Financing the Future: Investors back carbon pricing in Massachusetts & around the world.
Today I testified in support of two carbon pricing bills in Massachusetts. The legislation would cut greenhouse gas emissions by putting a fee on carbon and use the money to support low-income people and the transition to low carbon technologies. Contact me for more information about these policies and Zevin Asset Management’s responsible investment approach.
Honorable Co-Chairs and Committee members:
My name is Pat Miguel Tomaino and I am the Associate Director of Socially Responsible Investing at Zevin Asset Management, a Boston-based firm that has been investing responsibly for 20 years.
We serve individuals, families, and foundations ― the majority of whom are right here in Massachusetts. Investors like our clients care about their long-term financial health.
They also care a great deal about climate change. So, we don’t just invest. We push the companies we invest in: to set greenhouse gas reduction targets, to deploy renewable energy, to stop lobbying for the dirty energy economy, and to support climate solutions ― all of which help to address risk and create positive social impact in the process.
This Committee and the public should know that our efforts as investors are part of a large, vocal, and global community of investors who believe that decisive action against climate change is “essential for safeguarding our investments.”
And, in the aggregate, we represent serious money. Just last month, 217 investment institutions with more than $15 trillion in combined assets backed the Paris Agreement and a range of measures to drive investment in a low carbon economy.
Those measures must include carbon pricing policy. Responsible carbon pricing would do two critical things:
- It would put clean energy solutions on a more even playing field with outdated (and often subsidized) fossil fuels, and
- It would provide investors and companies with the certainty we need to support low carbon technology at scale.
As a member of this coalition of investors ― small and large ― who are fighting against climate risk, I am delighted to testify in support of carbon pricing and bills S. 1821 and H. 1726 today.
President Trump trashed the Paris Agreement. But people all over the world are moving ahead anyway ― and they are doing so by pricing carbon. Some forty countries, including China, Mexico, and Chile, are devising carbon taxes or cap-and-trade schemes, and U.S. states are going back to the drawing board.
By passing carbon pricing legislation, Massachusetts could support clean energy here in the Commonwealth, invest in infrastructure, and lead the group of states that will join the rest of the world in a low carbon future ― no matter what Donald does.
Let’s be clear, though: carbon already has a price. It’s simply being paid by the wrong people ― future generations and disempowered communities here and abroad that have already faced racism, colonialism, and unfair trade policy ― and now find themselves on the front lines of climate change.
Long-term investors can already see costs in the form of extreme weather risk, resource conflict, and threats to coastal real estate. Carbon pricing would help us measure those costs and respond by:
- Providing certainty in the markets for renewable energy and other low carbon solutions;
- Helping people shift their investment portfolios farther away from destructive industries; and,
- Rallying other investors to address the risks and finance the future.
We can start that process in Massachusetts and lead this country forward. Investors are ready to help.
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