The R Street Institute — a non-profit, non-partisan, public policy research organization that promotes free markets and limited, effective government — calls a carbon tax a “bargain for conservatives.”
In a policy study written by Catrina Rorke, R Street’s director of energy policy, the institute says even a modest carbon tax will bring big results: “The price doesn’t have to be large. If the necessary steps are taken to remove government-imposed obstacles to innovation and wealth generation, a relatively modest price will reshape economic decision-making. A modest carbon price of about $20 per ton would reduce emissions 8 percent below business as usual . . .” (I-732 imposes a price of $15 a ton in the first year and $25 in the second, with annual adjustments.)
The report also says that current policy “imposes a high and inefficient price on carbon emissions across a number of economic sectors. Society stands to gain in both environmental outcomes and economic performance by moving to a more straightforward policy that pursues carbon reductions by mobilizing the marketplace. This can be done by placing a direct price on emissions.
“This carbon price – or carbon tax – would force the market to make decisions that take into account the future damage stemming from carbon emissions. A direct carbon price elevates behaviors that result in fewer emissions above behaviors that result in more emissions – like searching out a car with better fuel efficiency – by including some approximate cost for climate damage into every decision. If it costs less to reduce emissions than to pay the tax, those investments will be realized. This isn’t a radical policy that seeks to transform the economy overnight, but rather a steady expression of carbon risk through a transparent signal that lets the market decide how best to reduce emissions over time.”
Catrina Rorke is director of energy policy and a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, where she promotes smart, small-government solutions to energy and climate challenges.
I-732 represents the most effective climate policy and the most progressive tax shift in decades in Washington and is designed to move the state toward two goals – cleaner energy and fairer taxes – with the following policy objectives:
Carbon Washington is a non-partisan grassroots group of scientists, economists, former elected officials, business owners and concerned citizens focused on seeking a solution to climate change that works for businesses and households around the state. The group developed Initiative 732 as a revenue-neutral approach to taxing carbon pollution while encouraging economic growth for families and businesses in Washington. To learn more about I-732, view endorsements from around the state, and get involved, visit YesOn732.org and follow on twitter @CarbonWa.