Letter: Cost of inaction on climate already high

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To the Editor: The recent Manchester Journal editorial on carbon pricing ("A carbon tax by any other name", April 14) caught my attention both as a millennial and Vermont resident. While the editorial dismissed the prospect for lessened fossil fuel consumption through revenue-neutral carbon pricing legislation on claims of regressivity, it also claimed open ears to arguments to the contrary. Ready to listen? This piece was misguided and fails to recognize that we must have serious, thoughtful and collaborative conversations about how Vermont can do its part to protect future generations from the worst of climate change. Instead, it shut down a necessary conversation by deeming any attempt to price carbon pollution in Vermont as inherently damaging and costly to low-income and rural Vermonters. Here's the thing: the costs of inaction are already far outweighing the challenges of transitioning to a low-carbon market. These costs are borne disproportionately by both low-income communities and youth. Based on a NextGen/Demos report and Vermont Census data, the 155,000 millennials (aged 14-32) in Vermont are expected to lose upwards of $15 billion in lifetime income if we don't seriously act on climate change. As a Bennington College student and climate activist, I was honored to march alongside the 1500 other Vermont students who turned out for the future of the planet—our future—at Youth Lobby Day 2017. We marched, we rallied, we lobbied, we made art and we connected about our commonality as the generations that will continue to be the most affected by climate inaction. The Second Annual Youth Lobby Day came on the heels of four recently unveiled bills that offer revenue neutral approaches to putting a price on carbon pollution, making it so that polluters will be required to account for the true costs of fossil fuels — the policy that we pushed for at this event. As millennials, we recognize that the price of inaction far outweighs any price we put on carbon. I urge the Journal to reconsider the merits of carbon pricing and engage in open and productive conversation and problem solving around carbon pricing, instead of shutting the door on millennials' and youths' right to a healthy planet. Our future depends on it. Sarah FademBennington


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