No State Has Ever Enacted a Carbon Tax. Washington Voters Might Just Do It Anyway.
By Rebeca Leber | Mother Jones – Nov. /Dec., 2018
“Progressive states have defied the Trump administration’s commitment to fossil fuels by passing laws that raise renewable mandates and cap pollution. Their resistance is not just a matter of scoring political points, but about averting catastrophe if we do not address climate change. As 91 researchers with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change demonstrate in an alarming report out this week, time is running out. And yet no single state in the U.S. has yet embraced what economists have long considered to be the holy grail of climate policies: a tax on carbon.
Washington’s environmentalists are trying to make their state the first, but it hasn’t been easy. After an unsuccessful ballot initiative in 2016 and five failed Democratic-backed bills in the Statehouse, they hope that this November, voters will conclude that ballot initiative 1631 is not only effective for cleaner air, but also a powerful tool for social justice. Legally it’s considered a “fee” instead of a “tax,” but the effect is the same
Even if it succeeds, the initiative in Washington wouldn’t make a dent in global average price of carbon, which IPCC economists estimate would need to be somewhere between $140 and $590 a ton in the decades to come for serious climate action. Still, it’s a start.”
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