Gov. Inslee’s Carbon Pricing Model, Part 2

Last week’s newsletter on Gov. Inslee’s Carbon Action Pricing Model got a lot of comments – about three times the normal amount. Thanks for reading it! The bill has arrived in the Appropriations committee and we will spend some time looking at it before taking action, so I have time to work through all the details.

Readers of my newsletter and blog brought up a few concerns that I felt I should respond to. Here are my responses to the most common ones.

Why should we act – China, India, etc. are far larger than us and aren’t acting…

There are two ways to respond to this concern. First, I can quote Mahatma Gandhi “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”  This may be unsatisfying to some readers. 🙂

Second, I can point to how much of the world’s economy (and carbon emitters) will soon be covered by some kind of carbon pricing scheme, including China. The following graphic from Sightline shows the expansion of carbon pricing strategies, including planned rollouts over the next few years. We would not be acting alone. For more detail read the Sightline article.

Sightline: All the World’s Carbon Pricing Systems in One Animated Map

Cap and Trade or Carbon Tax? Why one over the other? Continue reading “Gov. Inslee’s Carbon Pricing Model, Part 2”

Gov. Inslee’s Carbon Pricing Proposal

I’ve gotten a lot of email this year about Governor Inslee’s climate proposal, both pro and con. Mostly pro, but a number of questions have come up and I’d like to take the opportunity to address them.

  1. I have no personal doubt that the globe is warming up, and that human activity contributes to this.  If you are confused about this there are lots of excellent pieces that work through the science in great detail, such as the information on NASA’s website:
  2. I support the general direction Gov. Inslee proposes: using a market-based solution as the organizing mechanism to drive changes in our behavior to address this over time. People on the left and the right tend to agree that getting the markets to include all the costs of decisions is much more efficient than writing extensive regulations.
  3. I am open to using either Gov. Inslee’s proposed “cap and trade” mechanism or the simpler but less focused “carbon tax” strategy. Both are economically similar, but have different implementation concerns.

The basic idea is that we impose a tax or fee on activities that produce atmospheric carbon, as close to the source as we can. This fee will result in less of the activity (bringing fossil fuels in to produce power of some kind.) The Sightline Institute has a great summary:

If you want a primer on how a cap and trade or carbon taxes work I urge you to look at the one Sightline publishes.

Continue reading “Gov. Inslee’s Carbon Pricing Proposal”