March 01, 2019

Lessons of the Failure of Initiative 1631: A Political Analysis

In a previous blog, I examined the voting patterns associated with the decisive defeat of Washington State's carbon fee initiative (1631), which lost by 13% on election day.   As I noted, only three WA counties supported the initiative (King, Jefferson, and San Juan), with a large number of Democratic-leaning voters being against it.  Furthermore, the election results suggest that working-class, minority, and particularly Hispanic voters were heavily negative on 1631.

This blog further examines the political aspects of the initiative campaign and highlights some of the poor decisions of the Yes campaign and its supporters that directly led to its defeat.  I will also look forward to potentially more viable approaches.

Some additional information

Recently, CarbonWashington made the precinct map for 1631 available (see below) and it tells an interesting story.  The initiative lost in a major way (less than 20% support) in the red/orange areas, which includes much of eastern WA and in SW Washington.  The initiative was also defeated in the green and yellow areas.

(click on figure to enlarge)

Pretty much all of eastern WA and the rural areas were against the initiative, with one exception: several tribal areas.  This is not surprising considering local tribes were hardwired into 10% of the 1631 cash. Other than the tribal zones, the core support was in the urban core regions (e.g., Seattle, Bellingham) and where there were well-off, liberal voters ( e.g., Port Townsend, San Juan Islands). Interestingly, 1631 was defeated in Yakima County, where I believe the lack of enthusiasm by the Hispanic population was very important.

It is also interesting to see the change in support between 1631 and the previous initiative (732), which was designed to be revenue neutral (to give back all the collected carbon tax).  Red and yellow indicate loss of support between 732 and 1631, something that was evident in many of the rural areas of the state.  In contrast, in the tribal areas, urban cores (Seattle, Bellingham), and wealthy retirement areas (e.g., Port Townsend) support increased (light and dark blue).  In short, outside of the tribal regions, there was a clear divide between urban and rural, wealthy and lower income.

Some Political Observations

An essential fact

Passing 1631, and really any carbon tax or fee, is a very heavy lift, particularly if it is not revenue neutral (gives back all or most of the money). Although the majority of the U.S. population has concerns about human-caused climate change, very few are willing to sacrifice significantly to do anything about it.  This is not speculation:  numerous polls show that most people do not see global warming as a major issue for their immediate lives and are not willing to spend much to deal with it (100-200 dollars a year at most, according to one study, $5 per energy bill says another).  Very few folks are willing to restrict their life styles in a meaningful way to slow the increase of greenhouse gases.  For example, my climate researcher colleagues at the UW have the worst carbon footprints imaginable and are not willing to reduce their intensive use of air travel for work or pleasure.  Many of the most passionate 1631 advocates are avid travelers.   If people who have an intimate knowledge of the problem won't sacrifice, it is doubtful many others will.

Thus, an initiative that costs the average person a few hundred dollars in the first year and escalates to much more within a decade is not something many people will support.  Relatively well-off climate activists forget that many people are near the financial edge and that carbon fee costs can be a real burden for them (a recent study found that 4 in 10 folks could not come up with $400 in an emergency).

Obvious deceptions don't work

The pro-1631 folks undoubtedly knew the above and deliberately tried to deceive the electorate about the proposal.   The initiative title or descriptive language did not talk about dealing with anthropogenic global warming--supposedly the real intent of the sponsors-- but highlighted clean air, water, and healthy communities.  Who could be against clean air?  Unfortunately, that is not what the initiative was about.

Here is the exact language of the initiative:

"AN ACT Relating to reducing pollution by investing in clean air, clean energy, clean water, healthy forests, and healthy communities by imposing a fee on large emitters based on their pollution"

Nothing about global warming.  Even a superficial reading of the initiative made clear that it did not address clean water and did little about clean air.  The key winter air pollution problem in the State has been pollution from burning wood, which 1631 did not address.  And much of the summer air quality problems in the State came from wildfires in BC, Oregon, and CA, which the initiative would not influence.  Even worse, the bill did not provide the major resources needed to reduce the threat of wildfires in WA State (e.g., massive thinning and prescribed burning that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars per year to really address the problem).

The deceptions were even worse that that.... the 1631 advocates suggested that WA citizens would not pay the cost, but rather the polluters would.  This claim was explicitly stated in flyers the 1631 folks sent around (see below) and in their web/tv advertising.

Many (most) voters could see through the 1631 subterfuge and understood that oil companies and others would pass the costs on to them. People laughed at the lines about "big polluters would pay" and the initiative lost much credibility.

Regressive Fee That Would Hurt Low-Income Citizens

One of the major problems with the I-1631 initiative was that its carbon fee would be highly regressive, preferentially hurting lower-income and working-class residents of our state.  Realistic estimates of the I-1631 carbon fee suggested it would cost the average resident a few hundred dollars a year to start, increasing to 500-1000 dollars a year after a decade.  Such costs more heavily weigh on low income residents, since the carbon fee would be a far higher percentage of their annual incomes. Farm workers and building trades folks, who often commute long distances, would be particularly hurt, and they knew it.  And thus low-income and disadvantaged groups opposed I-1631.

A regressive tax is a tax imposed in such a manner that the average tax rate (tax paid ÷ personal income) decreases as the amount subject to taxation increases

I-1631 supporters, many of which enjoy relatively high incomes, did not take this issue seriously, suggesting that some vague aspects of the initiative would help poor residents, such as calling for 15% of the fee being used to help lower-income people.   But nothing was specified and decisions would be made by an unelected board.     My analysis, as noted above and my previous blog, suggests that low income and minority groups (e.g., Hispanic folks) were overwhelmingly against 1631.  Many of the Seattle-based, social activist groups, for all their talk, did not really represent the minority folks and low-income individuals they claimed to speak for.

Calling Oil Companies Names Has Little Traction Among Most Voters

As the election approached, the Yes on 1631 campaign made a tactical decision to go negative, with the majority of their online and on-air ads attacking "big oil" in one way or another.   Some accused "Big Oil" of polluting the environment, otherwise accused the oil companies of buying the election, or of some form of lying/deception. 

Now many people are worried about human-caused climate change, but they also understood that the oil companies are not necessarily villains.   They supply a product that many people want and need at a reasonable price.   Going negative and painting the industry as bad people was not an effective motivator.  And hardly a good way to get them to join as partners.

But it is worse than that.  Some 1631 supporters actually broke the law, defacing No-on-1631 signs throughout the state by putting on "Big Oil" stickers (see below).   This was done on a massive scale on thousands of signs and was clearly organized and paid for by some kind of state-wide organization.

