Car­bon fee would help Md. meet cli­mate goals

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - Don­ald M. Gold­berg, Chevy Chase The writer is ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the Cli­mate Law & Pol­icy Project.

The Oct. 5 Sun ed­i­to­rial, “Re­new­able en­ergy and the Ho­gan co­nun­drum” (Oct. 5), states that a study done by con­sul­tant E3 for the Mary­land Com­mis­sion on Cli­mate Change “sug­gests adopt­ing that 50 per­cent RPS leg­is­la­tion is the best, and per­haps only, way Mary­land can meet its green­house gas bench­mark.” This is not en­tirely ac­cu­rate. E3’s pre­lim­i­nary mod­el­ing shows that 50 per­cent RPS would take Mary­land a long way­to­ward meet­ing its goal of achiev­ing a 40 per­cent green­house gas re­duc­tion by 2030, but it does not as­sert that this is the only, or even the best, way to achieve that goal.

In fact, E3 is mod­el­ing an­other ap­proach for the com­mis­sion that might achieve the same re­sult, or pos­si­bly even a bet­ter one. This ap­proach is a car­bon fee, start­ing at $20 per ton of car­bon and ris­ing in­cre­men­tally un­til it hits the so­cial cost of car­bon, around $62, in 2030. Half of the rev­enues col­lected would be in­vested in achiev­ing cli­matere­lated ob­jec­tives such as en­hanc­ing clean en­ergy and trans­porta­tion, mak­ing Mary­land’s in­fra­struc­ture more re­silient to cli­mate im­pacts, and as­sist­ing fos­sil-de­pen­dent work­ers and com­mu­ni­ties tran­si­tion to a clean econ­omy. The re­main­ing rev­enues would be re­bated to house­holds and em­ploy­ers in a way that pro­tects low-in­come house­holds from any re­gres­sive ef­fects of the fee

sim­i­lar bill, the Re­gional Car­bon Cost Col­lec­tion Ini­tia­tive, was in­tro­duced in the Gen­eral As­sem­bly in 2018, and is ex­pected to be rein­tro­duced, with mod­i­fi­ca­tions, in 2019. Fifty per­cent RPS and a car­bon fee could work to­gether to help Mary­land achieve the am­bi­tious new green­house gas goals iden­ti­fied this week by the In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change.

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