Can NH lead on Climate Action?

In January I wrote a My Turn piece for the Concord Monitor. It was the result of my decision to work on the subcommittee for HB735 over the summer with prime sponsor and fellow-Science, Technology & Energy Committee member, Lee Oxenham. HB735 is a carbon cash-back program. It seeks to fix the market failure that allows carbon pollution to be free. When pollution is free, you get more of it.

In my time in Concord, I have found it incredibly easy to find important work that can actually make a difference for the people of New Hampshire. For example: I am still working as an intervenor in NH Public Utilities’ Commission docket D19-197 on SB284 which I helped pass in the House last year to build a statewide, multi-use, online energy platform, in cooperation with the state’s utilities. No small feat to make this ambitious platform a reality! But, this project is a necessary stepping stone to being able to measure and manage non-traditional forms of energy coming online beyond the meter. Without this project, New Hampshire will lose years to misguided energy planning and a lack of necessary insight into our rapidly changing energy market.

So back to HB735, the most recent effort from the House to take meaningful action on climate change. The concept is simple. Price the pollution, send all the proceeds back to energy consumers equally, less the cost of administering the program. A simple pass-through, not a tax that grows government. The results in places that have already adopted this approach have been exactly as intended. Carbon-based fuel use and pollution go down, consumers are made whole as the incremental cost of fossil fuels go up and the innovation and added consumer spending bring a boost to economic activity. That my friends is what is known as a win-win-win. We have been extremely unambitious of late – but as we all know, we can do better.

Read the article for more info on the warrant article effort that will be taking place in over 70 towns this spring. The warrant effort is simply to gauge support for a carbon cash-back policy. We understand that New Hampshire is small and that our actions will not solve the larger carbon problems of the world. But our size can help us take this step and in that action, we can provide leadership in a region where every state has a carbon cash-back bill just waiting for someone to move ‘first’.

Let’s use our town meetings to debate the issue and see whether a majority of New Hampshire voters are in favor of taking this simple step toward giving our children faith in the adults who have ignored this problem for far too long.