Many folks, including some very progressive voters, were outraged by this action.  And the Yes on 1631 deceptions did not end there.  Late in the campaign, they accused the No campaign of listing false endorsements in campaign flyers.  These attacks were easily disproven by signed endorsement forms provided by the No campaign.

The truth about initiative spending

One of the major claims of Yes on 1631 campaign was that the oil companies were "buying" the election and were crushing the "grass roots" support for 1631.    In reality, the two campaigns were nearly evenly matched in terms of resources.  According to the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, the No campaign spent 31 million and the Yes expended 16 million.   16 million is a huge amount of money to spend on an initiative (tied for the second largest in State history to support an initiative) and clearly the Yes campaign had plenty of money to get out their message--something confirmed by a polling group hired by the Yes campaign.

Both sides saturated the airways and the web, and quite honestly both past the point of diminishing returns.  Furthermore, while the No campaign efforts were pretty much limited to the 31 million noted above, the Yes campaign also included a number of organizations that did their own campaign /communication efforts (such as Seattle-based Climate Solutions), the value of which was in the millions of dollars.    In short, both sides had more than sufficient resources to make their cases and claims that the oil companies won by spending more money is simply untrue.  1631 lost because it was flawed and unpopular, not because the supporters were outspent.

1631 failed to provide a concrete plan and would be directed by a non-elected partisan committee

One of the great weaknesses of 1631 was that it offered no specific plans or projects.  The money would go into very general bins and the decisions on how to spend the money was left to a board selected by the Governor.  Clearly, the board was going to be highly partisan and there was no guarantee that substantial funds would be spent on critical projects (like a massive thinning of the east-side forests), rather than political show pieces.  Most people were uncomfortable with this approach, as were the editorial boards of major newspapers (e.g., the Seattle Times).

What Next?

The failure of two initiative attempts at carbon pricing is highly damaging and undermines the chances of securing some reasonable measure in our state. Thus, the supporters of 1631, many of which had opposed initiative 732, bear a serious responsibility for lack of action on climate in our state.  Their opposition killed the bipartisan 732, which would have returned all carbon fees to state residents.   Then they pushed a highly partisan 1631 that was highly regressive, essentially undemocratic, and which distributed funds through an unelected committee, with no concrete goals and no real measures of success.   And the inevitable result was failure.

Clearly, it would be best if our state legislators took up this issue in a responsible way, crafting a bipartisan bill that would help our state move to lessen our greenhouse gas emissions. 

From my own study of the issue, going to many meetings, and talking with a lot of the players, my own feeling is that there are two viable approaches to establishing a carbon tax/fee that could meet popular approval and act as an efficient motivator to reduce carbon usage, while encouraging new energy technologies.

The first is a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend.   In this approach, a fee on carbon would be collected, but all the revenue would be returned to state residents in the form of a dividend, with every taxpayer receiving the same amount.  Since wealthy people have a bigger carbon footprint and would pay more of a fee, net funds would be transferred to low income folks, making our tax system LESS regressive.  No carbon fee would be collected from export-sensitive industries. Lower income and working-class folks would not be hurt.

Many Republicans and moderates are ready to support such a carbon fee and dividend, and I believe several of the oil companies that were against 1631 would SUPPORT such an approach.  We could do something bipartisan that would be an example for the nation.

The second approach would be a hybrid.  A carbon fee would be collected, but only part of it returned, with the rest going to critical, specified projects.   A substantial proportion (say 50%) of the fee would be returned in the form of a dividend, particularly to ensure that low-income and working class folks are not hurt.  The remainder of the funds could go to SPECIFIED projects like repairing our forests (which would reduce catastrophic wildfires and improve air quality), speeding up installation or extending rail, or in resilience/adaptation projects (such as building new reservoirs to ensure enough water now and in the future).

For many reasons, 1631 was a debacle, a partisan attempt to secure funding for the projects of some favored groups.  A warning about what happens when folks lose sight of the need for concrete, coherent action on climate change and forget about the precarious financial status of our state's less advantaged citizens. 

As noted above, there is the potential for moving to effective, bi-partisan approaches (such as the carbon fee and divided) that could provide an example to the nation.   We can do this.

Personal Note:

My opposition to 1631 has resulted in my being demonized by activists, being called terrible names (e.g., racist, climate denier) and accused of being an agent of "big oil".    What I have learned is that some folks are so convinced they are saving the world and so self-righteous, that they feel that they can hurt other people, call names, and even do illegal acts.   They are even willing to undermine the underpinning of our democracy (like tolerance for others and free speech) to get their way.  Tragically, some of the worst abusers of free speech are found at a public institution, in the College of the Environment at the University of Washington, a place where tolerance of a diversity of ideas should be celebrated.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. It's always interesting to examine what drives people crazy (psychotic, even). Sorry you became a "villain" for making your argument.

    I create software that helps marine biologists protect whales, dolphins and polar bears from human harm.

    I sell my apps to Big (and little) Oil, Wind Farm Developers and the Military, because they are some primary producers of potentially harmful activity in our world's oceans. My apps help them stay within the bounds of environmental law and ethics. Turns out these organizations work very hard to stay in compliance. Some do so for no reason other than they get legally smacked if they don't, others because they actually care about our oceans and their inhabitants.

    On the flip side, I also donate my software to academia and pure science because they have no money and are doing great research. Wins all around.

    Crazy story: I had someone in the Navy ask me how I could stand to work with Oil companies ("they're baaaad"). This is the same Navy that on occasion blows up animals, and occasionally induces a fatal case of the bends in certain deep-diving whales (sonar). Never mind this person flew in a kerosene-powered airplane to get to the conference where they said this to me.

    I'm out here trying to provide tools to help *everyone* protect marine mammals, and this broken-brain went off some psychotic deep end about who I should, or shouldn't, help literally save the whales.

    I also, of course, sometimes get the same thing from certain pure-science people who live under the delusion that scientist income should be obtained only from grants and donations, not from selling something. Specifically: the intellectual property I've crafted should be freely given to all, and I should beg from rich people for my supper.

    Thanks for keeping scientists in their role as grovelers and beggars, dim-bulbs.

    People are, indeed, weird. They (we?) go crazy at the slightest turn of a phrase. It's no surprise you were vilified for speaking your mind.

