Back in April, Jay Inslee created his Climate Emissions Reduction Taskforce (CERT) which he charged with the job of making “recommendations on how best to unleash the immense power of the market in reducing carbon pollution.” Yesterday, after nearly seven months, members of CERT released their final report. Underwhelming would be an apt description of its contents, considering Inslee had promised the task force would “come to the answers that work for Washington.”
As SHIFT sifted through CERT’s 91-page final report, it didn’t take long to discover that Inslee’s handpicked group had not actually reached a consensus on a policy recommendation which would make sense for Washington State. Instead, they decided to take a commentary (rather than advisory) approach. By not actually making concrete recommendations for a future cap-and-tax or carbon tax program, CERT punted and left the next move for raising energy costs on all Washingtonians up to Inslee.
And, as the Seattle Times pointed out on the front page today, the state’s own budget writers stated that reaching Inslee’s defined carbon-reduction goal “would add an additional $1.47 to the cost of a gallon of gasoline in 2035, and cause a substantial price increase in natural gas.” So, if Inslee gets his way with what his advisers claim will be “a package of measures,” Washingtonians will pay much more to both heat their homes and drive their cars. A big part of that gas price increase will likely come from Inslee going around the Legislature to require a “fuel mandate,” which a year ago his own consultant predicted could raise gas prices by a dollar or more per gallon.