Moving towards climate consensus
In recent years, it has been all too rare for the left and right to agree on what we need to address, much less to agree on how we should solve them. Fortunately, we are moving toward a consensus not only that climate change is a problem but also on how we should solve it. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll showed that almost two-thirds of all Americans, including a majority of Republicans, supported policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Economist and policy makers on both the left and the right agree that market-based solutions that force polluters to pay for the harm that they are causing are key tools for combating climate change. While a vocal, obstructionist minority is slowing progress toward national policies to combat climate change, we have an opportunity to act here in Vermont – and there are real benefits to be gained by going first, as British Columbia's recent experience has shown. In 2008, British Columbia was the first Canadian province to institute a revenue neutral carbon pollution tax; since that time per capita fuel consumption in the province has dropped by 16 percent and its economy has grown faster than the national average in Canada. Multiple carbon pollution tax bills have been proposed in this legislative session that would similarly set Vermont on the path to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved economic performance.