  3. One thing I wish people would focus on is the importance of land use regulation. The west coast has relatively mild weather (for instance air conditioning is mostly unnecessary in Seattle), and simply allowing more people to live in the dense, walkable parts of the region would do a lot to reduce carbon emissions. The best part is that upzoning for density need not have any fiscal cost and in fact should enhance tax revenue. It would also help make mass transit and bike lanes more viable. And of course housing affordability is a major driver of economic equality - when people can afford housing near dynamic, job-rich areas, they have a much easier time climbing the economic ladder.

  4. As a long time reader and supporter I feel obliged to caution Cliff about taking the incorrect fork in the public information road. Carbon taxes, climate changes and hand wringing are all underlying symptoms of the actual issue that, for its unpopularity, is never mentioned. Every person needs to use energy for shelter, food, transportation, life in general. The true world issue is overwhelming population. More people require more housing, more roads, more schools, etc. you get the picture. How about a 25 year ( one generation) plan for a child tax. This could easily be gradually increased in the 25 years such that everyone would be aware of its importance and impending impact, (less people). The income from this could be used for environmental issues in addition to family planning. Our current tax system with its more children = less taxes surely must change. Thank you. Tim.

    1. I agree with Tim. Too many people is the root problem - regarding climate change or almost any environmental ill you can name, yet very few are willing to even talk about it.

  5. Time to move on...

  6. 1631 is a state of Washington issue and I'm an Oregonian. So, I did not read the whole post. But, I did see your personal note at the end. Spot on, Cliff!! The sad part is that those you address in your personal note won't see it. They'll cherry pick through the post just enough to find items to continue their demonizing ways. Don't let 'em drag you down, Cliff!

  7. Hi Cliff,

    That was a nice analysis.

  8. Thank you for this informative article. I am still willing to make as many changes as I can to combat Climate Change. I realize that "The San Juans" are considered an affluent area----but I have lived here for 45 years and as one who isn't affluent---I say--we have a very active population of non affluent people who are working hard to change things.
    Your comment about Yakima--I have friends who live there who say the Latinos just don't see any reason to vote.

  9. Aside from arguments about the merits of i-1631, I think it is preposterous to assert that a nearly 2 to 1 differential in spending(~$16M For, ~$32M Against) did not have a significant effect on the outcome of the election. And given that 89% of the campaign against came from only five oil industry donors, you would have to be very naive not to see that the petroleum industry believed it was getting good value for its campaign money.

    I do not see this first effort as being quite as lopsided as you do. Our political and voting history has many instances of concepts that were initially rejected as evolving into widespread acceptance.

    There is a great deal of economic self-interest on this issue both from fossil fuel producers and fossil fuel consumers, which may be the biggest barrier to doing something meaningful on this issue. No one I know ever seriously says fossil fuels do not have utility. The question is what is the true price that will be paid. Unfortunately, in a contest between the fear of long-term consequences (50 years from now) and the fear of short-term economics (next month), short-term economics usually wins.

  10. During my 35+ years at the UW, I took great pride in the university and felt that it was an open environment with tolerance for anyone who had an opinion or point of view. However, since my retirement, I have been saddened by the increasing intolerance toward ideas that are not in step with those who believe they “know the truth.”

    Sadly, I believe that this attitude exists at the top of the university and thus provides at least a tacit endorsement for the behavior in certain areas around campus. For example, the university asked a group of students to fund security for an event where protestors who disagreed with them were expected. The group sponsoring the event was not expected to misbehave; it was the protestors who were expected to cause problems.

    I used to believe that at a modern university in America, the concept of “tenure” was outdated and no longer relevant. However, seeing what is happening with Professor Mass and others on campus, I have changed my mind.

    In the guise of openness and inclusion, university administrators have closed their minds to people who have different ideas and opinions. And please understand, I am not talking about asking for tolerance for things most Americans find disgusting and unacceptable like racism, Neo-Nazi ideas and the like.

  11. Portland had an identical bill to this initiative that actually passed. Seems it's a lot easier to race-bait people down here and guilt them into voting against their own interests. Will be interesting to see where the money actually goes, given Portland's history of incompetence and corruption. It's no surprise that the organizations that backed this bill were the same ones that were explicitly listed as receiving direct funds from it.

  12. I recall a comment posted to this blog awhile back which described some of the harassment Cliff has received from colleagues and students associated with UW and found it pretty shocking. As that commenter indicated, Cliff will be fine and does not need our tears and hand-wringing but I can imagine that it must be fairly disheartening for him to be on the receiving end of such baseless, antagonistic vitriol. I appreciate Cliff's relatively measured approached to the intersection of policy and science, even if I occasionally disagree with his conclusions, not because I believe that he is without bias but because I suspect he is aware of his biases and does his best to defer to the science even when it's inconclusive. In other words, I think Cliff knows what he doesn't know which is more than can be said for the overwhelming majority of individuals whose comments he posts. Thanks for this and all your blog posts, Cliff! I hope you continue to provide your opinions and expertise to laypersons like myself for many years to come.

  13. For more information on the way the UW has treated Cliff:

    Cliff, keep up the great work. I salute your courage.

  14. “Tragically, some of the worst abusers of free speech are found at a public institution....”

    I think you meant to say “typically”.

  15. Another aspect rarely addressed is the carbon footprint of urban vs. rural areas. I can't find numbers for Washington state or any of the cities there but New York City dwellers are said to have a percapita carbon footprint of ~7 tons while the rest of the US is at ~24 tons. If this divide holds in the state of Washington, then carbon taxes would transfer wealth from rural (and likely poorer) citizens to urban (and wealthier) citizens.
    Also, think of the types of jobs that blue collar workers do, manufacturing, construction, transportation. I suspect that the carbon footprint of an average blue job is several times higher than white collar workers. I don't think you can design a carbon tax that isn't net loss to blue collar hourly workers.

  16. Not sure where you are going with this analysis, since 732 lost > 19%, compared to 1631's 13%. Both lost badly, suggesting that ultimately, a carbon tax/fee probably is not a viable political option.

    To the extent that carbon pricing might be viable, a carbon tax probably has to rely on getting a higher percent of the "rich" voters in the liberal areas where climate change is seen as a real threat to vote for it. Trying to convince the Eastern Washington voters who don't consider the issue a problem at all to pay anything at all (or even has any potential risk, as in the form of a "revenue neutral approach") works worse, politically.

    Personally, I agree with the principle of the linked post above, that regulatory approaches might be more politically feasible. But, if one were to continue to pursue the carbon pricing approach, I suspect that the political path is to buy off Eastern Washington voters and for the rich urban areas to agree to bear the full economic burden of both the carbon tax initiative and whatever the buy-off is.

