Carbon fees good for climate and business

By December 18, 2017Local News

Carbon fees good for climate and business

Most of us have been exposed to the idea that taking action against climate change will harm business. Since the more often humans are told something the more “true” it becomes, this misleading message is causing real-world harm — including to business. The same costly damage that climate change inflicts on our coastlines and our way of life hurts our companies and our economy.

Massachusetts business leaders know that climate change is costly. When power outages, supply line disruptions, flood damage, heat damage, compromised seafood and polluted water incidents keep increasing in severity and frequency, Massachusetts businesses get the bill. When our insurance comes at sky-high cost or is unavailable at any price, you can bet that climate change has our attention.

The real message is that climate change hurts business and fighting it can help business. For example, my 42-year-old employee-owned firm, South Mountain Co., provides integrated architecture, engineering, building and renewable energy services. Ten years ago, solar energy was a tiny fraction of our business. Today it’s responsible for a third of our revenues. Our business benefits by doing the right thing.

Others can benefit, too. Economists across the political spectrum agree that we need to set a price on carbon emissions. Carbon fees use existing market mechanisms to slow climate change in the most effective, equitable and business-friendly way. California, several Canadian provinces and much of Europe already have broad-based carbon pollution fees, and China has begun the process. Massachusetts belongs among these world leaders: Our state’s clean energy industry already provides over 100,000 jobs and is one of our fastest-growing industries. Carbon fees would accelerate our progress significantly.

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