September 2017

Join ACT NOW in advocating for a price on carbon. We need help from volunteers, organizers, and activists to shape a winnable policy for 2018.

We meet monthly via Zoom (join by phone or web). There are no membership fees or requirements, just an interest in building a coalition.

Topics:

How to engage the public by discussing extreme climate events
Thursday, November 2 | 5 – 6 p.m.

In light of tragic climatic events happening around the world, many people are asking questions about how we can help the survivors and prevent future harm. These questions are interrelated with questions about current politics and climate science. Join us as we talk about the impacts of witnessing these events and how you can engage in thoughtful discussion with the public.

How to push back on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt
Thursday, December 7 | 5 – 6 p.m.

Join us for a broad discussion on how the Trump administration is impacting the EPA, and what citizens are doing to ensure our regulatory agencies continue to protect environmental health.

What’s happening with climate change policy in other states?
Thursday, January 4 | 5 – 6 p.m.

Learn about and discuss how other states are tackling climate change — including Montana, Oregon and Colorado. Learn about cooperation among states, and how grassroots organizations are shifting the conversation from “Should we address climate change?” to “How should we address climate change?”

 

To join ACT NOW calls, install Zoom to your computer or phone.

Join via web: Go to https://zoom.us/j/2590508548.

Join via phone +16699006833 and enter meeting ID (259 050 8548).

Colstrip coal plant

Hello, CarbonWA friends: Soon, we’ll be sharing our policy goals for next year and updating you on developments with other environmental groups like the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, The Nature Conservancy, Washington Tribes, and the business community as we all work toward pricing carbon. In the meantime, read on for policy updates and climate news!

Puget Sound Energy Paying off Colstrip by 2027! 

Puget Sound Energy, in a settlement agreement has agreed to pay off its debts on Colstrip by 2027, significantly earlier than the original 2045 payoff date. This is a useful step towards shutting down Colstrip units 3 and 4 (Units 1 and 2 are already scheduled to shut down in 2022). This agreement doesn’t ensure that Colstrip will shut down in 2027, and UTC commissioners will still need to approve the deal, but it makes it much easier to achieve an earlier shutdown of Colstrip units 3 and 4 because PSE will not be under as much pressure to continue to run the plants to pay off existing debt after 2027. (more…)

A report prepared by Carbon Washington members and funded by the Carbon Tax Center says that loans tied to property (rather than individuals) would help propel clean energy and energy-efficiency measures — but Washington State’s constitution prohibits them.

The report is called “Washington State Climate Change Education and Policy Exploration.” The section on “Barriers to Property-Assessed Clean Energy Programs in Washington State” explains how property-assessed clean energy — or PACE — programs work.

Such programs provide “financing for clean energy and energy efficiency measures for commercial and residential buildings, in which the financing is attached to the property, not the owner. As of mid-2017, nineteen states have active PACE programs with funded projects, and another fourteen states, plus Washington D.C., have active PACE legislation.” PACE programs address a critical contributor to our carbon footprint — aging, inefficient buildings.

The report says the PACE approach has been effective. “Since 2009, commercial PACE programs have financed an estimated 1,030 projects, providing approximately $400 million in financing for energy updates. During the same period, residential PACE programs have financed over 150,000 projects through $3.7 billion in home upgrades.”

About half the upgrades deal with energy efficiency, such as HVAC systems, LED lighting, installing energy efficiency appliances, and water conservation upgrades. In second place: renewable energy upgrades (mainly solar panel installations). These upgrades dramatically reduce the energy and environmental impacts of the renovated buildings.

PACE has been discussed in Washington State, but a thorough public review of the opportunity for Washington to enact such a program has not been undertaken until now. Unfortunately, PACE financing is not available in Washington, nor is it likely to be without amending the state’s constitution. PACE attaches the loan bill to the property tax and uses the authority of the state as a financial entity to collect the loan payments. The constitution prohibits the state from acting as a creditor or a loan pass through in a provision commonly referred to as “lending of the state’s credit.”

The report’s authors consulted constitutional law experts about a potential work-around. The bottom line: “The only resolution for this structure of the program appears to be a constitutional amendment.”

The report was researched and written by Megan Conaway, Rheanna Johnston, Kyle Murphy and Blake Wedekind.