Washington state lawmakers seek to approve nation’s first carbon fee

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Human-caused climate change is turning into a “medical emergency” that could result in death and disease for millions, according to British medical journal

Washington state lawmakers proposed a measure on Thursday to limit carbon pollution that would be the nation’s first if passed.

The carbon fee is part of a transportation funding package that marks Washington’s third major attempt to create such a policy since 2018. Similar state proposals have failed.

At least 10 other states have introduced carbon fee or tax proposals, however, as emissions of the greenhouse gas linked to global warming hit an all-time high last year, scientists found. Washington’s latest proposal also follows a federal report that showed the impacts of climate change are intensifying, including increased extreme weather, poor air quality and food shortages.

Charging $15 per ton of carbon, the fee would raise about $7.9 billion over the next 10 years. The $17.1 billion fee-and-bond package it’s part of also features a 6-cent-per-gallon fuel tax increase.

If it passes, said Senate Transportation committee chairman Steve Hobbs, Washington residents would most likely see the most expensive gas in the nation. The carbon fee would add 15 cents per gallon, an increase of 21 cents per gallon.

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