Opinion: Carbon tax would lead to better energy options in state

Energy Independent Vermont recently proposed adopting a revenue neutral carbon tax in Vermont. The concept is simple. Tax what you don’t want — carbon pollution — to drive demand for cleaner, carbon-free forms of heat, transportation and electricity. As a mother who wants to leave my daughters a healthy planet and a sustainable economy, I support a carbon tax because it is the best way to achieve both.
Critics contend a carbon tax would bring economic stress. Yet research indicates that a revenue neutral carbon tax could actually strengthenour economy. According to a Dec. 5, 2013, New York Times article, “Mainstream economists have long agreed that putting a price on carbon pollution is the most effective way to fight global warming.”
Even Exxon Mobil’s website views a revenue-neutral carbon tax favorably: “We believe this approach ensures a uniform and predictable cost of carbon, lets market prices drive solutions, maximizes transparency to stakeholders, reduces administrative complexity, promotes global participation, and is easily adjusted to future developments in climate science and policy impacts.”
Exxon Mobile is not alone. There are dozens of other successful U.S. corporations, including Wal-Mart, DuPont, General Electric, Google, and Walt Disney, that are already including a price on carbon into their long-term strategic planning process. They see the writing on the wall.
A carbon tax makes sense for Vermont. It’s a relatively simple, market-based solution to a serious economic and environmental challenge. Vermont won’t solve this all on our own, but we can be part of the solution and follow British Columbia’s lead. Since instituting their revenue-neutral carbon tax in 2008, fuel use in BC has dropped by 16 percent and their economy has slightly outperformed the rest of Canada. In other words, it’s working. Let’s do this, Vermont. Support a carbon tax and so we can build a better energy future and a brighter Vermont. Today.
Wendy McArdle

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