Letter: Actually, Rubens’s idea trumps Shaheen’s
Tom Ransom rightly notes that Sen. Jeanne Shaheen works hard for New Hampshire and the nation (Sunday Monitor letter, Oct. 13). However, one cannot equate the Shaheen-Portman Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act with Jim Rubens’s carbon tax proposal.
Shaheen’s legislation employs regulation, financial incentives and directives to federal agencies to “speed the transition to a more energy-efficient economy.” What if efficiency improvements are not the most cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gases emissions? Then we will have feel-good legislation imposing new costs on households, government agencies and businesses while achieving suboptimal emissions reductions.
Rising fossil fuel prices achieved through a revenue-neutral carbon tax would encourage private investment in many initiatives including conservation, renewable energy, and, yes, efficiency. Capital would flow, jobs would increase and workers would get training as our economy undergoes a clean-energy revolution. With a carbon tax, greenhouse gas emissions would decrease rapidly while causing the least economic disruption to individuals.
Shaheen should join New England Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, Bernie Sanders, Patrick Leahy, Christopher Murphy, Richard Blumenthal, Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey in supporting carbon taxation – and also grab the opportunity Rubens created to urge Sen. Kelly Ayotte to co-sponsor revenue-neutral carbon tax legislation.
Regarding Massachusetts residents opining about New Hampshire senators: We are partners with you in RGGI and climate-change threats to New England. We recognize successful legislation requires bipartisan support, but our delegation includes only Democrats.
We need Shaheen to view Rubens’s announcement not as a campaign threat, but as an opportunity for her and Ayotte to become climate heroes.
(The writer is Northeast regional coordinator for the Citizens Climate Lobby.)