By: Tim Cronin, 01.24.2019
Carbon pricing has long been viewed by experts, policymakers, and advocates as a key tool to move the economy away from fossil fuels while promoting economic growth. This is especially the case with business leaders, who recognize the economic potential of carbon price, and fear the impacts of doing nothing. Support among business leaders for carbon pricing in Massachusetts is proof of this, where local small businesses are poised to play a crucial role in passing the first statewide carbon price in the country.
Carbon Pricing & the Private Sector
From a business and economic perspective, carbon pricing has a number of key benefits. The policy:
- Ensures businesses and individuals will have the freedom to choose if and how they reduce their carbon consumption.
- Increases the price gradually, allowing markets and industries to have time to adjust and become leaders through technology and innovation.
- Provides clean energy companies, which already employ more than 110,700 in the state, more confidence in the future markets for their products and workforce.
- Creates healthier communities, which means a healthier economy. A carbon price will mean fewer cases of respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis, reductions in heart disease and cancer, and fewer sick days from work.
- Provides businesses with a competitive advantage by being first-movers in efficiency and optimization.
Businesses leaders also recognize the real world impacts of not acting to reverse the climate crisis. If we are to stay on track to meet our legally mandated emissions reductions requirements, and protect our communities from flooding, heat waves, and other climate impacts, we need better climate policy, and we need it now.
- Sea level rise has already eroded $400M in coastal property values (for businesses and homes), according to a report released this week.
- CABA research reveals that 92% of businesses in coastal communities were negatively affected by extreme storms during the 2018 winter season (Source: Businesses Acting on Rising Seas Campaign 2018).
Business Community Support for Carbon Pricing
Business leaders in the state agree on the benefits of a carbon price, and are helping support statewide efforts. Among them are members of the Climate Action Business Association (CABA), who gathered at the State House on Thursday to meet with legislators and express their support for carbon pricing legislation. Lobby day participants came from a variety of sectors – including clean tech, consulting, hospitality, bio tech, and public health – were among those who attended the lobby day, showing support for the policy. These business leaders met with dozens of legislative offices, sharing the business case for carbon pricing with undecided lawmakers.
Among those business leaders to attend the lobby day was Shana Penna the CEO of Immogeia Technologies, a CABA member business: “I’m supporting this carbon pricing legislation because climate change is a pervasive issue that impacts everything from coastlines to individuals.” Adding, “my company is specifically building a digital platform to empower people with autoimmune diseases, and we know that these type of diseases are linked to carbon pollution and other environmental impacts. It would be irresponsible for us to not do everything we can to stop climate change.”
In addition, over 100+ business leaders from across the Commonwealth have signed onto a letter encouraging state legislative leaders to pass a statewide price on carbon. The letter, launched in 2018, features CEO’s, principals, founders, and owners of companies from virtually every sector of the economy.
Carbon pricing in Massachusetts
Carbon pricing was included in a bill that was approved unanimously by the State Senate last year, signaling a political will to embrace this policy and commit to making Massachusetts a national leader in climate policy.
This session there are two big carbon pricing bills, one in the House and one in the Senate. In the House, Representative Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenburg) filed HD.2370, An Act to Promote Green Infrastructure and Reduce Carbon Emissions. In the Senate, Senator Michael Barrett (D-Lexington) filed SD.1817, An Act to Combat Climate Change. Both bills would levy a fee on carbon pollution on all sectors of the economy except for agriculture and electricity, with electricity already covered under an existing regional carbon price (RGGI).
[Want to help pass carbon pricing in Massachusetts? Sign the business letter here, or you can also find out more about the Massachusetts carbon pricing campaign here]