Posted by Elisha Aldrich on April 14, 2014 on RIFuture.org .
A new study says a carbon tax in the state would create between 2,000 and 4,000 jobs, as well as create up to $900 million in state revenue by 2040. Scott Nystrom, a senior economic associate and project manager for Regional Economic Models, Inc. presented the study’s findings at Brown University.
Sponsored by the Energize Rhode Island Coalition, REMI’s study examined the possible benefits and consequences of instituting such a tax in the state.
Introduced this year, the Carbon Pricing Act has been tabled for the session but will be resubmitted next year. The bill, if passed, would be the first of its kind in the United States, setting an environmental standard for the rest of the country. More information can be found here.
Energize Rhode Island is currently promoting the Clean Energy Investment and Carbon Pricing Act, which would impose a carbon price (or tax) on all fossil fuels at the first point of sale within the state. The price would be $15 per ton of carbon dioxide for the first year the act is in effect, and raise at a rate of $5 per year.
The Carbon Pricing Act has two main goals – to provide a disincentive for using fossil fuel revenue to compensate for the cost of moving toward green energy. The price would be returned to Rhode Island’s economy in four different ways: a dividend check to households, a dividend to employers based on their share of state employment, a fund for energy efficiency costs, and administrative overhead.
According to REMI’s analysis, Rhode Island would receive positive benefits from implementing a carbon price.
“You actually have more jobs in Rhode Island that you would have otherwise with this policy,” Nystrom said during his presentation. Although the impact is relatively small, only around 1 percent of the jobs in the state, that’s still 2,000 to 4,000 jobs that were not there before. The Coalition says 1,000 of these jobs would be created within the first two years of the price’s introduction.
Total gross state product would rise as well, with the construction industry gaining roughly $86 million. The only industry that takes a serious hit due to the price is chemical manufacturing, which would lose $16 million. Real personal income would also increase between $80 and $100 million dollars during that time.
Nystrom also explained that instituting a carbon price could result in a population increase.
“Because the labor market is stronger, it draws more people to the state to an extent,” he said. “They move into the state as a consequence of the labor market, they buy a house, they settle down, and they increase the state’s population.”
With all of the new jobs and people living in Rhode Island, state revenues would be on the rise as well, earning between $200 and $900 million through the 2030s.
For all these benefits, cost of living would only increase minimally.
“Even though this does increase the cost of energy for states, It’s about a half a percent,” Nystrom said. “This means you have three months of extra inflection between now and 2040 than you would have otherwise.”
Carbon emissions were not the main focus of the study, but Nystrom did add that they would decrease over the course of a few years, and then stabilize.
“Emissions are purely a byproduct,” he said. “This is a result of the model.”
Posted by Ambar Espinoza on April 8, 2015 on RI Public Radio's website.
A new economic study by a forecasting firm has found that putting a tax on carbon pollution would reduce emissions and create jobs in Rhode Island. That will be the topic of a briefing this afternoon at Brown University.
The study assesses the impact of a billthat proposes putting a price—$15 per ton—on all fossil fuels that enter the state: oil, coal, gasoline, and natural gas. The sponsors of the bill recently withdrew the bill. Brown University student Solomon Goldstein-Rose wrote the first draft of the bill and said he's hopeful the bill will be re-introduced.
“The fact that the sponsors aren’t interested—these particular sponsors—in moving forward this year, it’s disappointing, because it was going to create 1,000 jobs in two years," said Goldstein-Rose. "It’s disappointing but it’s not anything that changes what we’re doing as a campaign.”
The bill’s economic impact study, which was conducted by Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI), predicts a carbon tax would reduce the state’s emissions by about 35 percent from current levels by 2040 and create about 4,300 jobs in that same period in industries such as construction and clean energy.
Goldstein-Rose said money generated from such a carbon tax would be reinvested in residents, businesses, and weatherization programs for low-income homes and small businesses.
“This would create a lot of construction jobs, especially because of the weatherization program, and just benefits a lot from people have more real personal disposable income.”
Goldstein-Rose said he will continue to campaign on behalf of this carbon tax bill as a member of the Energize Rhode Island Coalition. None of the bill’s sponsors could be reached for comment.
The REMI briefing takes place at Brown University's Wilson Hall, Room 102 at 5:00 p.m.
Published in April 2015 by RenewableNow.biz.
In the Rhode Island General Assembly, lawmakers have recently introduced the Energize Rhode Island: Carbon Pricing and Clean Energy Investment Act (S0147/H5857). The bill, introduced by Senator Walter S. Felag, D-Bristol, Tiverton and Warren in the Senate and Representative Daniel P. McKiernan, D-Providence in the House, addresses climate change by placing a gradually increasing price on carbon.
The fee, initially set at $15 but scheduled to rise by $5 every year, will be imposed on fossil fuels at the point of entry into the state. The steadily increasing price of these fossil fuels will reduce emissions by encouraging businesses to instead use clean energy.
This focus on clean energy is particularly significant because Rhode Island does not have fossil fuel resources and spends approximately $1 billion annually on carbon from out of state. The bill will ensure the money is kept within the state to boost local industries, including clean energy research and development.
The revenue from the carbon fee will be appropriated to one of several potential strategies, including direct rebates to households and businesses, clean energy research and development, public transit investment or Governor Gina Raimondo’s proposed Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, which will in turn fund clean energy and infrastructure projects. By reinvesting the revenue on state infrastructure, the bill aims to produce jobs and stimulate the Rhode Island economy.
“The bill shows that we don’t have to choose between the economy and the environment. It is important we pay the actual price of carbon now so we don’t have to play the full price of global warming later,” said Solomon Goldstein-Rose, an undergraduate at Brown University and Coordinator of the Energize RI team. Goldstein-Rose worked to develop the bill with J. Timmons Roberts, professor of environmental studies and sociology at Brown.
Carbon pricing systems have been implemented in several other regions, notably the province of British Columbia (BC) in Canada. Since it adopted the continent’s first state-wide carbon tax in 2007, its fuel consumption has decreased 4.5 percent faster than any other province, while its GDP has grown at a faster rate. Similar taxes have also been implemented in certain municipalities in the United States, including Boulder, Colorado. However, no state has currently implemented a carbon fee.
Similar bills are being considered in states like Massachusetts, Vermont and California but have yet to be approved. If the Energize Rhode Island Act were passed in Rhode Island, it would make the state a national leader in addressing climate change.