Carbon Emission Solutions: USA To Impose Carbon Tax?

The battle to reduce the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is still being fought. Despite numerous avenues explored and implemented, ultimate carbon emission solutions haven't been reached yet. Now, a new proposal by the Washington state could cause a significant impact on this global problem.

A first in the country, the state of Washington is to propose in the November ballot what is being called Initiative 732. This initiative will put a stable and increasing tax on the price of carbon with the collected revenue going to those who are mainly affected by the problem. Experts in both climate and economic sectors have long argued that imposing a tax on carbon emission is one of the most effective ways of dealing with the ever-increasing levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.

Tax Initiative To Gradually Increase In The Coming Decades

And this claim does have precedent. In 2008, British Columbia put in place a carbon tax on polluters which resulted in decrease greenhouse gas emission from five to 15 percent. But the climate isn't the only facet that benefited from this as the Canadian province, among the first to adopt this maneuver, also saw a rapid growth in its economy compared to other places in the country.

The I-732 will kickstart the price at $15 per metric ton next year, $25 a ton in 2018, and would steadily climb over the next decades until it reaches $100 a ton. A car typically produces around five metric tons of CO2 in a year. The collected money of the initiative will be siphoned towards lowering state sales tax, effectively removing a business tax on manufacturers while providing low-income residents with $1,500 in tax credits, Yes Magazine reported.

Furthermore, through this initiative businesses and manufacturers will be forced to switch from fossil fuel to renewable energy making it one of the most progressive carbon emission solutions. And the shift isn't even going to financially hurt this sector as technology surrounding green energy has seen a significant decline in prices in recent years. In fact, numbers are showing that solar energy is becoming the go-to energy source than its fossil fuel predecessor, with coal seeing financial losses as the tech in the energy industry is turning greener.

New Carbon Emission Solutions Blocked By Multiple Groups

Of course, the initiative is being obstructed by the fossil fuel industry, the NY Times reported. But what's surprising is that I-732 is also opposed by a lot of environmental, labor, and minor groups reasoning that although the initiative is sound it doesn't invest its revenue directly towards renewable energy as it's mostly geared towards lowering sales tax. These criticism does have merit as a better initiative would be to place the revenue towards investing in programs designed to encourage and ease the shifting to a low-carbon economy.

A Recent poll on the state showed that 42 percent of voters are backing the initiative, 37 percent opposes it, and 21 percent remains undecided. While this new carbon emission solution does have a lot of room for improvement, it is one of the ways that could reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere. It could also set an example for other states to follow in the future helping the United States in reaching its goal regarding the Paris Agreement that was recently implemented.


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