  17. The only time I vote is if I see lib candidates potentially eclipsing conservative ones. Like with Erickson and Pinky Vargus last year. I swear half of the counties female polulation voted for her because her name was “pinky”. Maybe our forefather were on to something with voting rights for adult males only?

  18. "Many Republicans and moderates are ready to support such a carbon fee and dividend, and I believe several of the oil companies that were against 1631 would SUPPORT such an approach."

    How many times does the GOP have to demonstrate that this simply isn't true before you accept it? They, along with oil companies, will demonize and spend huge amounts of money to kill any carbon fees, regardless if the money goes towards lefty green initiatives or back to the people in the form of a dividend or tax rebate. They. Will. Not. Support. Carbon. Taxes. They may pay lip service to being open to the idea, but when push comes to shove, they will oppose it. Even if it was a plan that they used to support (see: Obamacare/Romneycare). We've seen it over and over again.

    And yet, in this article, you're placing the blame at the feet of the left for not fully capitulating after the defeat of 782. This is why people are frustrated with you.

  19. Inslee is running with Global Warming his #1 Campaign Issue. I've had many conversations with him over the years and am proud and happy that he is running especially with this focus. Watch out for his Facebook Page however - it is frequently attacked by Spam Bots. You can tell because these fake identities have no posts on their own FB pages and other things don't add up. I simply report them all to FB and they disappear. Oh except for the usual malcontents who think Government owes them everything from Roads and Fire Protection but for Zero Taxes. And that Welfare, Social Security, Homeless Shelters etc. are a waste of their hard earned (usually from unearned income) tax dollars. Basically the ones who simply need to grow old and die soon so the rest of us can rescue the planet for the future generations.

    I may even work on his campaign.

  20. I voted for both initiatives. I liked the first one better.

    I do like your hybrid approach idea to a CO2 tax. We do need funding sources for addressing damage from climate change and to reduce our CO2 output. The combination of tax and investment should have a goal of reducing the tax revenue reducing the source of that revenue - CO2.

  21. I so appreciate what you do Cliff! As a scientist I would love to understand the science behind climate change so I could play with the data myself. I have seen a lot of fraud first hand in science over the years so I tend not to jump at data interpretations. Hence I have reserved my opinion on climate change. My latest interest is this "mini ice age" folks are mentioning based on the lack of sun spots. Is there anything more to say on this right now? Or do we wait for more sun spot data?

  22. Thanks for writing your analysis before the election. You informed some of us about the inadequacies of the bill.

    I live in an area where there is a lot of poverty. I cringe each time a "solution" is brought up for climate change legislation. An example is the tax break for purchasing an electric or hybrid car. Most folks around here can't afford to buy a new car but have to have a car to get to work. Now, if the politicians and lobbyists were serious, perhaps a program to buy old cars and replace them, at no or little cost with electric or hybrids would work. But, nobody seems to think about low income people. They are invisible.

  23. I'm a so-called progressive democrat who really cares about the environment that voted against this. I always vote against these state-only enviro tax/trade/credit schemes. The reason I think others share my opinion and hate these schemes is because they seem to cripple our state economy while other states get off free by doing nothing. The best way towards a sustainable future is to vote democrats into federal office, so we as a nation can move forward with a progressive environmental agenda in all states. This problem can only be resolved as a nation, if not by the world, not at the state level.

    Stop bringing these too-complex-to-be-understood schemes to a vote. The people don't want hacks. Nobody wants to vote on what they don't understand. Nobody wants to cripple our economy. Nobody wants to rob Peter to pay Paul. The only solution to global warming is national accords like the Paris Agreement, and to stop voting in numbskulls like Trump who will gladly kill such agreements.

  24. I agree we should all do our part by recycling, supporting wild life, and general practices to support environment. What I disagree with is that mankind is so arrogantly presumptuous to think we are the primary cause of climate change. And mankind we can “turn it around” by implementing a tax on this and that. For example, Joe Hollywood flying around the world on their private jets burning more fuel in one trip than flying on 20 or more public airlines is a prime example of this ignorance. We should all do our part to support the environment and, as technology continues to develop, man-made emissions will decline anyway. The climate has been changing for billions of years. I don’t believe we were around then? Stop feeling guilty and self righteous, use common sense and make your own environmental changes, just quit blaming everybody else for your personal view on this subject. Secrest Out!

  25. Cliff,

    So you demonize the Democrats and other "liberals" who try to take some sort of action (Even if it is faulty). Apparently they have to do all the heavy lifting and take all the blame. Republicans could also take the initiative, but they are unlikely to do so given their history, heavy rural constituencies and links to the fossil fuel industry. What they are telling you may not be the same as what they will eventually say or do. Politicians are like that. Cliff, you seem unable or unwilling to hold conservatives/Republicans feet to the fire. After all, the first initiative also lost significantly in rural areas, where conservative are the thought leaders and are frequently "deniers".

    I never fault you for your meteorological and climate information and subsequent opinions, which I think are often spot on. But I think your political analysis is blinded by your experiences with the activist. Moreover, singling out your climate colleagues as hypocrites is perhaps not the best analogy -and certainly not a good way to make friends or influence enemies. Many of them may in fact limit their flying or choose alternative methods to travel or meet. Do you have evidence that they don't?

    I think your solution has a lot of merit. I especially like the non-regressive method of taxation. But if you really want a solution, rather then just pinning blame which is both negative and problematic, maybe you ought to go the way of "honey" rather than "vinegar". After all, You are an expert and you could reach out to reasonable activist or people at the U of W Departments. If this issue is important to you, isn't worth a try?



  26. Tim - quite a conundrum, isn't it? People will neither give up reproducing, nor give up their carbon-heavy lifestyle. Something will have to give, and will one day. Mother Nature will take care of it eventually.

  27. i think that you're downplaying the difference in spending between the two campaigns....

    a 2:1 campaign funding ratio is massive.... the NO campaign was heavily backed by those who stood to lose the most/would be most affected by calls for economic system change....

    YOU ARE CORRECT that the solutions put forward hurt the poor the most.... and this has to change...

    one of the problems here in WA state is that taxation burdens are so screwed; there is no income tax and major corporations get too much taxpayer support while still being allowed to offshore profits and thus avoid taxes etc.... which means that any changes have to be funded by property taxes (the rapidly disappearing middle class) and the sales taxes paid by the poor/working poor, who cant afford to carry any more of the burden...

    the biggest polluters have all the freedom to pollute more and bear none of the cost to deal with the results of their activities, and have no incentive to stop their privileged emission of CO2 etc...

