After G7 summit, a renewed commitment to climate
© Getty Images

To applaud German Chancellor Angela Merkel already would be an overstatement, but you have to hand it to her: she is determined, to say the least. Coming out of the G7 summit in Bonn, Germany this Monday, the "climate chancellor" was waving an agreement for the world's seven wealthiest countries to keep to their climate commitments, which is no easy feat.


As the world heads into the Paris climate talks in December, the diplomatic pressure for a comprehensive climate agreement continues to build. Leaders such as Merkel, Pope FrancisPope FrancisBiden should look to 'Ostpolitik' to negotiate with autocrats The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's infrastructure plan triggers definition debate Obamas wish Americans 'a safe and happy Easter' MORE, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and a Republican presidential candidate are drumming up support for action. Merkel's plan calls for the G7 to commit toward a global temperature rise of no more than 2 degrees Celsius. The agreement also included a global greenhouse gas reduction of 40 to 70 percent in carbon intensive fuel usage from a 2010 base year, and the previously agreed-upon $100 billion for a climate change mitigation fund.

This turn of events comes only days after as the big six oil companies delivered an open letter proclaiming their support for a global price on carbon. Signatories from some of the world's largest oil producers (including BP and Shell) publicly acknowledged last Friday the global climate trends detailed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They also stated how "[they] believe a price on carbon should be a key element" in any policy framework to fight climate change.

There is momentum here; you can feel it. Obama will still have to sell any climate deal at home, and a Republican-controlled Congress certainly will not make it easier. But even as he begins the rollout of his climate action plan, some Republicans have seen the light. Presidential hopeful Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMSNBC's Joy Reid pans Manchin, Sinema as the 'no progress caucus' Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists Biden defense budget criticized by Republicans, progressives alike MORE (R-S.C.) has distinguished himself from the Republican pack by endorsing climate action this past week. At an Iowa campaign event, the senator announced how he would handle climate change: "we are going to address climate change, CO2 emissions in a business-friendly way." Perhaps there is some hope yet on the other side of the aisle.

In my Nov. 14, 2014 piece in The Hill, I noted that businesses are leading the drive in the U.S. for a price on carbon. In less than a year, we have seen businesses of all industries and sizes come to endorse carbon pricing. Economists agree that a price on carbon is the only way to mitigate carbon dioxide levels effectively. On Saturday, The New York Times editorial board endorsed a national carbon price, writing: "Carbon taxes are one of the best policies available to solve this global problem." So as the legislative session starts to kick off this summer, carbon pricing is sure to be a hot-button issue.

A proposal here in Massachusetts seeks to pass the first statewide revenue-neutral price on carbon. The proceeds would go back to households and businesses to incentivize sustainable investment and low-carbon growth. A similar policy on the national scale is Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseLawmakers say fixing border crisis is Biden's job Democrats wrestle over tax hikes for infrastructure Democrats look to impose capital gains tax at death MORE's (D-R.I.) proposal for a federal price on carbon. Whitehouse's proposal, announced Wednesday, would put a tax of $40 per ton of carbon dioxide equivalent. The fee would increase at 2 percent every year until U.S. carbon dioxide emissions fall 80 percent below 2005 levels. The legislation would return revenue to businesses and taxpayers through cuts in the corporate tax rate and tax rebates. And on a global scale, Merkel is building support for a global price on carbon.

We have seen how small businesses can be devastated by the threats of climate change and extreme weather. The U.S. must take the lead, together with the global community, and develop a business-friendly approach that can promote sustainable development and the decarbonization of our economy. On all policy levels, this movement is growing. And as the international community revs up for Paris, we do so with the support of a chancellor, two presidents, a couple of senators and countless businesses and citizens behind our backs, armed with real solutions.

Green is the program director for the Climate Action Business Association (CABA), a Boston-based coalition of businesses taking targeted action on climate change. As an activist, Michael has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. Since 2012, he has served as a representative to the United Nations focusing on international climate science and policy. He also serves as the chairman for the ASBC's Committee on Energy and Environmental Policy.