Should Connecticut establish higher prices for carbon fuels—coal, oil, gasoline, and natural gas—sold in the state in order to address climate change? The Trinity College Program on Public Values presented a panel of policy experts discussing the pros and cons of carbon fuel pricing at a forum open to the public on Thursday, April 11, 2019 in McCook Auditorium at Trinity College.
“Raising the price of carbon could be a key tool in curbing climate change,” said Mark Silk, director of the Program on Public Values and professor of religion in public life. “Advocates see this market-based approach as the most efficient way to force society to face the actual long-term costs of burning fossil fuels, as well as to provide a strong incentive to develop new fuel sources. But skeptics argue that regulatory mandates like fuel efficiency standards have proven far more effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and that pricing carbon at a level sufficient to address the climate emergency is politically unfeasible.”
Silk moderated the panel discussion featuring Kenneth Gillingham, associate professor of environmental and energy economics at Yale University; Karl Rábago, professor of law and executive director of the Pace Energy and Climate Center at Pace University; State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport), the main sponsor of carbon pricing legislation in Connecticut; and Jan Ellen Spiegel, environmental reporter for The Connecticut Mirror.
During the forum, Gillingham spoke in support of a Connecticut carbon tax and Rábago spoke in opposition. Spiegel provided a journalist’s assessment of the political realities of carbon pricing legislation.
Along with the Program on Public Values, additional Trinity College sponsors of the forum include the Environmental Science Program, the Offices of the Dean of the Faculty and the Sustainability Coordinator, the Sustainability Committee, the SGA (Student Government Association) Sustainability Committee, and the Trinity Institute for Interdisciplinary Study.