Readings about carbon taxes

* Our endorsement in September from Seattle Business magazine prompted a half-dozen Letters to the Editor in the latest issue, including pro-carbon-pricing letters from Rogers Weed, former director of the state Department of Commerce; from real-estate heavyweight Craig Kinzer; and from Gwen Hanson of the Bellevue chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby.

* Forbes magazine is featuring a new voice from the Tri-Cities: geologist Jim Conca. I especially recommend “So You Think We’re Reducing The Use Of Coal? — Think Again” and (for something more positive!) “Can A Carbon Tax Create Jobs, Jobs, Jobs?” Jim is also the co-author of the 2007 book The GeoPolitics of Energy: Achieving a Just and Sustainable Energy Distribution by 2040. Another essay from Forbes is from the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell: Why This ‘Big Oil’ CEO Believes In Applying A Price To Carbon.

* For another truly inspiring read, try “The Sudden Rise of Carbon Taxes, 2010–2030” by Lawrence MacDonald and Jing Cao. The authors note that “this essay is what might be called a future history, a work of imagination set in 2030 that looks back at one possible scenario for global climate policy. We are tempted to call it “policy fiction” or perhaps “political science fiction”—a tribute to science fiction—except that such terms seem to suggest that the scenario we have sketched could never come true. Our intention to persuade the reader that some rough approximation of the events we have described is indeed possible, and thus to increase the likelihood that something like it will come to pass.” A key excerpt:

Before long, British Columbia’s success attracted attention south of the border, in the US states of Washington and Oregon, where the large share of voters in favor of climate action had ringside seats to watch the British Columbia experiment with carbon taxes to their north and California’s experiment with cap-and-trade to the south… [A] lively debate ensued in Washington and Oregon about which path to follow. California’s cap-and-trade system seemed to be off to a good start, and the idea that reductions in emissions could be obtained at lower cost and without politically difficult “tax” increases appealed to significant numbers of voters and politicians… It wasn’t long, however, before California’s cap-and-trade system began to lose its luster [and for a variety of reasons described in the full piece] both Washington and Oregon followed British Columbia’s lead and adopted revenue-neutral carbon taxes… As in British Columbia, revenue was rebated through a combination of cuts in business taxes, personal tax breaks, and low-income tax credits. And, as in Canada, other subnational jurisdictions took notice when the US Pacific Northwest managed to combine increased economic growth and falling emissions with tax reductions.

Note that this was written before the authors knew about our CarbonWA campaign!

* I’ve got two articles on the Sightline blog: “The #1 Question from Conservatives about Revenue-Neutral Carbon Taxes” and “The #1 Question from Progressives about Revenue-Neutral Carbon Taxes”. (Hint: They’re the same question!) Another reading along the same lines is “Do Carbon Taxes Just Feed the Beast?” from Bloomberg View.

* The latest hint from Governor Inslee (who’s CERT taskforce recommendations are due in a few weeks) is “Inslee: Carbon regulation could fund education, flood control“.

* Finally, the New York Times has “Environment Is Grabbing Big Role in Ads for Campaigns” and (on a somewhat lighter note) “Why Republicans Keep Telling Everyone They’re Not Scientists”. Excerpts:

Mr. Krosnick of Stanford analyzed polls in 46 states conducted between 2006 and 2013 and found that in every state surveyed, at least 75 percent of the population acknowledged the existence of climate change, and at least 67 percent said the government should limit greenhouse gas emissions.

One result is that a cadre of Republican staffers and advisers, most under the age of 40, have started pushing their bosses to find a way to address the issue.

The general dialogue has been, ‘We have to do something about this,’” said one Republican adviser who asked to remain anonymous in order to speak candidly. “We have to be less head-in-the-sand and acknowledge we are losing public opinion on this issue.

Now that you’ve read all this, what can you do? Well, check out our winter deliverables and see how you can help out! Can you set up a Carbon Washington chapter in your area to help spread the word? Can you make a signature gathering pledge for yourself or your group? Can you complete and comment on the carbon tax swap calculator? Can you help us connect with organizations, businesses, economists, or members of the media? Can you forward our email newsletter (this newsletter!!) to your friends and encourage them to sign on at Can you make a donation? Can you connect with us on Facebook and Twitter? Everybody can do something!

PS. For those of you in the Seattle area, I’m giving a book talk on T Nov 4 at 7pm at University Bookstore on The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change. Note that I’ve pledged all of my royalties for the year to Carbon Washington and that I’m still happy to send a signed copy to you if you make a donation to Carbon Washington of at least $100… or a monthly contribution of just $20!

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