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Hello, CarbonWA friends:  In case you missed it, we released the essential climate change voters’ guide for Washington State! It identifies a number of key races that we need to win for climate action at the state level. Vote, donate, and volunteer because the climate is on the line this election. Don’t believe us? Take a look at the just released IPCC report which projects greater impact and cost of climate change than earlier reports and urges nations to seriously reduce emissions over the next decade.

The Pragmatic Case for 1631

If you’ve been following the Initiative 1631 debate, you’ve probably seen that we endorsed the initiative, but also that some of CarbonWA’s friends and allies are landing on both sides of this one. We’ll level with you: I-1631 isn’t perfect. We liked some of the previous carbon pricing iterations better. But if you are on the fence please read our pragmatic case for why we want you to vote yes: (more…)

A newly released study exploring the impacts of initiative 1631 by the NERA economic consulting group, funded by the No on 1631 coalition, should not be used by lawmakers or voters when evaluating Initiative 1631. Below, a handful of essential issues with the study are explored. Additional technical flaws exist as well, but are not addressed in this analysis.

Betting Against Renewable Energy

A significant unknown facing climate policy advocates and detractors alike is that rate at which cleaner, greener technologies will become affordable and reliable enough for widespread use. Most models address this by modeling multiple scenarios that try to capture this uncertainty.

The NERA study is underpinned by a significantly conservative forecast of future clean energy prices and deployment, produced by the EIA. The EIA is, in general, regarded as a respectable and transparent outlet for energy-related data. However, their future forecasts have come under severe scrutiny as most of their renewable forecasts in recent years have failed to track with actual reality. As one peer reviewed examination of the EIA forecasts put it, “most of EIA’s projections for renewables sharply under-projected generation or capacity.” You can dig into this more here, but a sharply conservative forecast for future renewables growth will skew every result that follows it, and the failure of the NERA study to also present an ‘optimistic’ case, leads to an imbalanced result. Which leads us to our second concern: (more…)

From The Guardian: “The world’s leading climate scientists have warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5 degrees C [2.7 degrees F], beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

“The authors of the landmark report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on Monday say urgent and unprecedented changes are needed to reach the target, which they say is affordable and feasible although it lies at the most ambitious end of the Paris agreement pledge to keep temperatures between 1.5C and 2C.

“‘It’s a line in the sand and what it says to our species is that this is the moment and we must act now,’ said Debra Roberts, a co-chair of the working group on impacts. ‘This is the largest clarion bell from the science community and I hope it mobilises people and dents the mood of complacency.’”

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Hello, CarbonWA friends: Election season is upon us and we’ve released our first-ever climate voters’ guide! Read on for our top choices for state legislature, plus a climate initiative is on the ballot!

2018 CLIMATE VOTERS’ GUIDE


Initiative 1631

CarbonWA supports Initiative 1631. Read more in a detailed analysis we produced earlier this year and consider checking out the campaign’s website. If you wish to get more involved, now is the time. The campaign is asking volunteers to to sign up to phonebank and to sign up for Votercircle, a secure system that allows you to email your contacts encouraging them to vote.

Top Races for State House of Representatives

A quick note about our choices for House: The candidates highlighted below are smart climate champions, but they also represent the most competitive races where the chamber’s ability to move climate legislation hangs in the balance. Some great legislative leaders, like Joe Fitzgibbon, are safe bets to win re-election so we didn’t highlight them up front. Our full endorsements list (below) includes all of our House endorsements. (more…)

Hello, CarbonWA friends: Thanks to everyone who chipped in from our last e-newsletter to raise over $1,000 for Dr. Sharon Shewmake, the environmental economist running for state House in the 42nd! And, the movement for a price on carbon continues to spread beyond humble beginnings in Washington State. Read on for exciting progress. Plus, CarbonWA is preparing to endorse bipartisan climate advocates for state legislature.

Electing a Climate Majority + Blog on Kids Lawsuit

We discuss the recent dismissal of the Youth climate lawsuit in Washington State on our blog, and what it means for climate advocates. The summary is that it’s essential to elect a climate majority in the state legislature as the state court system closes off executive and legal avenues to climate action, and that we’ve got to do more than just elect candidates who talk a good game but can’t back it up. So, we’ve created a candidate questionnaire (check out the questionnaire our website) to evaluate candidates state legislature for endorsement and our support. (more…)

The Youth Climate Trial that has meandered through Washington’s court system has stalled for the moment.

