Posted at Providence Journal on February 10, 2018
Keith White’s Feb. 5 letter (“Proposed carbon tax is not worth the trouble”) asks what impact the carbon pricing bills introduced by state Rep. Aaron Regunberg and state Sen. Jeanine Calkin would have on the global economy. The global economy took notice when tiny Rhode Island erected the first offshore wind farm in the United States.
With federal inaction on climate change, states now have the responsibility to lead. Rhode Island is part of the Carbon Costs Coalition, and legislators from nine states are working together to strengthen regional progress. Carbon pricing legislation will send a strong price signal, and global investment will look to these innovative states that are moving toward a low-carbon economy.
Economic studies have shown that taxing carbon does what Mr. White is looking for — it is a market-based, “business-friendly” approach that creates “jobs and opportunities” and raises everyone’s “standard of living” while creating public health benefits as pollution is reduced. Taxing carbon levels the energy playing field as it incentivizes energy efficiency and locally produced renewable energy. That is good for all of us because it keeps more of our energy dollars in circulation in Rhode Island. Currently we send over $3.5 billion out of state each year on imported fossil fuels.
Mary Jane Sorrentino