Giving Compass’ Take:
• In spite of previous failed attempts to impose a carbon tax in Washington State, advocates think the Protect Washington Act – which imposes a carbon fee on emissions generated by businesses in the state – has a chance.
• Is the carbon tax structure an effective way to reduce emissions? Should other states be attempting their own fee on emissions?
• How does the fact that transportation is now the largest source of U.S. emissions play into this debate?
Just two years ago, Washingtonians rejected a “carbon tax” initiative, which would have initially charged businesses $25 per metric ton of emissions before ramping up over time. The debate over I-732 drove a rift between progressives.
This time around, the coalition behind the Protect Washington Act is taking a different tack, rebranding the effort to put a price on carbon and bringing the climate conversation to the streets in hopes of generating broad support.
The initiative proposes a “fee on pollution” that would put a $15 charge on each metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted in Washington starting in 2020. That charge would rise by $2 plus inflation every year until the state meets its climate goals, which include cutting its carbon footprint 36 percent below 2005 levels by 2035. The revenue raised would go toward investing in clean energy; protecting the air, water, and forests; and helping vulnerable communities prepare for wildfires and sea-level rise.
Experts agree that putting a price on carbon is one of the best ways for a government to act on climate change. And public opinion polls have found that almost 70 percent of Washington voters — including a solid majority of the state’s Republicans — would support a measure to regulate carbon pollution. But no one has successfully managed to craft a policy that satisfies the whole environmental movement or the electorate.
Read the full article about a fee on carbon emissions by Kate Yoder at Grist.
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