President Joe Biden is inviting world leaders to join him later this week for a virtual climate summit, where the president is expected to announce a new, lower target for U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
The reduction is seen as essential for slowing climate change. Biden has also pledged to adopt new regulations for fossil fuel producers but, so far, he has not signaled support for carbon pricing, which some say ought to be part of the package.
For years, the fossil fuel industry has argued that any kind of carbon tax would be the kiss of death for the economy. Then last month the American Petroleum Institute, the leading oil and gas lobbying group, said it could support putting a price on carbon emissions as a substitute for regulating greenhouse gases.
Environmental groups called the about-face “self-serving.” Members of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby welcomed it with open arms.
“I would say that both are necessary. Carbon pricing is not a silver bullet. We need that price and that market signal but we also need regulations,” says Jordan Stutt, the carbon programs director for the Acadia Center, a nonprofit that works on clean energy solutions across New England. “I’m glad to see some strange bedfellows starting to embrace the notion of carbon pricing. But we need to make sure that we’re doing it in a sensible, responsible and equitable way.”
Stutt says he’s encouraged to see states like Massachusetts focused on accelerating the transition to electric vehicles. Bay State Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has proposed banning the sale of new combustion engines by 2035.
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