  28. Cliff, Can you name a few Republicans in the Washington state legislature, that are willing to go on the record as supporting a law to reduce greenhouse has emissions?

  29. Cliff,
    You said that the No campaign spent ~$31 million, the Yes campaign about $16 million. Do you really think that an almost 2:1 spending ratio is, as you say, "nearly evenly matched in terms of resources"?
    You mention that the Yes folks also had outside help, but don't quantify it, nor do you mention at all what outside "help" the No side might have had at all.

  30. And thank you Cliff for your excellent blog. I read every article. I wish people would be more tolerant in general. I voted for Trump and some friends and family will no longer associate with me. I cannot believe what is happening with our nation. It seems now that people can no longer agree to disagree and they often attempt to prevent people with opposing views from even speaking. Sad when my sister will not come over for the Holidays anymore because she knows who we voted for in the last election. I cannot even believe the amount of Facebook hate and backlash that I receive for posting a thing positive about Trump or any policies deemed conservative. We have never dissasociated ourselves or “defriended” anybody in real life or on Facebook because we disagree with a particular point of view. It’s just gotten so bitter and nasty to the point some condone violence to get their point out or block some one else’s point. I hope it gets better but I fear it will get worse with this type of animosity breeding school aged kids. Kids are no longer taught to respect others above all tolerate people and opposing views.

  31. Well said NoSnowMaggedon...well said. The arrogantly presumptuous masses really are utterly clueless when it comes to self awareness. Time, history? Hello. The 1500s? Warmer than the past warming period we just had. Notice how I said, just had because the temperature data is demonstrating that we have left the warming period and are now moving the other direction. Oh, but of course the SUN is fixed right everyone? It doesn't drive the weather of our, no, no...we do! Geezus chrimatey crickets people...seriously think about that for a second? Altering your environment is altering the weather? Sure, it changes the livable environment, of which we obviously need to take care of, but altering your climate? Look out at that energy ball, it drives your weather. You're just a peasant enslaved on a planet, you're definitely doing nothing to alter climate. Some government agencies alter the weather from time to time, but that's a whole other subject for a different time.

  32. Cliff, Great job! Timing can be so important with opportunities!

    Perhaps "We can do this" = the right timing (feedback from two failed attempts + Inslee's pres. run on climate change bringing opportunities and focus to WA) + detailed research based priorities commensurate with what needs to be tackled first, its cost and required deadline to make a difference driving the details of the plan)

    Wouldn't it be great to come up with a state model law for WA and the rest of the nation to implement? Each state could begin identifying research based priorities and costs while we are the test case.

    You are onto something--keep going!

  33. Cliff's idea of a revenue neutral fee & dividend approach is right now before the US Congress - HR 763 - the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019. Everyone should contact their Representative and ask him/her to co-sponsor. It's exciting that this has entered the national conversation!

    Another way to support effective climate action is to work with your closest chapter of the bipartisan Citizens Climate Lobby which has been working for over 10 years on getting this approach to be considered on a federal level:

    It's exciting that this has entered the national conversation!

  34. What's really fun is that Inslee is running on a global warming platform. This is a guy who failed to get a carbon tax through the legislature, and who backed two initiatives that were soundly rejected by WA State voters. Yep, this is the D Party at work: Promote your incompetents, so they can fail to do there what they failed to do here.

  35. Cliff --

    I've got to disagree with your analysis a little. Climate change is just a little too abstract for most people. Until the discussion is changed to personal responsibility, I don't see a lot happening.

    Personal responsibility? Yeah, like being responsible for what comes out of, uh, your tailpipe. Clean water and sewage treatment are an accepted part of life. This issue is no different except nothing has caught on fire. Yet.

    I can't take a crap on your lawn. (Neither can my dog! OK, OK, I don't have a dog but you probably get the point.) Until we regard the air as a resource -- to be spoiled or preserved -- just like water or land, I'm afraid nothing is going to happen.

  36. remnant1978:

    Assuming your comment is not tongue in cheek, and the text therein gives no indication that it is, I'm glad Cliff sees fit to post such utter nonsense because it provides an opportunity for sexist ideologues (which you've unambiguously presented yourself as) the opportunity for (the relatively few) regular folks among his readers to see laid bare the essential anti-Americanism of such tripe.

    If you truly believe females ought not to participate in our democracy then I wholeheartedly suggest you relocate to environs which better suit your particular political proclivities with regard to equal protection and due process. I'm sure a little google research into "Islamism", "fundamentalism", "extremism", "alt-right" or any other terrorist or enemy of the United States should he able to steer you in the right direction. Allah hu akbar, brother! And may you find uttermost failure, as the sand slips inexorably from between your ever hungry fingers, in your desire/quest for everything the defenders of the West stand steadfastly and resolute against.

    1. “It wasn’t so from the beginning”. (Jesus)
      I certainly don’t care to be affiliated with Islam, but find plenty of support in our Judeo Christian society, of woman fulfilling minimal roles as homemakers. “Suffer not a woman to be in authority”. (St Paul). Who said “if any man preaches another gospel then what I preached let him be accursed” Really? Are we still Judeo Christian?
      Your attempt to align me with Islam Is a manifest token of how western society has eroded. And adopted non traditional values with such fervency that anyone who tries to adhere stands out like a sore thumb. You have drifted from your anchor, watch out you’ll hit the rocks somewhere

  37. NoSnowMaggedon if you still support Trump, then your caterwauling about respect is the the pinnacle of hypocrisy. The man is in fact a lying criminal con man. No wonder your friends and relatives with ETHICS no longer associate with you. Yes, I see your whine as a transparent attack on liberals. You should be ashamed. J, is obviously another unethical Trump supporter. We do not owe civility to Trump or his supporters. They are not for America.

  38. "Sahlia":

    Are you suggesting that the YES campaign was not backed by those who stood to gain the most/be most benefited from calls to change of the economic system?

    Wasn't one of the core tenants of 732 to return the revenue collected via the carbon tax to the taxpayers through, perhaps, a less regressive sales tax? Certainly property taxes could be assessed on a sliding scale in which the largest property owners might be taxed at the highest rate per unit area.

    The biggest polluters of course are the end users of fossil fuels (i.e. everyone who uses internal combustion engines or heats their home using anything other than sustainably sourced firewood or geothermal). So where does that leave you?

