Weinberger supports revenue-neutral Vermont carbon pollution fee

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Weinberger supports revenue-neutral Vermont carbon pollution fee

Sat, 12/01/2018 - 8:42pm -- tim

Mayor announces the formation of a new coalition for regional action, “Northeast Mayors for Carbon Pollution Pricing.”

Vermont Business Magazine Mayor Weinberger today announced his support for Vermont to lead the nation in the fight against climate change, and become the first state to pass a revenue-neutral Carbon Pollution Fee. While Vermont can and must lead, given that this tool would be strengthened as a regional policy, Mayor Weinberger also announced that he has formed a coalition of mayors throughout the Northeast – “Northeast Mayors for Carbon Pollution Pricing” – who commit to calling on their state legislatures to enter a multi-state agreement to put a price on carbon pollution. Already, mayors from three neighboring states, along with fellow mayors from Vermont, have joined the coalition.

“Even as Burlington takes active steps to fight climate change, it is clear to me that we must do more,” said Mayor Weinberger. “The power of a revenue-neutral Carbon Pollution Fee is that, by sending a price signal, this policy works as a transformative tailwind that pushes forward all of our other efforts to decrease our carbon emissions and mitigate the damage that climate change is already inflicting on our communities, and does so without creating a drag on the economy.”

The Mayor made his announcement during the keynote session at VECAN’s 11th Annual Community Energy and Climate Action Conference, held in Fairlee, Vt.

Mayor Weinberger set out three foundational principles for a Vermont Carbon Fee, which are also the founding principles of the Northeast Mayors for Carbon Pollution Pricing:

  • Equitable: A Carbon Pollution Fee should be revenue neutral, rebating all fees back to Vermonters through a system that is progressive, and protects low- and moderate-income Vermonters. 
  • Effective: A Carbon Pollution Fee should reflect the actual economic cost of carbon pollution, and should be adjusted on a schedule to reduce pollution at levels necessary to meet the climate change goals of particular states and regions.
  • Pro-Economic Growth: A revenue-neutral Carbon Pollution Fee will ensure that resources are not removed from the economy and that over a billion dollars of fossil fuel payments are not sent out of state annually. This fee should be phased in incrementally to offer predictability, while at the same time giving a clear signal that can boost clean energy investment.  Early adopter states will be positioned to benefit from the Climate Economy and should work vigorously to bring neighboring states into this effort to mitigate any adverse impacts on border town businesses.

In his announcement, the Mayor stressed the economic costs of inaction. “Some still say that a fee on carbon will drag down the economy, but it’s climate change that will have the far greater economic cost,” said Mayor Weinberger. “What’s more, we now have the examples to know that a well-crafted carbon fee can spur economic growth. In British Columbia, for instance, after seven years of a broad-based carbon tax, the province’s emissions had fallen by 4.7 percent even as GDP had grown by more than 17 percent.”

The Mayor concluded his announcement with an expression of hope. “I know there is skepticism that Americans will ever accept a Carbon Pollution Fee, but we have overcome great environmental challenges before,” said Mayor Weinberger. “By acting now on carbon pricing, Vermont can break the gridlock that has held America back on climate reform for far too long and lead the country away from the dark future we are headed towards.”

Northeast Mayors for Carbon Pollution Pricing

Mayor Weinberger also announced today the launch of Northeast Mayors for Carbon Pollution Pricing, and that the leadership of this new coalition includes mayors from Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York, along with fellow mayors from Vermont. Several of the participating mayors shared the following statements:

“New York and the Northeast must lead on climate change, and even as Ithaca and other cities continue to work to become more sustainable, a carbon pollution fee that follows the three principles that this coalition is proposing is the kind of significant action that we ultimately need to take,” said Mayor Svante Myrick of Ithaca, N.Y. “We know that state and local leadership can be a powerful push for change, and I’m excited to join together with these other mayors from the Northeast to help move our region forward on this critical issue.”

“Climate change is a complex issue with moving pieces and challenges, but the City of Somerville, Massachusetts faces such challenges head on, and we’re proud to join in this call for action,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone of Somerville, Mass. “Just last week, Somerville launched our first-ever Climate Forward Plan, a data-driven approach to guide our goals and actions, such as our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Now more than ever, we need bold local solutions and transformational change that are only possible through collective action, and this call to action is an important step.”

“This initiative will enable the public to directly and positively improve our air and water, and to mitigate the catastrophic effects of a volatile and changing climate,” said Mayor Dan Drew of Middletown, Conn.

"Cities are too practical to deny climate science, because we see the effects of it on the ground," said Mayor Anne Watson of Montpelier, Vt. "Pricing carbon is the most expedient and obvious solution to climate change, and now is the time for expedient solutions. If we, as mayors, can help smooth the way for sensible climate policy, I'm all in."

For more information about the Northeast Mayors for Carbon Pollution Pricing, please see the website, available at <https://www.northeastmayorsforclimate.com>.

For the complete text of Mayor Weinberger’s remarks at the VECAN conference, please see the full version of this release, available at <https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/Press/mayor-miro-weinberger-announces-support-for-a-revenue-neutral-vermont-carbon-pollution-fee>.