Carbon tax: Time is now

By Mark Vossler – Originally posted on November 17, 2017 in the Seattle Times.

In your recent editorial “45th win not a golden ticket for Democrats,” you reassure the citizens of Washington that Democratic control of both the executive and legislative branches won’t necessarily result in a big increase in taxes. In the process of doing so, you seem to dismiss the notion of a carbon tax.

Economists who have studied the issue have generally agreed that increasing the price of something you don’t want, in this case greenhouse gas pollution, is far better than penalizing things that you do want, such as income, property ownership and retail sales.

Climate change remains the biggest threat to human survival for the next generation, and the time to act is quickly passing us by. We have the opportunity to put a price on carbon emissions in our state either by the initiative process or via the Legislature. Furthermore, a credible proposal to price emissions at a federal level via a revenue-neutral fee and dividend is gaining momentum. Such a market-based approach will foster innovation and job creation in the process of transitioning to a clean-energy economy. The time to act is now.

Mark Vossler, Kirkland