Carbon Tax... Where Should We Start?

In Washington State a fierce debate has erupted over a ballot measure aimed at fighting climate change. As the reality of runaway climate change continues to sink in, the question of what do about it gets even more pressing.

We are not just dealing with the possibility of a few hotter days there - or a few nastier thunderstorms there.

We are dealing with the possibility of Hurricane Andrew happening every year.

We are dealing with the possibility of permanent damage to the atmosphere.

We are dealing with the possibility of a mass extinction the likes of which we haven't seen in millions of years.

Which only makes it that much more important that we get this right - that we put in place the necessary regulations and laws before it's too late.

This is the major issue at stake right now in Washington State.

It all has to do with a ballot measure that Washington residents will vote on in just two weeks: Initiative 732.

If passed - Initiative 732 - or I-732 - would create a $15 per ton tax on carbon - which would then be raised to $25 after one year.

To compensate for the costs this tax to working people, I-732 would create a 1 percent reduction in Washington's sales tax as well as a tax credit of $1,500 for some families on the lower end of the income scale.

Sounds pretty good - right?

James Hansen - one of the world's leading premier climate scientists thinks so, too -- which is why he's endorsed it.

But not everyone thinks Initiative 732 is such a great idea.

Many Washington Sate environmentalists actually oppose the measure and want to kill it on election.

Seriously - I'm not kidding.

Some environmentalists oppose a ballot measure that would put in place the first carbon tax in the nation.

So is this just a case of making the perfect the enemy of the good - or is there actually a good reason for people who care about stopping climate change to oppose Initiative 732?


Legend 7 years 33 weeks ago

A carbon tax levels the field for renewables and nuclear to compete. When I say nuclear that also means that they need to come up with a plan for rad waste disposal, not just leave it for the next generation to deal with it in 40 years.

timallard's picture
timallard 7 years 33 weeks ago

The difference is simple, a "carbon tax" takes in more money at the pump and magically provides cash to fix the damage to the weekly food budget near starvation without foodstamps having made too much anyway ...

or ...

A "carbon fee" is where the money is collected from the polluters and given to those victimized by using the atmosphere as a free dumping ground from the late-70's on delaying grossly action on known risks.

They pay the "carbon tax" and the money goes to the government to distribute as the payback for those criminal actions, end subsidies and tax loopholes, offshoring of assets to avoid taxes, it's a list now.

The money is then evenly given to everyone to spend as they want booming the economy, adding income to the weekly budget it may go for food, eh?

dianhow 7 years 33 weeks ago

Now I am really confused Thom

re carbon tax Whats your opinion ?

timallard's picture
timallard 7 years 33 weeks ago

They have 60-years to do nothing with the waste by current regulations !! ... sequestering CO2 is the same you can't unless wanting to have everywhere it's done on land turned into frackland earthquakes and dumped into the sea causes a benthic extinction.

Uranium miners rarely live past 60-years.

dianhow 7 years 33 weeks ago

What I know for sure GOP stands for Party over Country ! GOP 'spokesman ' Steven Schmidt said it best . Look for him on Its Great to hear some truth from a Republican ! GOP judges : Money is not Speech Money is POWER !!!

timallard's picture
timallard 7 years 33 weeks ago

He brings up Dr. Hansen's solution I rephrased near the end of the blog.

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 7 years 33 weeks ago

tiallard : I believe your observations sound!

The dumping of CO2 and other such pollutants have been going on for decades... if not a century or so!

Collecting tax and other such nonesense will not stop the change of climate or result in change of action

What we will get is yet another tier of beuraucrats who's object is to earn a "massive never going away" state pension, being as obstructive as possible and mainaining their institution at all costs

The challenge WILL need someone with testicular fortitude and total indifference to corporate greed i.e., bloated over paid execs (they are another subject) and the shareholders they purport to represent

First - we need to follow example from those countries least dependent on fossile fuel

Second - we need to advance at rapid pace new clean technology... like China is doing

Third - we need to get away from the notion that corporations are good... our founding fathers knew well that they were not

Fourth - we need to follow countries leading in renewable energy technology e.g., Denmark, Germany, Scotland

Fifth - stop subsidy to fossil fuel industries NOW (agile companies will adjust within a very short time)

Could go on!

There are just too many actions that can be taken and no one is leading on this issue... shame!

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 7 years 33 weeks ago

Al Gore is making a fortune promoting this carbon tax thingy!

He needs to be institutionalised

He's a danger to humans!

Barking mad... and folk listen to his verbal diarrhoea and take it serious

He must be in the pocket of some org or another self interest! (likely himself)

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 7 years 33 weeks ago

Regarding reporting and collection of taxes!

We are obviously not in a great postion in that regard

Seems our government is perhaps collusive in arragements

Thousands of records were revelaed in the "Panama Papers"

Obviously our legislators "accidentally" or "unintentionally" or "purposely" allow this to go on

You choose!

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 7 years 33 weeks ago

Thom! Sorry! Carbon tax is not the answer

Please don't be foxed!?!?

That is a notion that has been created by those who have only regard for money and self interest and least for fellow humans

That is to say - created by an/or/any/ many an institution (!!!!)

What do you think it might be?

c-gull's picture
c-gull 7 years 33 weeks ago

I do not believe this is a positive solution. I would prefer to see tax credits increased for those who invest in alternative energy sources. This would create decreased demand for carbon fuel from the get go.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 33 weeks ago

It seems to me that a carbon tax and dividend is the most effective policy. Unfortunately, the WA prop is kind of weak on the dividend part. Can you imagine how wonderful a $200 dollar bullet train ride from LA to NYC would sound, if the air fare were $1500?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 33 weeks ago

Why do you not think carbon tax and rebate is not a positive solution? The resulting money the populace would have in their pockets (from the rebate) would have them vigorously looking for alternative energy sources.

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 7 years 33 weeks ago

Who pays the carbon tax and where does it go to?

dougbacker's picture
dougbacker 7 years 33 weeks ago

I have been in the energy industry for 30 years (Demand response, solar, and efficiency) and I urge "cap and trade" vs carbon tax because (I believe) it will have a better chance of getting adoption, and even though there is opportunity for manipulation (which proper regulation should hlelp mitigate), it has attractive funding potentials and may cause even fossil fuel to warm to it. They are a tough lobby. -db

Howard Laverne Stewart's picture
Howard Laverne ... 7 years 33 weeks ago

I think it would be a good start

Howard Laverne Stewart's picture
Howard Laverne ... 7 years 33 weeks ago

We need trial and error if we want to save mother Earth

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