State-level carbon taxes offer a path to the ultimate climate solution.
This post was first posted on the Huffington Post on April 26. It was co-authored with Yoram Bauman, the PhD economist who founded Carbon Washington and co-chaired the carbon tax initiative in that state last fall. Yoram was principal author of the new CTC report featured here.
The Carbon Tax Center is out with a new report timed to the surging climate movement. We surveyed all 50 U.S. states (and Washington, DC) to identify the ones with the most favorable conditions for enacting a statewide carbon tax. Joining the report is a toolkit to help advocates push for a carbon tax in their state.
Campaigns for state carbon taxes educate the public and advance the idea on the policy map. A carbon tax in one or more states will create facts on the ground that can appeal to the Left and Right alike and upend the climate stalemate.
The world’s leading climate experts agree that putting a price on carbon emissions is essential for slowing and eventually stopping global warming. The artificial marketplace advantage of unpriced carbon pollution has helped coal, oil and gas gain a stranglehold over our economic system and social structures. Charging these fuels for their climate damage is the fastest path to the clean energy future that we need to protect our cities, coasts and civilization from climate devastation.
Enacting a carbon tax in a single state can be a gateway toward the ultimate remedy: a national carbon tax. Look at Canada, where a successful carbon tax in British Columbia, that country’s third largest province, prompted Prime Minister Trudeau to commit the nation to carbon pricing starting next year.
None of the world’s five top emitters — China, United States, Russia, India, Japan — has a carbon tax covering even a province or state. Yet the grassroots movement to end the fossil fuel era has never been stronger, as evidenced by last weekend’s Marches for Science and the anticipated massive April 29 People’s Climate March.
Below are thumbnails of the eight states we determined have the best prospects for enacting carbon taxes. Our map shows another six states with carbon tax “potential” along with eleven more where only one barrier (e.g., an apparently legal impediment) stands in the way.
Residents of these states—indeed, residents of all states—must speak up, advocate, and demand that their lawmakers take action; in many states citizens can also act directly through ballot measures. Our report and toolkit explain where, why and how.