Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Climate initiative merits support

Dear Governor Scott:
I am proud of Vermont for being part of the Transportation and Climate Initiative of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States — an important program, still under development, for reducing climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. However, I was dismayed to read in this morning’s Burlington Free Press that you won’t support the initiative “if it amounts to a tax on carbon.”
Climate change has reached crisis proportions. Your potential opposition to the Transportation and Climate Initiative, which is expected to add a mere 5–17 cents to the price of a gallon of gasoline, is unconscionable in light of the global climate crisis. That increase is below what Vermonters regularly accept in market fluctuations in the price of gasoline. Unabated climate change is going to cost Vermonters far more.
Your opposition may be based on your stated unwillingness to have Vermont “go it alone” with a gesture that might hurt Vermonters economically while having little impact on greenhouse gas emissions. But the Transportation and Climate Initiative would involve 12 states with a total of 52 million registered vehicles. That’s one-fifth of the vehicles in the United States. So under the initiative, Vermont wouldn’t be “going it alone,” but would be joining a program with a real impact on greenhouse emissions.
The entire planet needs to rapidly reduce its consumption of fossil fuels. The Transportation and Climate Initiative is a very modest step in that direction. I urge you to throw your support enthusiastically behind Vermont’s involvement in the initiative.
Richard Wolfson
Middlebury

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