Posted by Alberta Devor on February 10th, 2016.
In last month’s landmark agreement, international representatives at the 2015 Paris COP21 climate conference set out ambitious new environmental targets, such as reaching net zero emissions by 2050 and keeping global temperature rise below 1.5°C.
But a global agreement on targets will only get us so far: it’s up to individual communities to find solutions to meet these goals. One of the most promising strategies to reduce and offset carbon emissions is one that has been almost completely unused in the U.S. so far: carbon pricing.
Here in Rhode Island, we are working on our own local contribution to reverse the effects of climate change through carbon pricing legislation. The Energize RI: Clean Energy Investment & Carbon Pricing Act seeks to place a fee on carbon emissions and reinvest the funds generated back into the local economy through weatherization programs and direct rebates to families and businesses.
Rhode Island is not considering carbon pricing alone. In Vermont and Massachusetts, similar carbon pricing bills are currently being considered, and in the Canadian province of British Columbia carbon pricing legislation has been cutting emissions and benefitting the local economy since it was adopted in 2008. Rhode Island’s own Senator Whitehouse has also introduced a carbon pricing bill into the national senate.
Carbon pricing, which is supported by many well respected organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, appears to be turning into one of the world’s preeminent strategies in combating climate change. Adopting carbon pricing in Rhode Island would be an ideal response to the Paris agreement’s call to action.