Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Carbon Fee Debate Goes Mainstream in Washington State

Traffic in Seattle. (Credit: SounderBruce/Flickr) Click to Enlarge.
As governments worldwide begin imposing fees on pollution to try to protect the climate, a debate over dueling approaches — one that has long been restricted to conferences and academia — is becoming prominent in Washington state.

Washington voters will decide in November whether to introduce a carbon tax on fossil fuels and electricity from coal and natural gas, with the goal of slowing global warming while reducing taxes on sales and manufacturing and keeping total tax revenue flat overall.

If Initiative 732 passes, the Evergreen State would buck a national trend in which other states have been adopting a different system for carbon pricing — that of cap-and-trade, in which pollution levels are capped and allowances to release pollution are sold and traded.

“Some folks on our executive committee and in our grassroots base have a strong preference for a carbon tax,” said Yoram Bauman, an economist and comic involved with Carbon Washington, a group that drafted the initiative and gathered signatures.

Carbon pricing is popular among economists and climate experts because it can account for some of the hidden costs of climate change by taxing fossil fuels, which raises prices and reduces demand.  That helps solar, wind, and other climate-protecting alternatives compete on price.

Read more at Carbon Fee Debate Goes Mainstream in Washington State

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