News


100% for Climate Day

Hello, CarbonWA friends: Read on to learn about a little-known bipartisan climate approach, upcoming events, and our response to a Dud of a Seattle Times article! But first, a huge thanks to the roughly 200 people who attended the climate lobby day last week, the dozens more who called their legislators to support it remotely, and special thanks to Audubon Washington, Climate Solutions, and many other groups who helped to put on the event.

Biochar: climate legislation with 12 Republican and 12 Democratic sponsors

While most of our energy has been focused on carbon pricing, we’ve also been spearheading an effort to raise awareness around biochar and carbon sequestration. Board Member Greg Rock, who is leading our biochar effort, worked with Legislators Shea (R) and Fitzgibbon (D) to introduce HJ 4014, a joint memorial in support of biochar. If you’re a climate wonk — but don’t know much about biochar — don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Very few people know about biochar, despite its being an at least 2,000-year-old practice for increasing the health of agricultural soils, with the added benefit of creating long-term carbon sequestration. Check out our recent blog to learn more about biochar’s role in the fight against climate change and the bipartisan interest in biochar. You can also watch the recent work-session (video here and slides here) to learn more!

Upcoming climate action events!

February 1st and February 15th: CarbonWA and ACT NOW are hosting our legislative strategy calls. Want to get involved in the session or get the latest scoop on the prospects for climate action? Get the call in information by emailing megan@carbonwa.org

February 19th: On President’s day we are holding an ACT NOW lobby day to help us finish the session STRONG. Join us one more time in Olympia to demand action on climate and carbon pricing NOW. The 19th is also the Youth Climate Lobby Day, so you can attend both events! Please sign up here so we can begin setting up meetings, arranging carpools, and developing the program for the day!

March 8th: Session ends. It’s a short one — so be sure to keep up with our newsletters for the latest to stay in the loop!

A self-published Seattle Times letter to the editor

If you are a Seattle Times subscriber or a climate news junkie, you probably read the Times’ recent piece from editorial board member Brier Dudley “Look to B.C. for Evidence that Carbon Tax Doesn’t Work.” Dudley offers some fair critiques of the Governor’s spending priorities, but goes on to make a number of claims that don’t match up with basic economic and common sense (especially his claims “carbon taxes also don’t work,” “North America’s first tax . . . is failing to reduce emissions” and “a cynical take is that Washington’s carbon tax is like Trump’s border wall“). Here is the letter to the editor we submitted to the Times in response:

Brier Dudley’s imaginative take on carbon taxes makes for good reading, but if this were an Econ 101 paper, it’d receive an F for lousy analysis and cherry-picked data. He cites far left group “Food and Water Watch,” but the United Nations finds that emissions would be roughly 15% higher than they are today if not for the carbon tax in B.C. The Economist magazine called B.C.’s carbon tax “a winner.” National economists from Paul Krugman to Greg Mankiw and political leaders from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham to former President Obama, all support pricing carbon. It’s really quite simple: You can’t throw your garbage on the street for free, so big polluters shouldn’t be allowed to spew harmful emissions into our atmosphere for free.

Just as we no longer debate climate science deniers, we shouldn’t debate climate solution deniers either. Pricing carbon has been proven to cut pollution, spur clean energy, and reduce climate damage. Let’s have a discussion about how the revenue from a carbon tax can best be put to use. But, future generations are counting on us, and pieces like Mr. Dudley’s only seek to delay action and obscure facts. Enough!

Specifically, Dudley makes a handful of serious errors:

  • He cherry picks a figure from 2013-2015, but if you look at the lifetime (2008-now) of B.C.’s carbon tax, the results are better. Actually, 2015 is the *only* year that gas consumption increased, and it still grew far slower than the rest of Canada. How convenient! This is like saying it doesn’t rain in Washington because it didn’t rain yesterday.
  • Counterfactuals matter. What if BC had no carbon tax? The Univ. of British Columbia suggests that demand for gasoline would be 7% higher than it is today.
  • Sources matter. Food and Water Watch’s declaration that B.C.’s carbon tax is a failure is opposed by just about every reputable outlet you can find (like the World Bank, and Duke University and The Economist to start with).
  • Dudley calls for more regulations instead, which we might also support. But, remember the Times opposed I-732 (which would’ve addressed nearly all of Dudley’s spending concerns), and I-937 (a clean energy regulation!), and have not supported the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (another regulation!). Dudley and the Times Ed Board need to outline something specific they support if they want to maintain their credibility on this issue.

While the Times didn’t run our LTE, they did run a rebuttal letter from carbon tax supporter Deborah Stewart, “Carbon Tax: It’s Not 2016.”

Like what you’re reading? Help us continue to represent your views in Olympia and give you the straight scoop on what’s happening. Your donation will multiply our effectiveness.

Onward!

The CarbonWA Team