    I don't know what your socioeconomic/living standards are like but given your propensity for spouting ill-informed drivel on this blog I can only guess that you're doing just fine. And if so, I'm happy for you. America is supposed to be about finding your own way, learning to play our silly games and becoming a self-sufficient contributor to our society.

    If your dream is for a society in which those unwilling to work receive, like clockwork, federal subsidy for their lack of ambition and sloth then I sincerely hope that your failure in achieving such an atrociously inequitable end is about as successful as remnant1978s preferred goal of stripping you and your genetic/physiological compatriots of your well-earned rights to participate in our political system as you see fit.

    Revolutionary tactics will not serve the interests of your ilk well if worse comes to worse because by the time your opponents have radicalized proportionately with your faction I think you'll find them to be quite implacable and rather well-armed to boot.

    In short, take a step back, look in the mirror and remember who you are...just one insignificant spec of stardust in a vast, empty and disinterested universe in which your continued existence hangs by but a thread and the best bet any of us have for finding peace in this world is via compromise whether with our enemies, our family and friends and especially ourselves.

    The preceding diatribe is by no means recommended as advice or information for anyone and should be considered utterly lacking in value for all those with sufficient reading comprehension to decipher it including the addressee as well as the author

  39. I am one of the Global Warming is caused by man Deniers. I have read hundreds of Studies over the years. I remember as a Kid being told we have to get rid our military and use the artillery to shoot Coal into the Arctic ice to prevent the next Ice Age. Then came the global warming we are going to be flooded. The predictions of the 90's never came true. Claims that by now the oceans would have risen by 6 feet. Seattle water front would be under water.
    All I see is that this is a way to make Al Gore a Billionaire instead of a mere 100M he is currently worth. Every scheme has some liberal group getting millions of dollars to fill their swiss bank Accounts claiming they are helping the environment yet laughing all the way to the bank.
    Yet without any government mandates the US has lowered its CO2 footprint where other countries with high carbon Taxes are actually having a higher CO2 Footprint. When Government picks the winners it goes to their friends.
    Electric Car is a great idea. But the cost to make it and maintain it has a Higher co2 Footprint and Toxic Material footprint than an automobile. A Battery is filled with toxic materials It does not last the lifetime of a car. but needs to be replaced. IF you have a Million Cars with batteries that have to be replaced every few years. Granted my Battery experience was on Submarines we were lucky to get them to last efficiently for 5 years. Before we had to replace them. Any way I see it batteries depending on use do wear out. I feel many of the article claims are painting a rosy picture. I had one friend who had an electric only car early on. It was in the shop for 6 months with three battery replacements before it finally started to work properly. NOt saying all are like that but if you got a lemon it can be very painful. The claims the cost per battery KW will drop so it is cheaper to run than a car in a couple of years is questionable. But like always if you have to replace the battery. will all the components in the battery be recycled or will it be thrown into the dumps and landfills.
    Other aspects like Germany Solar farms due to high snow fall have not provided any power for 4 to 5 months out of the year. Winter when they need electricity the most and there are feet of snow on the solar panels. They do not work so well. Look at the snow fall in California the past month. Would the solar panels survive that much snow on top of them?
    One size does not fit all for a clean environment. Too often politicians think only one way to do it. Mandates do not work. But finding a solution that works in Seattle may not work at all in the Mountain passes. That is only a thirty to forty mile difference in this state.
    Now that the sun is moving to a Solar min. We have to face colder winters for the next few years. Hopefully it will not last the 50 years the last time it happened back in the 1650 -1700 time frame. Only time will tell. I do not think there were many weathermen in Washington state the last time we had this type of cycle from the Sun.
    Sun variance is never taken into account in any Global warming model. IF it was you would find very little variation that could be contributed to man made causes only. Climate science is not perfect yet politicians seems to think the sky is falling so we need more taxes and fees. I am all for a clean environment but Seattle liberals are not known for doing things to help it stay clean. A lot of their social policies are hurting the environment. In the end the poor are hurt the worse by the one size fits all mentality of politicians. The rich do not care because they have the extra money. The bottom line is the poor get poorer and the rich elites seem to get richer in any government run program.

  40. I disagreed with you on 1631, but appreciate this analysis. Moving forward, the dividend/adaptation project funding hybrid seems like the way to go, as long as the environmental trade-offs of new water infrastructure projects are fully documented, minimized, and mitigated, and as long as local beneficiaries have to pay a robust cost share.

  41. I don’t see why the average person should be made to pay for the perverse greed of big money oil and car companies. There were thousands of municipal light rail systems 100 years ago which were torn out and abandoned in favor of cars and buses. Our biggest trade “partners” spew tons of coal and nuclear emissions into the atmosphere, also thanks to the perverse policies of the Anglo-American elite. The little guys have had it right all along, time to get out the pitchforks.

  42. Quote from Dr. Mass:"Very few folks are willing to restrict their life styles in a meaningful way to slow the increase of greenhouse gases."

    Great analysis Cliff and you are spot on about people not willing to change their lifestyles for the benefit of the planet. Initiative 1631 was just a feel-good Band-Aid so people could continue with their carbon rich, fossil fueled opulent lifestyles.

    I see this abomination everyday in the Wilderness quality of our North Cascade Mountains by people drunk on Powder skiing and fossil fuel flying around in helicopters, disturbing the peace and wreaking havoc on fragile Mountain environments.

    I believe it's time to kick the North Cascade Heli-skiing operation out of our mountains, expand the North Cascade National Park and give that public land the Wilderness protection that it deserves.

    North Cascade heli-skiing, in my opinion, lost the right to operate on public land the minute they decided in 2012 to illegally cut down and destroy a Federal listed sensitive species, ie, Whitebark Pine Trees, in order to create unauthorized helicopter landing zones that would have expanded their terrain access.

    This is the NCH public land stewardship Legacy. Environmental destruction in the name of greed.

    And anyone who supports NCH shares that Legacy.

    I was once warned to stay out of Mazama because of my involvement in this issue, but I say take your for profit helicopter-ski Corporation and your habitat destructive ways and leave of our Mountains in peace.

    Chris H.
    Heli-free North Cadcades

  43. I read that a carbon tax had made it through the Ways and Means Committee last week. This bill, if passed and signed by the lame duck (at this time) Governor would raise gas prices $.30/gallon and increase energy costs up to 10%. The political class is subverting the will of the people which voted down measure 1631, which was poorly written and not sufficiently vetted. Dr. Mass was opposed to this measure also.

