Also, I just looked up this ballot measure and it looks pretty solid. The fact that it failed proves my point. It's easy to see how a tax would negatively affect their livelihoods, so people oppose it. The costs of building new wind turbines and tax rebates for electric cars are obscured, so they're popular even though they have questionable efficacy.
I supported this and I (naively) think of myself as fairly well informed but for even someone more capable of reading the details it was unclear (there was going to be a state wide panel that would figure out the details)...
The earlier carbon tax plan was a lot easier to understand and support. Although it makes people lose their shit, I think we should add an income tax in conjunction with carbon taxes. The state needs more money to pay for infrastructure needs, rich overpaid programmers like me can afford more money to build roads and mass transit faster. Add taxes on carbon fuels and then rebate the costs with tax cuts to poorer people and perhaps it could be neutral for your average person.
The more fundamental issue is how the climate issue is framed in the US. The narrative is that we can drastically cut emissions without affecting the average family's livelihoods, but the greedy Republicans just won't let that happen. In reality, everyone needs to make a sacrifice, and we can do a better job of acknowledging these sacrifices. As coal becomes becomes less popular, thousands of people will lose their jobs. It's disrespectful to suggest that this isn't a problem because we can just retrain them to build windmills. I don't have a good solution either, but much more effective legislation would be passed if Democrats and Republicans worked together rather than spend time fighting.
I'm sure you'll point that Republicans are less willing to compromise than Democrats, but that's an entirely different can of worms.
Without public support I just have trouble seeing that happen. I don't think we disagree that much though.
> It's disrespectful to suggest that this isn't a problem because we can just retrain them to build windmills.
I certainly would agree that the people who lose jobs would mostly not be the same people who would be trained to take the new jobs that would be created. I remember reading Janesville and being pretty clearly convinced that skills training programs to people who lose their jobs are often counter-productive. That said, I do still think overall for the economy it'd be a positive.