Jun. 19th, 2017

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Tomorrow at 1:00 pm I am going to go to the hearing in the Massachusetts State House on carbon pricing legislation. It will be in the largest hearing room in the state house, the Gardner Auditorium.

Passing carbon pricing legislation in Massachusetts would be a huge win for all life on Planet Earth. What's "carbon pricing"?-- it's any scheme that aims to get people to put less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by making the burning of fossil fuels more expensive. Scientists generally agree that the less carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere, the better off we will be; and economists generally agree that to get people to use less X (regardless of what X is), make X more expensive. Thus, something like a carbon tax. In the Senate version of the legislation in question, it's arguably not a "tax", because all the money brought in will be paid back out in rebates to people who live and/or work in Massachusetts, rather than go to support any government program. (In the House version, 80% of the money goes back out in these rebates, but 20% is used to fund grants to municipalities for green energy projects.)

Momentum in favor of getting this done is building as people realize:
a) global warming is really happening, it's happening right now (see the two years in a row of warmest year ever, and the dramatic melting at the poles), and
b) nothing about this is going to be done at the Federal level any time soon (see Trump's pulling out of the Paris accord).

But unfortunately it's not a sure thing. If this legislation doesn't make it out of the committee, it's not going anywhere. For example, Senator Bruce Tarr, who is probably your State Senator if you live in Wilmington or North Reading, is on the committee, and is undecided. Unfortunately I'm not his constituent currently, so I can't talk to him. (Well, I could, but I wouldn't be listened to. Legislators only listen to people who vote in their district.) If the committee passes something but the House leadership doesn't pick it up, it's not going anywhere. The Speaker of the House, Robert DeLeo, doesn't seem to think his constituents (Wintrop) care about climate change. Ironic, because climate change is going to erase all those nice beaches and beach houses. Please, if you vote in Massachusetts, please let your Senator and Representative know that you care about climate change, and ask them to support these bills (S.1821 and H.1726). Especially if you are a constituent of Senator Tarr or Representative DeLeo.

It would be helpful to get as many supporters as possible attending the hearing tomorrow, to show support for this. Is anyone available to join me?

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