Climate change deniers and those who oppose environmental regulation often claim that as a society we can either have jobs or attempt to slow global warming, but not both. This is a false binary choice; it’s not either-or. Enter the idea of a carbon tax: utilities, businesses and individuals that use fossil fuels pay for the pollution those fuels put into the atmosphere through a tax. The goal is to incentivize newer, cleaner forms of energy, and to provide funds to mitigate the effects of carbon.
Washington state, often a leader in progressive approaches to the environment, has a ballot initiative for the November election that would put into place the first state-level carbon tax. Here’s the web site for prop 1631, as the initiative is called.
Here’s the brief description of what the initiative is intended to accomplish:
“As Washingtonians we all do our part to keep our state clean. But right now the largest polluters can pollute for free while the rest of us pay the costs. I-1631 would put a fee on the state’s largest polluters, like the oil industry and utilities that have not switched over to clean-energy, and invest in protecting our air and water and building new clean-energy infrastructure across the state. We know with this initiative, we can protect our health, build new good paying jobs, and ensure a cleaner future for the next generation.”
My readership isn’t primarily Washington-state based, but for those of you who do live here, please click on the link and see how you can get involved. For those readers in other states or countries, what we in Washington state will hopefully approve on November 6 represents a big step forward, one that your state or country might emulate.