Vote on nation’s first carbon tax sets off environmental justice row

By Renee Lewis / Source Fusion.net

A carbon tax on the ballot this November could be Washington state’s last chance to reduce emissions before it’s too late, advocates say, but environmental and social justice groups say it doesn’t do enough to protect the most vulnerable families.

“We don’t have time to wait and we have a moral obligation to tackle climate change,” said Duncan Clauson, co-director of Carbon Washington, the group behind Initiative 732.

World leaders agreed in Paris last year that the temperature rise from global warming must be kept under 1.5 degrees Celsius. Scientists say any rise above that would have unpredictable consequences, including possible runaway warming.

To keep the temperature rise under 1.5 C, carbon emissions must be reduced within the next five years, according to a 2014 synthesis report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). After this year’s vote, the next opportunity to pass a measure like this in a general election would be 2020—four years from now—which could be too late, Clauson said.

Read more on Fusion

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