Don Berwick on Energy & Oil
"As it is written today, our tax system puts more of a burden on the activities we want to encourage--work and investment--than it puts on pollution," Berwick wrote. "By levying a tax on harmful carbon dioxide emitted into our air, we can raise enough revenue to reduce the income and sales tax burdens for Massachusetts families and small businesses."
Out of the five Democratic candidates for Massachusetts governor, Berwick is actually one of three that has expressed support for a tax on carbon pollution; [the others are] Joe Avellone & Juliette Kayyem.
Martha Coakley has not publicly come out in support of taxing pollution, saying that she's "not sure it's the only solution" to climate change. Coakley has in the past, however, voiced support for a national cap-and-trade program.
Berwick has also expressed support for a mandatory cap and trade carbon emissions control system, and has said he would double the state's investment in clean energy from 0.6 percent of the budget to 1.2 percent.
A tax on carbon emissions would be win for environmentalists and those concerned about climate change. If the US itself were to impose a carbon tax of $25 per ton of emissions, it would cut the deficit by $1 trillion over a decade.
We need to recognize that the Commonwealth is uniquely vulnerable to two of the main effects of climate change, sea-level rise and more frequent severe storms. We have hundreds of miles of coastline that directly face the Atlantic Ocean and our biggest city is built in part on low-lying coastal areas. Hurricane Sandy should have been a huge wake-up call for us. If that storm had hit Boston directly and at high tide, 31% of the South Boston waterfront would have been under water, and floodwaters would have reached city hall. We would have seen billions of dollars in property damage and incalculable human suffering.