    I do not believe that the State Legislature is capable of passing a reasonable carbon fee as stated in this post due to their makeup, political ambition and their ignorance of science. There are a lot of stupid myths out there now like the Green New Deal that would really bankrupt our country (Est. cost $93 Trillion by the CBO), yet one political party is onboard with this idea, which has been proven to be ineffectual in meeting our energy needs in the future. The Democrats have become a radical and unreasonable party and the Republicans are ineffectual in WA at this time. A sad state of affairs, largely due to the lack of critical thinking and knowledge of civics on part of the electorate who elect them IMHO.

  44. Thank you, Cliff, for your reports on weather, comments on other issues and enabling people to post their views.

    Before I forget, I want to thank NoSnowMaggedon for his comment on 3/1/19 at 3:08 PM. I fully understand what you're going through because i've experienced some of it and and I hear about many others who have the same complaints. Regardless of who someone votes for or doesn't vote, that person is always welcome at my table. I'm interested in hearing how someone thinks and why. Your fear about the current animosity getting worse is not unfounded. And the prospects of children being raised in this atmosphere is indeed horrible. Again, thank you.

    On all other subjects, I've gone from a point of feeling anger to a current state of feeling utter sadness. Very rarely, I fully trust what anybody says or does except for some of the investigative reporters that are still out there. The issue of climate change, as viewed and promoted by the mass media, politicians, big business and even some scientists is a disgrace. Gov. Inslee is going to lose because, ultimately, very few in this country know enough or give a damn about it.


  45. Right on, Cliff! I'm with you. And may the next carbon tax proposal be structured as you say. I voted for 1631 (as well as 732) but for 1631, I had to "hold my nose". I'm not sorry it failed. Initiative 732 was good but could have gone even further. If I were writing the rules, we'd have a progressive income tax, a carbon tax, and some miscellaneous "sin" taxes, such as cigarettes, pot, and alcohol, but no general sales tax and (yes!) no property tax on one's primary home. In other words, turn our state tax structure completely upside down! This I proposed to Governor Inslee as well.

  46. 1. I believe a global problem needs a global solution. Not just the state of WASHINGTON.

    2. I am a small family farmer. We are under siege in a massive way. Soon all farms will be corporate entities, controlling the food and the land which grows it.

    3. 1631 would have disadvantaged WA farmers, and given an edge to out of state farmers. ! Effectively increasing carbon used to transport cheaper food from out of state!

    The blue collar service class would have picked up the majority of the bill.

    I suggest taxing the wealthy and offering green deal incentives to the blue collar service class.

    I do not support our governor for President, because of how two highly misguided attempts to reduce carbon emissions in Washington state.

  47. I find it pretty surprising that it did get so many yes votes. For so many of us it was a personal cost with little or nothing in return. Too much fossil fuel use is a world-wide problem needing a world-wide (or near world wide) solution.

    The Bow WA weather conditions reporting rock-on-a-string, at 12:00 noon Saturday is warmish on top - basking in the sun - but near freezing on its underbelly. And steady as a - well - as a rock!

  48. Cliff,
    Your personal comment was a dagger through my heart. I earned my PhD from that proud institution in 1971, but at that time it was called the College of Forest Resources. Arguably one of the finest institutions of its kind in the US, it trained generations of foresters and forest scientists who have served the profession of forestry with skill and dignity around the country and the world. Then, about 20 years ago, bowing to financial and political pressures the Administration allowed The College to be hijacked by radical environmentalists, social justice warriors and neo-Bolsheviks bent on stifling freedom of thought, speech and expression in the name of "The Environment". Breaks my heart.

  49. I'm not very sympathetic to the global warming alarmism. However, I do appreciate your balanced perspective. You are the midway point between me and the radicalism that I worry about, and I think your point of view can help keep things moderate.

  50. I find it sad that people can't at least consider the possibility that temperature trends occur over many decades, and that temperature is natural. It used to be quite in the 1700's and 1800's, and it can be again (and some people believe it will be). Doesn't the notion that global temperature rises is man-made mean that temperatures are naturally constant? I challenge those who "firmly" believe in man-made warming to examine how they reached that conclusion--was it based on evidence you can see for yourselves, or have you heard it from someone else?

  51. local man....

    talking here about ice melt, the albedo effect and other phenomena....

    A Personal Journey into Climate Change | Miles McPhee | TEDxYakimaSalon

    When a world expert on the ocean/ice cap interface heads for the North Pole, his devotion to the scientific method uncovers unexpected global-scale processes at work that may have a profound impact on future generations. Miles McPhee. He grew up on a fruit orchard in Naches. The following is a list of some of his accomplishments to date: B.S. with distinction, Civil Engineering, Stanford University, 1968: Ph.D., Geophysics, subspecialty geophysical fluid dynamics, 1974: Researcher at the Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory, Univ. of Washington 1974-78: Geophysicist, US Army Cold Regions Laboratory, Hanover NH, 1978-1981: Occupied the Arctic Chair at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA 1982-83: Formed independent McPhee Research Company in 1984 that has continued to the present: Lead and participated in two dozen scientific projects in both the Arctic and Antarctic: Authored or coauthored 60 refereed scientific articles, including chapters in 5 books, and two encyclopedia entries: Authored a monograph entitled Air-Ice-Ocean Interaction, published by Springer, 2008: Served a term on the Polar Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences.


  52. A farewell to ice | Peter Wadhams | TEDxUHasselt

    September 2017 has smashed multiple climate records, being the hottest September ever recorded in the past 137 years of modern record-tracking. Despite many counterstatements of the human influences on global warming, its life threatening effects can no longer be ignored. The Arctic ice is rapidly retreating and trends are indicating that soon we will face ice-free central arctics in the summer. Due to the ever-increasing carbon emission that is collecting at the atmosphere, the latter is regrettably just a fraction of this calamitous puzzle. The growing heat is causing the Siberian permafrost to melt, additionally releasing large quantities of methane gas into the atmosphere which reinforces the global warming effect. According to prof. dr. Peter Wadhams of the University of Cambridge and author of A Farewell to Ice, innovative technologies are becoming increasingly relevant to timely shun this apocalypse. As humans remain incapable of changing their habits and practices as has been evidenced by our intensely developing society of the past decades, breaching this vicious cycle and achieving the 2°C climate goal of the Paris Agreement requires a true moonshot approach. Is assistance from technology truly imperative to save our planet? And if so, how far are we from a breakthrough in climate-saving technologies? Peter Wadhams is a professor of Ocean Physics, and Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at the University of Cambridge. As an oceanographer and glaciologist, he is best known for his work on sea ice, for which he has received the W. S. Bruce Medal and the Polar Medal. Wadhams has been the leader of over 40 polar field expeditions.

