Letters to the Editor

Audubon supports I-732's tax on carbon

Climate change is creating major disruptions in our environment — think wildfires, major storms, extreme heat and drought. Such change disrupts our lives and alters functioning ecosystems too rapidly to allow birds and other wildlife to adjust and survive. In response, we can substantially reduce our use of carbon-emitting fuels, by both personal decisions and policy changes.

Initiative I-732 would move in the direction of pricing fossil fuels to reflect their true cost to the environment. Market decisions by both industry and consumers would lead to development and use of alternatives.

Following recent local and statewide polling of the Audubon community, both the Black Hills Audubon chapter here in the Olympia area and Audubon Washington have endorsed Initiative I-732, which will be on the ballot in Washington state in the November election.

I-732 would begin with a tax on fossil fuels of $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide (approximately equivalent to 15 cents per gallon of gasoline); this tax would increase in subsequent years. I-732 provides an offsetting reduction in our regressive state sales tax by one percentage point and further equity by rebates for low-income working households.

A similar tax-swap was implemented in British Columbia where it has reduced carbon emissions by 5 percent to 15 percent.

Climate change is with us; we need action. In November we have before us only one voter initiative addressing climate change. Positive state-level action may lead to eventual national action.

Let Washington state take the lead! We recommend support for I-732.