I am not an economist; nor am I an ecologist, a politician, a scientist, or what Malvina Reynolds, in her 1962 song “Little Boxes,” called a “business executive.” I am just someone who cares deeply about the planet and all the living things on it.
Having been here for a few decades, and having observed the descent into the parlous state in which we now find ourselves, I feel qualified to state with full assurance that it is time for carbon pricing.
This is not a new concept and it is actually working quite successfully in a number of places. But it is one of those issues that tend to become mired in the quicksand of politics and its handmaiden, money.
While money doesn’t drive everything, it drives a lot more than it should. When you have it you don’t want to lose it, and you want more. Big corporations, such as fuel companies, have it and they behave accordingly. At this point only the most regressive thinkers dispute global warming and the role of carbon in its proliferation.
But corporations don’t want to bear the cost of updating their modus operandi and legislators don’t want to lose their donors. So nothing changes and things just get worse.
Before we reach the point of no return, someone needs to be the adult in the room. I vote for Phil Scott.
Instead of ignoring the huge economic benefits of a carbon tax, he could distance himself from the stale and senseless rhetoric against it. Instead of ignoring overwhelming public support and the efforts of the Climate Action Commission, he could step up and take Vermont in a direction that will benefit its economy and citizens and lead the way for other states to follow. It could be a win-win. Does he have the courage to come to the table?