by Sabrin Zahid, 2020
On September 25th, five days after Boston’s Climate Strike, another youth-led organization called Our Climate organized a lobby day to advocate for Jennifer Benson’s proposed carbon pricing and rebate bill (H.2810).A quick rundown of the bill: H.2810 would levy a fee on corporate fossil fuel companies for the greenhouse gas emissions their products currently release into the atmosphere. Once these companies are forced to quantify the cost of their product, their business model will no longer be cheaper than renewable energy sources society must use to survive. People who make the ethically right choice to go green will have the added incentive of saving money, creating an actual change in behaviors, thereby decreasing the import of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. Seventy percent of the money collected from these fees would be rebated back to MA families, especially low and moderate communities, who are the most vulnerable when it comes to facing the effects of climate change. The remaining 30% would go to the Green Infrastructure Fund which would finance local projects in communities that would make it easier for people to make more environmentally sustainable choices.
This bill is currently stuck in the Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy committee and is waiting for a hearing date. Our Climate is working on getting this bill out of committee and into the Ways and Means committee, which would be the next step in making this bill a law in Massachusetts.
The Our Climate team is advocating for this bill get out of committee and has gotten many Massachusetts representatives to cosign the bill to show support, write op-eds in support of the bill, and provide written or spoken testimony when we do get once there is a hearing date.
Both high school and college students gathered at the Massachusetts State House and set up meetings with their legislators to advocate for this bill. Students had the opportunity to speak with their own representatives, which is one of the most impactful ways to advocate for a bill that a person cares about. The meetings ran from 1:00pm to 4:00pm.
Two members of Our Climate spoke to the Speaker of the House, Robert DeLeo, about the bill as well, which has shown to have an impact on him since he tweeted about the meeting shortly after:.
Overall, the lobby day turned out to be a success, and with a lot of involvement from Somerville High School. Recent graduate Kenia Arbaiza, Jack Torres (‘20), Baxter Ellard (‘20), and Sabrin Zahid (‘20) participated in the event as well, representing the City of Somerville.
If you are interested in being more involved with Our Climate, contact Sabrin Zahid at firstname.lastname@example.org or Eben Bein, the New England Field Coordinator, at email@example.com.