Two High School Freshmen Testify Wryly Before Committee on Carbon Pricing

Two High School Freshmen Testify Wryly Before Committee on Carbon Pricing

While testifying before the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy during a hearing on proposed carbon pricing legislation, two Somerville, High School students – Max Nadeau and Tristan Brown-Vazquez – used humor to expose the legislation’s opponents. Take a minute to watch their hilarious, but starkly serious, testimony.

They followed several panels of economists, concerned businesses, religious leaders, and civic and labor organizations calling for the passage of carbon pricing policies in the Commonwealth. The proposed carbon policies would set up a carbon fee and rebate system, creating new incentives to reduce climate change pollution and make additional progress toward a carbon-free future. Economists of varying political persuasions agree that pricing carbon is the most cost-effective policy tool to achieve carbon emission reductions.

At the hearing, Max and Tristan carried the mantle of young leaders across the state whose generation feels most impacted by the growing mountain of science pointing to the severity of the climate crisis. In a hilarious "Colbert Report" style satire, Max and Tristan demonstrate the Commonwealth’s need for serious policies that take on climate change and grow our economy. Max plays the role of an oil tycoon, “I’m here as an old rich man in the oil and gas industry” while Tristan represents the perspective of a sensible "kid" with a future to protect. Max worries about losing money and protecting his “people, the 1%,” while Tristan explains how we are all currently paying for the external costs of fossil fuels and suffering from them as well.

Young advocates don’t know a world that doesn’t face threats from climate pollution. They can’t imagine economies stalled by their dependence on dirty, finite fuels. Pricing carbon makes sense to young leaders just like it makes sense to experienced advocates, successful entrepreneurs, faith groups, and constituents from all socio-economic levels. The carbon policies currently being decided are designed to protect the rich and the poor, from the Cape to the Berkshires, for generations to come. It’s time for Massachusetts to Price Carbon and Fight Climate Change!