Calais residents learn more about pricing carbon pollution

On Thursday a group of activists gathered at the Maple Corner Community Center in Calais to share food and learn more about the Energy Independent Vermont coalition and the campaign to put a price on carbon pollution in the state.

The event was organized by the winning Vermontivate team from Calais. Fifteen community members, members of the Calais Energy Group, a representative of the Sierra Club, and the local state representative all came together on a beautiful summer evening to converse and learn about a viable solution for global warming.

Local residents arrived around 6:00 pm with a variety of meals and an appetite for information. The spread of food included peanut noodles, gnocchi, kale salad, rice salad, multiple crisps and breads, and of course chocolate ice cream. The serve-yourself-buffet was delicious and the company was engaging. Sitting at family-style table’s, residents and organizers chatted about summer, the weather, family and friends.

After dinner everyone gathered around to hear about putting a price on carbon pollution. The audience listened actively to Liz Edsell, as she gave a presentation on the Energy Independent Vermont campaign and explained exactly how a price on carbon pollution would work in Vermont.

The Energy Independent Vermont coalition has laid out a clear plan to address global warming. First, we need to put a price on carbon pollution – it is the most practical way to address the root cause of global warming. Second, we need to invest in Vermonters by investing in weatherization and increasing the energy efficiency in homes. Third, by making polluters pay we can cut taxes for Vermonters and Vermont businesses, and provide an additional rebate for low-income Vermonters.

While the foreboding nature of climate change can overwhelming, it was encouraging to hear that we have solutions available to us today. Ginny Sassaman, moderator of Vermontivate Team Calais says, “we are determined to approach our climate action work in a joyful matter, and the carbon pollution tax makes that easy, because it’s such a win-win-win! Dramatically lowered amounts of carbon in the atmosphere, substantially lower energy bills, and significantly more well-paying jobs in the state as we transition to renewable energy, created in Vermont for Vermonters.”

It’s clear that pricing carbon pollution is the most effective way to address global warming. Economists and policy experts from across the political spectrum, and even some fossil fuel companies, all agree that pricing carbon pollution will grow the economy and reduce pollution at the same time. As the evening wound down it was clear that everyone walked away with new knowledge and full bellies; overall, a successful potluck and energy forum.