Earlier this year we opposed Gov. Jay Inslee’s effort to impose a carbon-emmissions tax in the Washington state Legislature.

We now oppose a similar effort to impose a carbon tax — now dubbed a pollution fee — through Initiative 1631. We urge a no vote on I-1631 on the November ballot.

This does not mean we oppose all efforts to combat climate change, which we see as a real and serious threat to all of us.

But any effective effort to reduce the carbon emissions that contribute to climate change should be done on a national scale at the federal level. A state-by-state approach such as the initiative adopts won’t achieve much except to create an economic burden on those living in Washington state.

The wording of I-1631, which mandates “pollution fees on sources of greenhouse gas pollutants and use the revenue to reduce pollution, promote clean energy, and address climate impacts, under oversight of a public board,” doesn’t change the reality that this is a state carbon tax.

Imposing pollution fees in the state would hurt consumers and put businesses in the state at a competitive disadvantage with those in neighboring states. It could also drive businesses from Washington.

We expect the increase in energy prices under I-1631 would be similar to those estimated for Inslee’s plan.

The Seattle Times reported Lauren McCloy, a policy adviser for Inslee, said that under the carbon-emissions tax, residential natural-gas prices could increase about 10 percent in 2020 and gasoline prices could rise between 6 and 9 percent. Electricity costs could increase 4 to 5 percent.

This would hurt consumers a little and some industries a lot. And for what?

The reduction in carbon emissions would be so small it wouldn’t dent the overall effort to reverse the climate-change impact of carbon emissions in the United States — or the world.

Nevertheless, we should all strive in our day-to-day activities to be mindful of carbon pollution and its detrimental impact on our planet.

Again, we aren’t against efforts to curb pollution, but they need to occur in conjunction with many other states. Using a state initiative to literally try to save the world simply isn’t prudent.

Vote no on I-1631.


Editorials are the opinion of the Union-Bulletin's Editorial Board. The board is composed of Brian Hunt, Rick Eskil, James Blethen and Alasdair Stewart

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