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News and Resolutions Passed

        January 2008

        1/16/2008: A resolution in support of a federal carbon tax-and-dividend passed the Planning and Economic Development Committee of the City of Ithaca, NY (Ithaca Joins Nationwide Debate.pdf).


        02/06/2008: The resolution passed Ithaca’s Council, only two months after the resolution was first drafted, the political equivalent of turning lead to gold. (Ithaca Supports Fed. Carbon Tax). Based on councilors’ comments, the sample resolution was polished and posted for other’s usage.

        Copies of the resolution were sent to officials representing Ithaca at state and national levels, as well as to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, sending a signal that a carbon tax is politically possible. As the number of local governments that pass such resolutions increases nationwide, the magnitude of the news will increase with ever greater publicity.

        An editorial in the Ithaca Times urged local governments to focus on local issues: When it comes to local politics. Sylvester’s letter responded: Global politics on a local level. Although the majority of local effort needs to focus on local issues, in a democracy we the people also need to pay some attention to broader affairs. The usefulness of this Initiative is that it requires very little time for local governments to influence the national debate about the overarching environmental challenge of our era, reducing emissions of heat-trapping gasses.

        Opportunities for publicizing the tax abounded: A Guest Column appeared in the Ithaca Journal that argued against passage of the resolution on the basis of skepticism of the science of climate change: Ithaca Common Council's support for Carbon Tax questioned. Sylvester’s column responded: Council's support for carbon tax is warranted.

        The letter “Carbon tax not warranted” expressed concern about taxation burdening people who can't afford the added expense, and suggested making buildings more efficient instead. A response letter was published, “Carbon tax revisited”.

        02/12/2008: The Energy Committee of the Environmental Management Council of Tompkins County, NY passed a resolution in support of a federal carbon tax.


        03/10/2008: Ithaca’s Town Board passed a resolution in support of a federal carbon tax-and-dividend.

        Feature article about the Initiative: National ads seek carbon tax advocates. For balance in reporting, a commentator was quoted in favor of trading’s profit motive reducing emissions of heat-trapping gasses. As detailed in topics in the debate, persistent problems arise in quantification and verification of permits to pollute, making trading too high risk for this Earth-critical task of reducing emissions. Energy alternatives and further meritorious projects such as methane capture from biomass could be funded by conventional means such as loan guarantees. The commentator implied that the tax is not “market-based”. However both trading and the tax let individuals and companies figure out how to reduce emissions rather than using command-and-control.


       06/17/2008: The Tompkins County Legislature passed a resolution in support of a federal carbon tax-and-dividend. To express clear support for the tax the legislators struck down a secondary provision that would have voiced the Legislature’s support, with conditions, for the so-called “cap-and-auction” approach as an alternative if a carbon tax failed to pass at the Federal level. Copies of the resolution have been forwarded to the County’s state and federal representatives and the appropriate Senate and House committees. A newspaper column covering the story asked readers to let anyone, anywhere in the nation who might work with their local government to pass such a resolution, know about the sample resolution, action plan and further information available on this website.


       12/09/2008: A briefing on the tax was held by Congressman Larson in Washington D.C., as described in Sylvester’s letter in the Ithaca Journal.


        A carbon tax conference is being planned for Spring 2009 in Washington DC. 2009 could possibly become a year for breakthrough accomplishments, including recognition of the many advantages of a carbon tax-and-return.

       With part time, short term political action, your local government could be listed here, along with the link to news about it. If you or a friend contact officials to get the resolution on the local agenda until it comes up for a vote, your local government could pass the resolution in support of a federal carbon tax. Following this feasible method, as the number of resolutions that are passed grows the increasing magnitude of the news could inspire the introduction of more resolutions, building momentum for a mandate.

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