On July 28, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced that he would instruct the Department of Ecology (DOE) to set caps on carbon emissions. This comes after his proposed cap and trade tax plan failed to gain traction in the Legislature.
While we applaud the governor’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions, we disagree with this newest top-down regulatory scheme. We are short on details, but what we do know signals that the governor would put limits on the amount of allowable carbon emissions. Employers who anticipate they will exceed those limits would be expected to trade credits amongst themselves or purchase credits.
One of the major concerns we have with this plan is the one-size-fits-all approach it would conceivably take. Some industries, such as paper production or food processing, are just more energy intensive than others, which we’ve addressed in a previous post. If they are to be held to the same standards across the board, it will quickly diminish their competitiveness especially in industries that are heavily dependent on trade.
Industry is leading the way. They aren’t hiding their heads in the sand, but instead suggesting that there’s a collaborative approach to reducing carbon emissions. In fact, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, carbon emissions from Washington-based industry decreased 21% from 1990 to 2011. Our state is on the right track. Only by working together can we accomplish our shared environmental goals.