By Steve Hanley
Imagine you live in a mixed-use community. Your next door neighbor owns a service station. Over the years, he has built up a pretty good business. He looks prosperous and drives a Lamborghini. He only has one bad habit.
Every night when he closes up, he takes the used oil collected from all the cars he and his technicians serviced that day and dumps it over the fence onto your lawn. You would be pretty upset about that, wouldn’t you?
Sure you would, and you would have every right to be. What your neighbor is doing is putting an economic burden on you rather than cleaning up his own mess. That allows his business to make more money, which allows him to buy Audis for all his children as they shuffle off to Yale and other well-respected colleges. Economists call that an “untaxed externality.” That’s a polite way of saying someone is stealing from others in order to increase their own wealth.
What if magically your neighbor had to pay a surcharge of 50 cents on every quart of used oil he discards on your lawn? Chances are he would stop throwing it across the fence and dispose of it in a more environmentally appropriate manner. Such is the power of economics.
Now apply these principles on a broader scale. The fossil fuel industry has been dumping pollution on society for free for more than a century. Rather than permitting fossil fuel companies to enrich themselves at public expense, determine the true cost of their operations and add that to their business model in the form. Thanks to this new “pricing signal” that a carbon pollution fee would create, they’d start cleaning up their act first thing tomorrow morning.
Although climate policies continue to unravel at the federal level, there is still opportunity for states to take action. Massachusetts in particular is leading the charge on carbon pricing. Boston-based nonprofit Climate XChange is spearheading the campaign to pass a carbon pollution fee through the state legislature.
They are throwing their weight behind two carbon pricing bills. S.1821 would levy a fee once fossil fuels cross state lines, then rebate 100% of the revenue collected back to households and businesses. Similarly, H.1726 charges a pollution fee, but it deposits 20% of the revenue into a Green Infrastructure Fund, and 80% back to households and businesses.
The rebate in both bills protects consumers while encouraging a shift away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. Sounds pretty good, right? If you’re ready to join the carbon pricing bandwagon, Climate XChange is offering people a chance to help support their efforts in a fun, creative way.
Sign up for a raffle ticket with Climate XChange now, and you might actually win a Tesla Model S or Model X. That’s right – to support their mission of putting a price on carbon, they are raffling off a brand new Tesla. Here are the prize details:
The Grand Prize is an awesome Tesla Model S sedan or Model X SUV @ $120,000 PLUS Climate XChange pays the Federal Income Tax of $40,000 for your prize, so you don’t have to! The total value comes out to a whopping $160,000.
And there are amazing 2nd & 3rd prizes: Climate XChange helps you buy an early Tesla Model 3, with a Reservation, deposit, cash, and a Federal Income Tax payment! The 4th place winner will take home $2,000, and the 5th place & 6th place winners will each take home $1,000.
The drawing will be held on July 4th, so time’s running out to get your ticket. If you’d like to enter the raffle, simply go to carbonraffle.org.
This post is sponsored by Climate XChange; smoke stack image from Onnola on Flickr (CC)