Even those of you who don’t live in Massachusetts, or are too busy, or are prevented by your corporate role from speaking out publicly — you can still help, that's why I included you, so please read on! I know that every single one of you is a busy person, so I’ve tried to keep this email brief (at least for me) and not waste your time. This is a hand-crafted, artisanal email — no robo mail here! One email, with a lot of people on the bcc line. This email is suitable for forwarding. Your reward for reading through to the end of the email is… pictures.
I’ve known some of you 30+ years and others I’ve met recently or briefly. Collectively, we span a range of professions and passions: medicine, engineering, law, accounting, government, business, services, venture capital, environmental care, electric vehicles / Teslas / car stuff. I think we all share at least this objective: reduce carbon emissions; slow global warming; leave a better environment for the next generation. One way to help get there is to put a price on carbon emissions so we harness the forces of the free market to generate solutions.
We are moving faster at the state level than at the national level!(*) Climate XChange, co-founded by my wife, Jessica, and operating under Michael Green, Executive Director, has been pushing hard for carbon pricing right here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, since 2013. There are now two carbon fee-and-dividend bills in front of the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy (TUE) joint committee of the Massachusetts legislature. Both bills rebate the money raised from a carbon fee back to the households and businesses of Massachusetts, especially to reduce the impact on lower-income families. The primary difference is that one of the bills sets aside 20% of the money raised for carbon impact mitigation projects. Economic modeling conducted by Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI) and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) indicate that these carbon pricing plans result in net job creation for the Commonwealth as well as significant reduction in carbon emissions. Setting an example in Massachusetts will influence other states and ultimately the national direction.
The bills, S.1821 sponsored by Senator Mike Barrett (see https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/S1821) and H.1726 sponsored by Representative Jennifer Bensen (see https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/H1726), were drafted with input from Climate XChange(**). When combined by the TUE committee, the resulting “committee bill” will be suitable for a floor vote later this session. In less than two weeks, on June 20, the TUE committee will hold a public hearing on these two bills, which is the public’s primary chance to demonstrate highly-visible support. At a time when so much progress is stalled or even being reversed at the national level, we can make a huge, positive difference in Massachusetts.
Here’s what I’m asking of you. Please:
- Tell others! Tell your family, your friends, your colleagues
- All of you have connections in Massachusetts - please reach out to them!
- Attend the committee hearing to show your support for carbon pricing!
- You can sign up to testify which would be incredibly valuable but if so you’d better arrive early
- You can attend even if you don’t reside in Massachusetts
- Jessica will be there — please say “hi” to her!
- When: Tuesday, June 20 @ 1 PM
- Where: Massachusetts State House, Room 437
- 24 Beacon Street, Boston, MA
- RSVP: http://bit.ly/2qHYl3w
- You can show up without RSVP’ing but we’d appreciate knowing you’re planning to attend
If you wish to provide written testimony in advance of your attendance or in place of your attendance, please email it to all of the following people:
- Mike.Barrett@masenate.gov, Thomas.Golden@mahouse.gov, and cc to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Senator Barrett co-chair, Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy
- Representative Golden co-chairs Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy
- cc: Michael Green, Executive Director, Climate XChange
- cc: Alan Langerman, interested party
Please, if you can find a way to take a bit of time off work, reschedule clients, customers or other commitments, etc., please go to this hearing and make a big joyful noise! Get others to go! A jam-packed, overflowing, people-hanging-off-the-balconies kind of thing is VERY IMPORTANT to show popular support for the bill! Don’t forget that the oil and gas guys are gonna be there along with the auto dealers association and other forces of “balance”. The only way we get this legislation enacted is if people show up for it!!
Finally, there are two other important dates in June that might be of interest to you if you are a Massachusetts resident. These dates are all about meeting individually with legislators to share your opinions with them up close and personal. This option takes the most time but has unique effectiveness. Legislators know that it’s a big deal when someone takes the time to come meet with them personally. These dates are separate from the Bill Hearing on June 20 in front of the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy joint committee. To engage individually with your legislators:
- Saturday, June 10, 10-3: Grassroots Summit
- Learn how to talk to your legislators in preparation for Lobby Day
- RSVP: Jamie Garuti, Communications Director, Climate XChange, email@example.com
- Elliot Church, 474 Center Street, Newton
- Tuesday, June 13, 9 am onwards: Lobby Day
- Meet face-to-face with your legislators to tell them you want a price on carbon
- RSVP: http://bit.ly/2sJRTdL
- CXC Headquarters, Old West Church, 131 Cambridge Street, Boston
- Meet face-to-face with your legislators to tell them you want a price on carbon
Thank you for reading all this!!
(*)It’s pretty clear there won’t be anything useful happening at the national level for a while; worse, we’re going backwards. But we can’t give up at the national level and we aren’t — that’s Citizens Climate Lobby, with 50 thousand plus members, persistently lobbying Congress year after year and growing like topsy. Jessica is pursuing a dual-track strategy: national engagement in parallel with state-by-state. (Disclosure: Jessica sits on the CCL Board, as well as having co-founded Climate XChange in 2013.)
(**)Climate XChange's policy director, Marc Breslow, an economist, designed S.1821, which was then drafted by Sen Barrett’s counsel. Marc wrote H.1726.
—— Sorry, folks; there are meant to be pictures below but I haven't figured out how to do that in this forum.
Attachment 1: a hearing from October, 2015. Senators & representatives on the dais, people testifying at the table, people lined up waiting to testify, bodies strewn everywhere, standing room only. A ton of people standing outside in the hallway. Center foreground, 11-year old John Langerman in a purple shirt. The lady on his left is his reading tutor. The committee spent ~15 minutes on a dozen other bills and 3 hours, 45 minutes on Barrett’s carbon fee-and-dividend bill. Enacting legislation isn’t easy.
Attachment 2: October, 2015 hearing. Jessica Langerman (holding papers) and Bonnie Widdoes (facing away from camera) from Climate XChange testify on the carbon fee-and-dividend bill.
Attachment 3: Representative Jennifer Bensen, sponsor of one of the two carbon pricing bills being considered in the June 20 hearing, drops by a Climate XChange event in April, 2017 (left to right - Marc Breslow, CXC Policy Director, Rep Bensen, CXC Board member Zaurie Zimmerman):
Last, and definitely least for today’s purposes, CXC is in the middle of its Carbon Pricing Awareness Raffle fundraiser. Three Tesla prizes (but we are not affiliated with or sponsored by Tesla), including the Grand Prize sedan or SUV which includes the federal tax payment we make on the winner’s behalf, totaling $160K in value. We use the eye-catching raffle to publicize carbon pricing and the effort in Massachusetts, plus raise money for the effort. If you click through to the web site, scroll down a little for a funny video we made to get attention for carbon pricing and the raffle. (Disclosure: I’m heavily involved in this thing.) There is already a thread I created for this raffle here on mynissanleaf. See http://mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=24079
P.S., didn't think to mention this in my email, but it just occurred to me that an interesting tidbit is that Sen Barrett has also introduced S.365, An Act Restoring Financial Transparency in Presidential Elections, which requires candidates in a presidential election to supply the last three years of tax returns, which will be published on the Secretary of State's website. Otherwise, their name will not appear on the ballot in Massachusetts. Already has 55 co-sponsors, which is noteworthy for a bill introduced for the first time.