Letter to the editor: Councilmember Mary Cheh, please lead on carbon pricing

Ward 3 D.C. Council member Mary Cheh speaks at her 2015 inauguration. (Brian Kapur/The Current/January 2015)

To the editor:

In response to the recent letter “Kudos to Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton for joining the Climate Solutions Caucus” on March 21, I would like to state that Washington, D.C. is poised to become a national leader on climate change solutions.

Currently, Washington, D.C. is among a handful of states that have the chance to put a price on carbon pollution. In just over a month, D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh will have the opportunity to introduce a carbon fee-and-rebate program to the D.C. Council.

We’ve seen that carbon pricing mechanisms work. British Columbia successfully implemented a robust carbon tax in 2008 and our neighboring states to the north are a part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, another mechanism that has put a price on pollution. The Sustainable D.C. Plan seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2032, and a carbon fee would spur new investment in clean, renewable energies to help achieve this goal.

Fortunately, an effective carbon pricing mechanism can change behavior without costing D.C. consumers. A significant portion of the revenue earned must fairly and equitably be rebated back to residents. As a Ward 3 resident, I urge Councilmember Cheh to continue her leadership in the fight to reduce carbon pollution and introduce a strong carbon fee-and-rebate policy this June.

Jessie Mehrhoff, Ward 3 resident