How do people on the environmental left respond to a challenge that emission reductions targets demanded by cap-and-tax schemes are not politically enforceable? If they are members of Jay Inslee’s carbon taskforce, they might just recommend a “cap-and-jail” scheme instead.
Earlier this week, K.C. Golden—Senior Policy Advisor at Climate Solutions, member of Inslee’s carbon taskforce, and new board chair of 350.org (a global warming advocacy group)—attended a forum at the University of Washington where he was forced to face a rather inconvenient fact. Cap-and-tax systems—whether in Europe under the Kyoto Protocol and in the Northeastern United States with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative—“routinely fail to meet their targets” and/or fail to “reduce carbon emissions, doing little to help the planet.”
You see, Golden—much like our green governor—“argues Washington needs a cap on carbon emissions to provide certainty.” But, as the Washington Policy Center’s Todd Myers writes, the cap is a “false security and politicians have consistently found ways around the targets when the politics became difficult.”
When Myers pointed out this reality at the forum, Golden snapped back, “How about cap-and-jail?” Of course, Golden’s response should come as no surprise—because whether in jest or not, it is typical of people on the environmental left. Myers writes,
“Rather than fix the flaws in their policies, they simply increase the force they impose on people who disagree. If the policy isn’t working, rather than address the problems, they just apply more force. Then they wonder why there is no bipartisan support for their policies.”