Urge California to adopt a carbon tax system

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Climate change is one of, if not the, greatest issue of our time.  Seas are rising.  Droughts are worsening.  People, cities, and nations are beginning to face the threat of displacement.  And many of the people threatened are not major contributors to the issue.  Those of us who care deeply about climate change and are from contributor nations, such as the United States (which, according to the EPA, contributed 16% of global carbon emissions in 2011), may feel like the problem is largely out of our control.  Especially in the United States, where fossil fuel use is so widespread and awareness so limited, it is critical that the government regulate carbon emissions.  

California is leading the United States in climate change action. SB 32 continues California’s AB 32 bill and commits the state to decreasing its carbon emissions to below 1990 levels by 2030.  California is also the only state to implement a cap-and-trade program, which has successfully reduced emissions by pollutant industries.  However, the cap-and-trade program faces criticism since the May 2016 permit auction raised less revenue than expected due to uncertainty about the future of the program.  And though the California legislature passed a resolution urging Congress to enact a national carbon-tax bill in August of 2016, in June, the House of Representatives passed a resolution, led by the GOP, condemning carbon taxes, claiming that such a policy “would be detrimental to American families and businesses,” despite research that suggests great social, economic, and health benefits (on study claims that 58% of the US population would benefit financially from it, another claims that a carbon tax policy would increase the GDP by 1.3 trillion USD).  However, many member of the GOP have expressed openness to a carbon tax system as its simplicity would allow for relatively free trade.

The cap-and-trade system that California currently relies on is, though noble, complex.  And though its goal is not to raise revenue, it has raised significantly less than expected.  Thus, the implementation of a carbon tax (in addition to the cap-and-trade system) would allow for three things: 1. reliable emission reduction on both individual and industrial scales due to economic disincentivization in the form of the tax, 2. revenue that could fund further climate action and social services for the middle and lower class, and 3. Californian leadership that would model effective, beneficial climate change policy and inspire other states to adopt similar policies.

Climate change is a serious issue; immediate action is critical.  A carbon tax is a simple, bipartisan solution that benefits everyone.  Sign our petition to ask California State Senator Fran Pavley, who sponsored AB 32 and has championed environmental issues in the past, to introduce carbon tax legislation.


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