The Time for all Climate Action is Now
I am a 19-year old college student, and like many of my peers, I recognize that climate change will be the defining challenge of my lifetime. As a leader of the youth coalition Our Climate, I can speak first-hand to the dedication and tenacity of my generation’s climate advocates. My fellow youth and I know that if we don’t put a price on carbon now to help limit the devastating impacts of climate change, we will pay for the consequences of inaction sooner than we ever thought.
Recent reports from the UN and from within the US paint a frightening picture of our future if we let climate change continue unchecked. The recently released National Climate Assessment makes it clear that we will be feeling some of the most serious impacts within the coming decades, even right here in the Northeastern US. According to the report, average temperatures in the Northeast are expected to be more than 3.6 ºF higher than during the preindustrial era, which is the largest temperature increase in the contiguous United States. Sea levels have also risen three to four times faster between North Carolina and Massachusetts than the global average.
The time is now for Massachusetts to bypass the climate inaction at the federal level, and be a national climate legislation leader. In the upcoming legislative session, state representative Jennifer Benson, along with many co-sponsors, will reintroduce a House carbon pricing bill that would hold distributors of fossil fuels responsible for their associated carbon emissions. This comprehensive and effective tool will quickly disincentivize our fossil fuel use, mitigate the effects of climate change, and promote clean energy. The revenue collected would largely be rebated to taxpayers, re-distributed communities that need them. That way, those who use less fossil fuels will break even or even make money from the legislation, since their rebates will equal or exceed the increased expense for heating fuel and gasoline.
The National Climate Assessment makes it clear that we cannot wait to address climate change if we want to avoid its most catastrophic impacts. We need all hands on deck. Legislators, be ready to cosign Representative Benson’s bill. Statehouse leadership, bring this to the floor. We young people will be there in January to remind you.
New England Fellow