Washington lawmakers have tried and failed in recent years to make polluters pay for their carbon emissions to fight climate change. Now, voters will get to decide.
An initiative on the November ballot asks voters whether the state should impose the nation's first direct carbon tax on the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and gasoline.
Sponsors say residents have a moral responsibility to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and a carbon tax is the best way to do it. The tax encourages businesses to conserve or switch to clean energy by making fossil fuels more expensive, and it makes the tax system fairer by using the revenues to reduce other taxes, they say.
Businesses say the tax will drive up fuel and energy costs and put Washington companies at a competitive disadvantage.
And in a move that has bewildered some, major environmental and other groups _ including those that backed Gov. Jay Inslee's proposal last year to cap emissions and make carbon polluters pay _ oppose the initiative. They say it takes the wrong approach.
Yoram Bauman, an economist who founded Carbon Washington, the grassroots group that gathered more than 350,000 signatures to qualify Initiative 732, defended it as great climate and tax policy.
"It does almost everything right for Washington," he said.
但塞拉俱樂部、華盛頓州環境委員會與倡導組織「Front and Centered」均稱這項提案的碳定價方法錯誤，將傷害該州稅收。批評者說，印斯理州長提議的汙染費，會籌資投入教育、運輸、清潔能源並幫助受氣候變遷影響的弱勢群體，732號提案則未提供這類投資。
But the Sierra Club, Washington Environmental Council and the advocacy group Front and Centered say the initiative is the wrong carbon-pricing approach and will hurt the state's revenues. Whereas Inslee's pollution fee would have raised money for education, transportation,clean energy and programs to help disadvantaged communities affected by climate change, Initiative 732 provides no such investments, critics say.
文中一組織名為「Front and Centered，」名稱取自片語front and center，指「最重要的」意思，原指劇院中前排中間的座位，後衍生出「最重要的、最主要的」意思。例句：Economic growth was front and center on the presidential candidates campaign agenda.（經濟成長是該名總統候選人競選中最重要的政見。）