This article discusses the problems politicians are having with implementing climate change policies.
In the second time in as many years a carbon tax had failed to pass muster in the Washington State. In 2016, a ballot initiative known as I-732 — another carbon tax — lost by nearly 20 points in November 2016, as climate activists themselves rallied against it. Days after the Washington vote last week, a similar policy to Carlyle’s measure faltered in Oregon.
States like Washington offer a preview for what climate politics might look like after Trump is out of office. According to the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, residents there discuss climate change more than in almost any other state in the union and overwhelmingly support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant. There’s political space to parse out what kind of policy should be enacted to deal with climate change rather than whether such policies are worth discussing in the first place. As the climate debates in some blue states are also helping show, policy conversations tend to become much harder once there are actual policies on the table. That’s especially true when it comes to climate change, a policy field lacking in both living examples to draw from and intellectual infrastructure.