I write today to ask all Vermonters to urge their state representatives to seriously address the issue of climate change this session.
I believe it is abundantly clear that human beings are destroying our environment with our insatiable appetite for energy from fossil fuels and, if not addressed now, we will suffer catastrophic climate consequences.
From the economist's point of view, the best way to reduce fossil fuel use is to price it accurately, including the cost to repair the damage being done to the planet through its production, distribution and use. As it now stands, the fossil fuel industry banks a tidy profit, while we all pay to clean up their mess.
Raising the price of fossil fuels affects consumers' purchase decisions, leading to more efficiency and less consumption, but simple carbon pricing disproportionately burdens the less affluent. Well-thought-out policies can solve this problem.
As VTDigger has reported, "Carbon pricing combined with other climate policies could enable Vermont to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without negatively impacting lower income residents or the state’s economy."
JFO analysis shows that a policy like the ESSEX Plan would reduce climate pollution by 14 percent, that the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) would grow and the policy “would make the average low-income household better off than they would be without carbon pricing.” And as VTDigger writes, “Under all scenarios, the impact to the state’s GDP and employment would be minimal …”
We can help solve this problem.