on out, the day raced by. Occasionally, I caught the familiar glimpse of a “Price Carbon Now!” sticker before its hurried owner disappeared into a legislator’s office.
The passion we saw at Lobby Day reflects a growing environmental concern and political awareness among not just Massachusetts residents, but the entire country in the wake of global climate discussions. Many are left wondering about the security of our nation’s jobs, health, and energy. How can we halt the fouling of our land, air, and water? How can we prepare for the reality of a climate changed world?
These questions have led many to realizing the first step in a long-term climate impact mitigation strategy: carbon pricing. By imposing a fee on the largest sources of carbon pollution, we can reduce pollution and transition our economy to clean technology.
Today, advocates sought to build further support among legislators for carbon pricing bills H.1726 and S.1821. Since just last year, support for the bills has grown 75% and they currently have a combined 80 supporters. With more and more states pledging to follow the Paris Accord, this momentum is only growing. And with the hearing on carbon pricing legislation scheduled for next week, now is a key moment for the climate.
That’s why over 200 volunteers left the State House today feeling hopeful and powerful. We knew that our continued efforts to secure the future of Massachusetts’ climate resiliency were paying off. While we won’t truly know the effect of these efforts until the carbon pricing hearing next Tuesday, the response we received today from legislators is promising.
However, our work is not done, yet. We hope to receive more support from legislators in the days to come and to see a crowd just as enthusiastic as today’s at next week’s hearing. It is critical that Massachusetts immediately take effective action on climate change. Carbon pricing is just the first step, but it is one most necessary.
Abby is an Environmental Studies student at the College of the Holy Cross, where she co-facilitates the divestment movement HC Fossil Free and manages student workers through the Dining Services Employment Office. As a junior, she had the opportunity to study in Tropical North Queensland, Australia, where she ID’d and measured many trees and met too many land leeches. Previously, Abby worked in Raleigh as an intern with Environment North Carolina.