Carbon pricing bill passes Massachusetts Senate


Massachusetts State Sen. Mike Barrett and Climate XChange Executive Director Michael Green. Photo by Climate XChange.

Carbon pricing bill passes Massachusetts Senate

By Jamie DeMarco

There are moments when, after years and years of relentless efforts, movements see a sudden wave of transformation. For the movement to put a price on carbon, 2018 could be that moment.

In Utah, 2018 saw the first ever bipartisan carbon fee introduced in a state legislature, and just last week, a Massachusetts carbon pricing bill passed the state Senate. Not only did the Massachusetts bill pass with bipartisan support, it passed with unanimous support. Since California passed cap and trade back in 2006, no legislative body in the U.S. had passed carbon pricing legislation.

Massachusetts State Sen. Mike Barrett authored the legislation. He’s pictured above with the Michael Green, the Executive Director of Climate XChange, a key carbon pricing advocacy group in the state. “With this new approach, we’re bridging differences and building consensus among climate change activists. Global warming is scary,” Sen. Barrett said in a statement. But he added, “We’re giving people hope.”

With the unanimous passage of carbon pricing legislation in a state Senate, we are witnessing the impossible becoming the inevitable.

The Massachusetts legislation mandates a price on carbon emissions, but is light on details. The language would require the governor to design and implement a carbon pricing mechanism. CCL volunteers will continue to lobby to move this legislation through the Massachusetts House and ultimately enact our country’s first ever carbon fee and dividend policy. 

Massachusetts isn’t our only bite at the carbon pricing apple in 2018. Campaigns in Washington State and Washington, D.C., both have the potential to enact carbon fee and dividend policies in 2018, though neither policy would be revenue neutral. To learn more about the state-level initiatives underway this year, check out this article from Grist: “Here are the carbon pricing battles to watch right now.” (You might see some familiar names quoted in there!)

Let’s take the wave of carbon pricing momentum that is sweeping across the country in 2018 and bring it to the halls of Congress!

Jamie DeMarco is the State-Level Carbon Pricing Coordinator for Citizens’ Climate Lobby.