Do liberals actually care about climate change? Or is it just a weapon in the eternal political war everyone seems to find so interesting?
As a good liberal, I'd like to think it was the former, but most available evidence indicates that it is the latter.
Long-time readers will know how interested I was in Washington's Initiative 732 during the election, It was a revenue-neutral carbon tax that hoped to provide a pragmatic path to carbon reduction that would appeal to the right as well as the left. Predictably, it went down to defeat, through what can only be called an unholy alliance of social justice activists and the Koch brothers. I'm still surprised that it didn't get more notice. Donald Trump really has sucked all the oxygen out of the room.
Activists were concerned that the bill was just intended to reduce carbon emissions. If you really thought climate change was an existential threat of immense importance, that would seem to be a pretty good goal. But activists are politicians. They have constituencies, and need to be seen bringing home the vegan bacon. The bill's neutrality, to them, was definitely not a feature.
Now that Washington is completely Blue, there seems to be hope for a more pork-filled socially conscious carbon tax bill. One that dispenses with revenue neutrality, and focuses on visibly paying off certain key leftist constituencies, thus ensuring visible and useful resistance from the right.
A recent (not very well written or reported) article in Mother Jones, the only mention of the initiative since the election that I've found, brings us up to speed. People are talking a lot about it, but nothing seems imminent.
One group is
...looking at a policy that reduces greenhouse gas pollution, but also redirects investment into a suite of programs to promote clean energy, electrifying the transportation sector, clean water, and communities of color.
The fear of saying "we're doing the thing we think is most important first" is so universal that no progress can ever be made. And there are further problems on the horizon. No, not anything about carbon or climate (why do you keep nattering about that?) but
Native American tribes...feel the Alliance’s new framework does not go far enough and that their input wasn’t considered warned in September that they may offer a competing carbon tax ballot initiative.
People who keep talking about the "science" of global warming certainly need a lot of input from non-scientists. Those scientists and economists are just so cold and pragmatic. Always with the numbers. It's really all about the way you feel.
Now, to be clear, my frustrated rhetoric aside, Initiative 732 went down 60% to 40%. It was nowhere near close. I doubt any other bill will do better.
Still, it would have been one of those experiments the laboratories of the states are supposed to be able to perform. We would have seen its effects before we thought about rolling it out more widely.