Category: News

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 2.31.10 PMThe campaign for Initiative 732 kicked off in Seattle on Saturday, April 9. Among those in the audience — PBS economics correspondent Paul Solman and his producer, Lee Koromvokis. Here’s how PBS.org summarizes Solman’s report for Earth Day on PBS NewsHour:

Is making pollution expensive the best way to combat climate change? Economist Yoram Bauman thinks so — he’s spearheading a campaign for a carbon tax in Seattle. But the proposal is raising opposition, and has brought together some unlikely bedfellows on both sides of the debate. Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports.

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Cliff Mass and John SutterCNN’s John Sutter came to Seattle and British Columbia to report on Initiative 732 (and carbon taxes in general). It’s part of his series on how to keep the planet from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius. Here’s part of his story on CNN.com:

“Washington’s Initiative-732 would make a bad thing — pollution — more expensive by putting a tax on each ton of carbon dioxide created by cars, power plants and the like.

“More importantly, doing so would throw economic muscle behind clean energy, shorter commutes, cleaner air and smarter cities. It would use the market, not regulations, to choose winners and losers in the clean tech race. It would help Washington state, in the apt words of the initiative’s promoters, fulfill its moral responsibility to leave a livable planet for future generations. And it plans do so without wrecking the economy or growing government.”

Photo: Sutter (right) talks with UW climate scientist Cliff Mass at I-732’s campaign kickoff.

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How to write an effective letter to your state senator and representatives

Write to the senator and two representatives from your own legislative district.

Need to know your district’s number? Here’s a District Finder and a map of districts.

Mail your letter to Carbon Washington at PO Box 85565, Seattle WA 98145 (or via email Kyle@carbonwa.org). We will make sure your letters get delivered to Olympia in a timely way. (If you wish to send your letter directly to the legislature, please also send a copy to CarbonWA via mail or email to allow us to keep track of constituent contacts).

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Our friends at the Washington Business Alliance are giving a bit of push-back against carbon taxes:

Only a high carbon price, in excess of $50/tonne, will materially alter electricity generation given the dispatch order of plentiful, cheap coal and natural gas. Transportation fuels are relatively inelastic, similarly requiring a high price and long-term commitment to meaningfully impact emissions.

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If there’s one thing everybody knows about carbon pricing, it’s that there’s not much effect on consumption of transportation fuels. In econ-speak, the explanation is that demand is very inelastic: a price increase of (say) 10 percent reduces consumption by much less than 10 percent. In plain English, the explanation is that driving is something that people “have to do”, so price changes don’t have much impact on how much driving people do. (more…)