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leonard-cotte-paris

The election results from initiative 732 demonstrate that in Bellingham, Tacoma, Seattle and other Washington cities, support for climate action via carbon price is strong and politically viable. It prompts the question, why not start here? Launching carbon pricing as a patchwork within Washington State would both show the viability of the policy and create an incentive to level the playing field with a statewide policy. Washington cities, with Seattle in the lead, have also pledged themselves to serious carbon emission reductions by joining the Paris Agreement and other agreements, despite having made little progress towards the goals thus far.   (more…)

ACTNOWHello, CarbonWA friends:

Check out this recent Mother Jones article, “Will Washington Pass the Nation’s First Carbon Tax?” featuring CarbonWA and the upcoming legislative session. As we outlined in our legislative analysis, the path is tough this session, but not impossible. Stay tuned for more on 2018, but first, read on for an update on our fundraising match.

Thanks to the tremendous support of dozens of donors we’ve raised $4300 completing our match well before the end-of-the-month deadline! If you’ve already given to the match — thank you. By completing this match, we can fund our operation through the end of the year. However, to get a running start into next year our board has offered to match an additional $2,500 bringing the new fundraising goal to $6500! (more…)

Hello, CarbonWA friends: We hope you enjoyed the first part of our 2018 series, focusing on the prospects for legislative action. Read on for the initiative prospects for 2018! But first, check out these recent media hits from CarbonWA including “Washington groups push renewed carbon tax push” in Carbon Pulse, a letter to the editor from supporter Zach Stednick in the Seattle Times (“Washington can distinguish itself as the first state to implement a carbon tax”), and in the Washington State Wire (“A look ahead to a 2018 climate initiative“). We’ll kick off our initiative analysis with this quote from the Wire story:

“There are those of us who are looking at these multiple efforts and thinking ‘nothing is for sure yet’, so we need to make a plan to ensure something goes to voters that is politically viable and effective at reducing carbon.”

The Landscape 

The landscape for a ballot initiative in 2018 is defined largely by voter turnout and sentiment towards taxes and climate.

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Kyle Murphy - 1Despite the obstacles standing in the way of climate legislation, Kyle Murphy, Executive Director of Carbon Washington, says there will be a 2018 climate initiative.

According to a legislation prospect analysis from Carbon Washington, the landscape to pass climate legislation will be tougher this year than it was in 2017. The property tax increase last year will likely hamper the willingness of legislators to come back to the table with another potential tax increase, and trying to find a compromise on revenue continues to divide those who wish to see climate legislation pass.

“We find that for carbon pricing and big climate legislation, this legislative session is not impossible, but it’s hard,” says Murphy. “However, there will be a 2018 Climate Initiative. It’s unclear yet who will lead it and what the substance of the policy will be, but we intend to make it a reality.”

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Image result for olympia capitol

Hello, CarbonWA friends: Today’s message launches the first of a multi-part series looking ahead to the climate politics of 2018. We’ll be covering the political prospects for legislative action, initiatives, and more!

The Landscape

The last legislative session was a golden opportunity to pass a price on carbon: both parties knew they needed to raise revenue to fund education, our efforts over multiple years proved that there is at least some interest in carbon pricing from both parties, and the looming threat of another ballot initiative — from the Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, or CarbonWA — all increased the pressure to address climate. While we think there were enough votes to pass a climate package, that didn’t come to pass for reasons we outlined in July.

Looking ahead, the prospects this legislative session look even tougher for a few reasons:

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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…)

Hello, CarbonWA friends: The smoke has finally cleared over western Washington, but we are still in the dog days of summer. We thought this would be a good time to zoom out, look back, and look ahead.

Last August: 

In mid-August of 2016 we sent an email blast announcing news that we had received the endorsement of Republican State Senator Joe Fain (for I-732) and that we had just interviewed with the Seattle Times endorsement board. We were pretty excited at the time, because after being told we wouldn’t get a single Republican to support climate action, we had just snagged our 3rd legislative endorsement. While we proved that you can get some Republicans to the table on climate change, we haven’t been able to secure a breakthrough with the majority of the party, and it remains to be whether they are ready to lead on this issue. (more…)

Photo by Olu Eletu

Photo by Olu Eletu

Carbon Washington is mapping its future — and we invite you to consider coming along with us on the journey. We’re looking for a Treasurer to provide financial oversight and a Development Chair to assist with fundraising. Here are the descriptions of each position, along with info on how to apply:

If those roles don’t sound like you — but you’d still like to help — you can get involved by writing your legislator, subscribing to our newsletter, and donating to help us get ready for 2018. Thanks for your interest in helping us accelerate clean energy!

MEDIA STATEMENT (Contact: Samara Villasenor, samara@greatworkcommunications.com, 425.255.0890)

Climate change
Washington’s children have a constitutional right to both an adequate education and a livable climate. While lawmakers took steps to fully fund K-12 education, they failed — for the third year in a row — to seriously consider bills that would substantially reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

As in 2015, House and Senate leaders missed a golden opportunity to solve two problems at once, by putting a price on carbon pollution to both reduce emissions and help meet the state’s funding needs. Democrats neglected to walk their climate talk, failing to bring any of the four carbon tax bills put forward this session to a vote in the House. Meanwhile, some key Republicans continue to espouse the false notion that a carbon tax would hurt the state economy, despite clear evidence to the contrary from multiple studies and the experience implementing a carbon tax in British Columbia.

Our grassroots members worked tirelessly during the session to educate their representatives on the urgent need to protect our climate. We are grateful for their efforts and support. We also commend Sen. Hobbs, Sen. Palumbo, Rep. Fitzgibbon, and Gov. Inslee for proposing meaningful carbon pricing policies this year.

Given the Legislature’s unwillingness to act, it’s clear that taking meaningful steps to reduce carbon pollution will be up to the citizens of Washington. Carbon Washington’s next step will be to explore potential ballot initiatives that will reduce emissions and accelerate the transition to clean energy — in an effective, equitable, economically sound, and politically viable manner. We look forward to working with civic, environmental, business, and social justice leaders to get a winning measure on the 2018 ballot.

We can no longer ignore the threat that climate change poses to our state’s people, environment, and economy. All of us have a moral obligation to protect the children of today, and future generations, from the dangerous impacts of climate change. There is no more time for delay. We need to ACT NOW.

Pitcher - Keith Johnston

Hello, CarbonWA friends: The legislative session is winding down (hopefully). This message is to thank you for contributing to our effort, to reflect on what we’ve achieved, and to provide our candid take on Olympia.

Our legislative campaign made a difference

The legislative session is down to the wire, with an agreement needed by June 30th to avoid a shutdown. We did a heckuva job putting a carbon tax in play this legislative session without much in the way of well financed lobbyists or a huge team of staff. We’ve held two lobby days engaging hundreds of people around the state (around 400 but who’s counting!). We created and led the ACT NOW coalition of nearly 40 groups joining us in calling for a price on carbon now. We’ve placed or influence numerous media stories (for highlights check us out in the Seattle TimesSeattle Business MagazineSeattle WeeklyWashington State Wire, and the Everett Herald). We’ve held meetings ourselves with many legislators and we’ve influenced the 4 carbon tax bills in play. Together, we’ve made it abundantly clear that climate advocates AREN’T GOING AWAY.

We are deep into extra innings now. It is hard to know exactly what the key negotiators are talking about behind closed doors. Our intel suggests that a carbon tax has been presented to the negotiators and officially put on the table as an option.  (more…)