This election, voters in Washington state will make a historic decision that could change the future of this country.
Initiative 732 is a proposal to put in place the first state-wide carbon tax in the United States. By adding roughly 15 cents to every gallon of pumped gas and $8 to the average monthly residential electric bill in 2017, the measure would curb CO2 emissions and boost renewable energy around the state. Other benefits include a 1 percent cut on sales tax, a hike in the low-income-family tax rebate, and erasure of a manufacturing tax.
But the biggest benefit of all is that it gives voters the chance to take a stand against climate change, Audubon President David Yarnold writes in a new Huffington Post op-ed. Here’s how he thinks that can happen:
“Passage of this measure would make Washington a national and global leader in bringing people together to make a real and lasting change to combat global warming.
Washington state’s carbon initiative is the best jumpstart we’ve seen in a long time. It’s a simple plan. It would speed up the shift to clean energy such as solar, wind, and hydropower by increasing the price on the fossil fuels that drive up temperatures, threaten our birds, and pollute our air, water, and forest.”
Birds are among the many victims of climate change, as shown by the Audubon Birds and Climate Change Report released in 2014. Younger generations are another innocent, at-risk party. “This is about our moral responsibility to our children and future generations to protect them from the adverse affects of climate change," Audubon Washington’s Executive Director Gail Gatton wrote in a Seattle Times piece. "We are already behind in this fight.”
Yarnold expresses the same urgency around the tax: “Our kids—and our birds—can’t wait another year, or two, or four for us to act.”
To learn more about Initiative 732, see the government’s official impact statement and go to Audubon Washington’s website. State residents can vote by mailing back their ballots or depositing them at drop boxes at polling stations by November 8. Go here to request a ballot if you haven’t received one.