Carbon Tax: Putting a Price on Carbon Pollution
In 2017, the Clean Energy Transition Act was developed by the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy and submitted as HB 1646 by Representative Joe Fitzgibbon. It would make significant investment in clean energy, healthy forests and water infrastructure and also bolster economic stability and equity during the transition. The funds would come from an initial emissions tax of $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent and would have a performance based escalator to keep the state on track to reduce emissions. There are many provisions in this complicated bill that would protect low income residents and workers in energy intensive industries.
Friends have long supported efforts to slow the negative effects of GHG emissions on climate disruption, what is also called climate change or global warming. Our testimony to care for the earth by exercising environmental stewardship leads us to do all we can to effect reductions in carbon pollution. Currently California and 9 states in the northeast and mid-Atlantic region have GHG emissions programs based on a “cap and trade” carbon emissions pricing system. British Columbia currently has a carbon tax program in place that is similar to what HB 1646 proposed. None of these entities have experienced economic hardship due to pricing carbon emissions. In fact, one can argue that the costs of doing nothing are far greater, certainly health care costs from pollution exacerbated diseases are on the rise. This is a global problem, and Washington state can have a role as a leader for positive change in energy use. Certainly it is time for Washington to join other states and become a leader in alternative energy use with much lower carbon emissions levels.