A briefing paper by the Washington Business Alliance, December 1, 2014.
Bolstered by growing public support for climate action, international, federal, state, and local governments are considering a suite of policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Washington’s unique clean and competitive energy assets position the state to succeed in a well-designed regulatory climate encouraging the use of less carbon intense energy sources. Businesses in Washington State have a leadership opportunity to drive a policy outcome where real reductions occur and the economy thrives.
Governor Inslee’s Climate Emissions Reduction Taskforce (CERT) was the latest effort to examine carbon pricing. The taskforce was charged with answering a tactical policy question: What kind of carbon price do you prefer, Cap & Trade or Carbon Tax? For good reason, the final report fell short of making a clear recommendation. Achieving state emission reduction targets with either strategy would require adopting and sustaining a comprehensive carbon pricing program, the economic impacts of which are entirety dependent on how new revenue is spent. Further complicating the discussion is an unclear implementation pathway—could legislation pass or would it require a ballot initiative?