Putting a price on carbon emissions is just one of a number of proposals to address climate change. We cannot bury our heads in the sand – we need to look at all options, and there are many. Let me be clear, I do not support Vermont acting alone. Climate change is a global crisis requiring global solutions like the Paris Climate Accord. Washington DC is not just failing to provide leadership but actively reversing progress we have made in the last decade by rolling back auto milage standards, withdrawing from international agreements, and vowing to boost “clean coal”, whatever that is.
Vermont must act, but we can best have an impact by acting in concert with our neighboring states, using regional agreements. We have successfully participated in a Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) covering electric generation emissions for over a decade, which could serve as a model for for other collaborations.
The impacts of climate change are everyone’s problem. We must reduce our use of carbon based fuels – and almost half our emissions are from transportation. Home weatherization is another area to take aggressive action. New technology holds a lot of promise, but changing our personal behavior is even more critical, and more difficult.
Taxes are one way governments incentivize behavior (tax credits for investing, and high taxes on cigarettes to discourage their use, for example), and a price on carbon emissions is one tool among many to consider. I will work to ensure that such proposals, if they move forward, do not create additional hardships for farmers and rural Vermonters.