Presidential Dark Horse Floats Carbon Tax

March 2, 2018

Above, Jay Inslee, then in congress, now Governor of Washington, takes climate denial kingpin  “Lord” Monckton comically to task.

Governor Inslee is now testing the the political viability of a carbon tax.

New York Times:

This week in the statehouse in Olympia, Wash., Gov. Jay Inslee fought but failed to bring a vote on a historic climate change policy that he has pursued for years: instituting the nation’s first tax on planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution.

The fate of the Senate vote, which was canceled on Thursday after it became clear that it could not gain enough support even in the Democratic-majority legislature of this West Coast state, was being watched closely around the country and the world. But for Mr. Inslee the loss of this week’s carbon-tax battle was just one step in a war to keep pushing his carbon plan, either as a ballot initiative this year — or possibly as part of a platform in a 2020 challenge against President Trump for the presidency.

In an interview, Governor Inslee declined to say whether he intends to run for president, but his name is increasingly appearing on lists of possible Democratic contenders.

Here, Governor Inslee questions the President on plans to arm teachers.

Advocates and opponents of climate change action are paying close attention to Mr. Inslee’s next steps. Economists broadly agree that taxing the carbon pollution produced by burning fossil fuels is the most efficient way to fight climate change. But politicians agree that it is also a nearly surefire way to get voted out of office.

After all, a carbon tax is, by design, an energy tax. Among other things it would most likely raise the prices that voters pay for gasoline and electricity, which is why the idea has long been seen as politically toxic.

In the days before the vote, Governor Inslee said he would like to change that perception. “We are not afraid of being a vanguard,” he said in an interview in Washington, D.C. “We invented commercial jet airliners and the best software in the world,” he said, referring to Boeing and Microsoft, two global companies that rose up in his state. “In this case, we’re developing a new policy system, and we hope it would be followed.”

If he does run for president, Governor Inslee is expected to make climate change central to his platform. Governor Inslee, who has spent the past decade of his political career focusing on climate change, earning the sobriquet “greenest governor in America,” sees the issue as a way to directly attack Mr. Trump, who has mocked established climate science, rolled back environmental regulations and promised to withdraw the United States from the landmark Paris climate accord.

Below, former climate skeptic Jerry Taylor discusses the difficulties of convincing conservatives on a carbon tax.

Today, the Washington legislature failed to pass the carbon tax proposal.

Seattle Times:

Another ambitious effort to pass a carbon tax in Washington state has faltered as both Gov. Jay Inslee and the bill’s prime sponsor said Thursday that there weren’t enough votes to pass the measure out of the state Senate.

Washington would have been the first U.S. state to impose a straight tax on carbon-dioxide emissions from fossil fuels like gasoline and electricity, and the legislation has been closely watched nationally.

But Inslee told The Associated Press on Thursday they were still “one or two votes shy” of passing it out of the Democrat-controlled Senate. The bill also needed to clear the House before the short 60-day legislative session ends March 8.

“I would consider this a sea change in the climate fight. It’s come a long way from where we’ve been. We’ve basically shown that carbon policy is within reach,” said the Democratic governor. He noted the bill cleared key policy and fiscal committees — advancing further than previous measures — but didn’t have the votes to bring it to a floor vote.

“On the arc of history, we’re not quite far along enough on the arc,” Inslee said. “That day will come, but it wasn’t quite here yet.”

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5 Responses to “Presidential Dark Horse Floats Carbon Tax”

  1. Sir Charles Says:

    Amazing. That first video above got more thumbs down than thumbs up on YouTube.

  2. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    “Published on May 11, 2010”

    That was a priceless smackdown, however, it is now March 2, 2018, and the fossil fuel industry has even increased its grip on power.

    Despair is not an option – they will be defeated inevitably, and let’s hope before it’s too late.

  3. indy222 Says:

    Occupy D.C. – and don’t leave until they’ve passed a 28th Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing that commons (like air, ocean, ice caps, great forests… climate) cannot be spoiled w/o legal liability. Don’t leave until a stiff carbon tax sufficient to rapidly end the Carbon Age, is passed. Don’t leave until Citizens United is repealed, and elections are funded strictly and ONLY by public money, and any candidate caught using money OTHER than public money dedicated to election, is subject to a 2x fine on that money. Be prepared to be arrested, peacefully but with resistance. With a million Occupiers, there wouldn’t be enough jail cells to hold them all. A few can always be quietly “disappeared”…. but not a million. Or half a million, if that’s what can be mustered. Would require support crews on the periphery of DC to supply w/ food, toilet paper, etc. Requires more organizational skills than this academic has, but if we’re serious about not being strung along for yet another month, year, decade, as we cross tipping points to a dire future – then I say it’s time.


  4. Coral Davenport (or perhaps it was Kirk Johnson’s contribution) in the New York Times piece says “[a]fter all, a carbon tax is, by design, an energy tax.”

    This is not quite correct – it’s only an energy tax if all forms of energy are taxed at the same rate in order to capture the tax from expenditure of energy. However in no system that I’ve seen has this been the intent, which is in fact to tax carbon pollution. That is, a carbon tax is a pollution tax.

    It’s an important difference.

    If a carbon tax makes fossil fuel energy more expensive, then that’s just an accounting of the externalised cost. If the gathered carbon price is directed to mitigating the cost of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide then I’m not sure that even this can be called a ‘tax’ by any but the most obdurate deniers of the impact that carbon doixide has on the planet’s climate.


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