Climate change is undeniable. All but the most partisan scientists agree that our reliance on fossil fuels is the principal contributor to the fastest-growing increase in overall temperatures since records were kept. In the past year alone, we have seen the destruction caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes, occurring more frequently and in places where these disasters had not visited.
We cannot nuke a hurricane, but we can take rational steps to address our consumption of the type of energy that harms our planet and causes these disasters. Among the steps that I support are programs that will manage the pricing of carbon-based fossil fuels in a way that will create an incentive to move to cleaner forms of renewable energy.
Two bills making their way through the legislature will introduce this program in a way that is revenue-neutral, meaning it will not raise taxes. State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington), whose district includes Bedford, has introduced An Act to Combat Climate Change and Rep. Jen Benson (D-Lunenberg) has filed An Act to Promote Green Infrastructure and Reduce Carbon Emissions.
If passed, Massachusetts would become the first state in the nation to use carbon pricing as a tool to combat climate change, with the added benefit of growing our economy through jobs. According to a 2014 study, the number of jobs created through carbon pricing could reach as high as 10,000.
Carbon pricing would place a surcharge on users of dirty energy based on the amount of pollution they create. Much of the money collected through the fees would be returned to consumers through rebates and incentives so that families can save costs by converting to renewable energy. In fact, the bottom 60 percent of Massachusetts’ wage earners will come out ahead.
Any additional revenue brought in through carbon pricing would go directly back invested in green infrastructure and clean energy. These bills also intend to break the grip fossil fuels currently hold over the state by giving people the incentive to switch to clean energy. Each bill also protects low to moderate-income and rural residents who statistically bear the largest burden when it comes to health risks and pollution created by burning fossil fuels.
As always, I will continue to work to protect our district and the environment. I am happy to also respond to your concerns. Please come to my open office hours or email me at Kenneth.email@example.com.
Editor’s Note: The Bedford Citizen now posts both OpEd messages and Letters to the Editor. OpEd messages will express the writer’s particular expertise on issues that may have a wider focus than simply Bedford. Letters to the Editor will continue to share opinions and perspectives from residents about local matters. Both OpEd and Letters to the Editor posts reflect only the writer’s point of view.