  53. There is a finite amount of cheap to obtain hydrocarbons. Once those are gone and the mass market can no longer afford fossil fuel derived energy, the narrative will shift on its own towards whats comes after fossil fuels. A tax might hasten that outcome but until whatever tech is going to take the place of fossil fuels has matured, is that hastening even a good idea?

    Without cheap energy, the global economy will rapidly contract. Consumers won't be able to afford flying to fancy vacations, cars, beef, gadgets, litters of kids etc. Which will drastically cut carbon emissions but also throw the world into a dark ages. Like it or not the economy has to be healthy to fund R&D for future solutions to problems. Sure, there was innovation during the Dark Ages but...

  54. What I have not seen, and do not see here, is the expected effect of these taxes on the average global temperature.
    Let's go with 25, 50, and 100 years.
    Consider the State of Washington, and when Jay is POTUS use the entire USA.
    How much less danger will Earth be in from AGW in 25, 50 & 100 years?

    Because this is more or less an educational blog from an educator --
    Show your work.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    [As an aside: We just received a letter from HopeSource listing our 2018 contribution to the funds that help needy folks pay their electrical/heating bill. We try to make charitable contributions as directly as we can. We are strongly opposed to paying taxes into a government run slush fund.]

  55. Although I've mentioned it here in the past, it bears repeating - the solution to many of these issues can be solved in one word: nuclear fusion. After decades of false starts and promises, the technological issues have finally been resolved.

    At this point it's merely an engineering issue, which is why it's going to come online in 15 years (or less). This is a game - changer, and the more that enviro groups and other NGO's refuse to get behind it the more they lose whatever credibility they have left. They continue to agitate and fundraise off of scare tactics, while ignoring the elephant in their midst. Change is coming, and it's coming soon.

  56. Interesting to see the range of comments this topic has elicited especially with your personal note, Cliff. It has given me a clearer sense of the individual beliefs behind the user name pseudonyms.

  57. Eric Blair said...

    "Although I've mentioned it here in the past, it bears repeating - the solution to many of these issues can be solved in one word: nuclear fusion. After decades of false starts and promises, the technological issues have finally been resolved."

    Many, many, many billions have been spent and are being spent on fusion technology. And maybe the smart people connected with this MIT-spawned start-up will come up with something that will contribute in the form of specialized magnets. But by anyone's estimate it is still a long shot, which is partly why Gates and others have contributed, because they take chances on long shots.

    But the idea that this is now only 14 years off (your link is already a year old) and there are only a few engineering details to work out is, frankly, laughable, and not even something the MIT folks are saying. Even one of the commenters in the cited article stated "he couldn’t see how it would achieve its goal of putting energy on the grid within 15 years."

    To date, while fusion ignition has been achieved at very great energy cost, anything approaching an engineering or commercial break-even fusion reaction is a very long ways away.

  58. I'm extremely concerned about anthropomorphic climate change, but I voted no. I was positively horrified by this initiative. Thank you for writing this blog post.

  59. People will support a carbon tax when the effects of a warming planet are in-your face, undeniable. When they interfere with our everyday lives and start to scare us. At that point we won’t care too much about how it’s drafted, progressive or regressive.

  60. A basic premise is missing from this whole conversation. If successful, a carbon tax isn’t a financial changes behavior. We drive less, buy smaller cars (generally less expensive). If the tax is weighted too much towards those who can afford it, then the incentive to change behavior is lessened! A catch-22.
    For that reason I like Cliff’s second plan, where money is collected for useful projects, even if it fails to reduce our carbon footprint.

  61. Mac, please offer your own solutions to this issue, since you routinely scoff at other developments offered. Show your work, and also what you're doing on a personal level as well. Money talks, while BS walks.

  62. Mr. Mass
    You should be proud of yourself
    when the leftists call you names,
    and attack your character.

    That indicates that you know real climate science,
    and have been effective communicating your knowledge.

    If the leftists ignored you,
    that would indicate a problem.

    Our planet has has global warming for 20,000 years.

    I see nothing but good news from the
    past global warming, and no reason to worry
    about future warming -- future cooling,
    such as exiting our current inter-glacial,
    could be a problem -- I live in Michigan,
    and don't know how to ice skate !

    Weather satellite data show no statistically significant
    warming since 2003, so why are the leftists so hysterical ?

    Maybe to distract attention from the actual
    average temperature calculations, which
    indicate deceleration of the global warming
    in the 1990s?

    The ignorant leftists, and their silly, science-free claim
    that life will end as we know it in 12 years,
    is nonsense.

    Based on my own calculations, done with a
    slide rule and abacus, the world is going
    to end in 11 years, three months and four days
    -- only complete fools would claim 12 years !

    Mr. Mass, what is your prediction
    for the end of the world ?

    The average temperature has changed so little since 1880,
    that it's hard to get interested in climate change,
    unless there's a prediction of coming climate catastrophe,
    like the one we've been hearing about since the 1960s,
    that never shows up !

  63. "As noted above, there is the potential for moving to effective, bi-partisan approaches (such as the carbon fee and divided) that could provide an example to the nation. We can do this."

    Except for your statement above, a very thoughtful analysis; exactly what I would expect from you. However, the larger issue extends beyond our nation, and unless nations like China, Russia, and India (a severely abbreviated list) are of a similar mind, then providing an example to the nation means very little.

  64. James Martin - You neglect to note 2 things:

    1) Numerous countries are indeed of not just a similar mind but also a better action, evident by over a decades worth of demonstrably effective carbon pricing, none of it adversely effecting national economies. Similar to universal healthcare, Americans do tend to have a obstinate blindness to this.

    2) Similarly in terms of blindness, nearly all other countries have a lower per capita carbon footprint than any American. By that standard they are already doing MORE THAN ANY AMERICAN. not merely aspiring to be of a similar mind, they already are acting.

    These are the simple facts that essentially destroys almost all argument about "China, India etc rising to the challenge first". China (incidentally, having recently implemented a carbon tax) is not a single entity anymore than any country is - it is people. It is a well known fact that if all the people consumed resources to the degree that the average American does, we would have been toast long ago.

    This is a problem of entitlement. Republicans know this..... but like so many things, this is what they will only dog whistle, not unambiguously state out loud.


Please make sure your comments are civil. Name calling and personal attacks are not appropriate.

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