The case, pursued by eight young petitioners and supported by attorneys from the Western Environmental Law Center and Our Children’s Trust, asserts that the state is failing to protect young people from climate change impacts, and that young people have a right to a stable climate under the Washington State Constitution and the Public Trust Doctrine. King County Superior Court Judge Michael Scott has dismissed the case as of August 14. However, the plaintiff’s plan to appeal, so we don’t expect this to be the last word on the case. Read more about the legal background and the trajectory of the case: https://www.ourchildrenstrust.org/washington  

Despite the failure to compel state action, the case holds a number of lessons for climate advocates as we advance policies to reduce carbon emissions.  (more…)

Hello, CarbonWA friends: The I-1631 effort is about to turn in their signatures (so turn ’em in if you got ’em!), a CarbonWA supporter is running for the state legislature, and debate is heating up over whether a national bipartisan revenue-neutral carbon fee effort is going to work or not. Read on for more!

Climate Action is Heading Back to the Ballot! 

The Yes on 1631 initiative effort is closing in on the signature deadline and they are asking folks to turn in their signatures to the Seattle office by June 30 or on July 2 at the Olympia turn-in event (more details on Facebook). Rumor has it the initiative is going to qualify, thanks in part to a strong volunteer effort, and we are assuming it’s going to move forward to the ballot in the fall. CarbonWA is supporting 1631. You can explore our full take on the strengths and weaknesses of the approach in our analysis of 1631.

A Race for State Legislature to Watch!

One of the primary reasons our effort to put a price on carbon fell short last legislative session was the lack of climate-focused lawmakers in both parties. That’s why we are so excited that Sharon Shewmake, a CarbonWA supporter from Bellingham, was so inspired by our grassroots efforts to act on climate that she’s running for state legislature to help make it happen.  (more…)

Hello, CarbonWA friends: The movement for a price on carbon in Washington State has put a few points on the board! Read on to learn more, and, don’t forget that I-1631 is gathering signatures right now — so if you want to get involved, go directly to the campaign website and review our analysis to learn more about the policy.

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New UTC Rules Require Utilities to Include Price on Carbon 

In Washington State, our private utilities (Puget Sound Energy, Avista, and PacificCorp) are regulated by a body called the Utilities and Transportation Commission or UTC. Two former UTC commissioners actually sit on the CarbonWA board. The UTC’s job is to ensure private utilities follow the law and don’t take advantage of consumers, among other things. Utilities must have their rate increases and many other financial decisions impacting consumers approved by the UTC. And utilities are required to undertake a long term planning process that is overseen by the UTC (known as the Integrated Resource Plans or IRPs). The UTC has just determined that future IRP’s MUST include a price on carbon (of $40 per ton) as part of their economic analysis. This decision isn’t legally prohibiting the utilities from building fossil fuel plants in the future. But, the UTC is clearly telling utilities: if you build a fossil fuel plant that isn’t profitable with a price on carbon, we won’t consider that a prudent investment for which consumers should be on the hook.

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Hello, CarbonWA friends: May the 4th be with you! We hope you channel the energy from Star Wars (or your favorite movie) to help make climate action happen!

Making change beyond Earth Day 

Another Earth Day has come and gone with many familiar pledges and suggestions circulating to hike more, get a reusable shopping bag, or start recycling. That’s all well and good, but, with climate change growing ever more urgent, we wanted to share some ideas for how you might seriously step up your climate-action game. We often think about climate and environmental actions as fitting into two categories: “me” actions and “we” actions. A “me” action is personal action you can take (like giving up beef or changing how you commute), without the help of others, that can help to reduce your personal impact. “Me” actions are important because they help you to live your values, and because they can encourage others in your personal network to follow suit. But no amount of bicycling and light bulb changing will stop global warming if we don’t also take “we” actions. “We” actions are political actions you can take, with the help of others, to get our entire economy shifted to be more sustainable and earth-friendly. A strong climate pledge would be to take one bold “me” action and one bold “we” action this year. (more…)

Hello, CarbonWA friends:

We Support I-1631! 

After another round of legislative inaction, a ballot initiative is moving forward to put a price on carbon. We’ve taken a close look at the policy, collected feedback from our supporters, and held a robust internal discussion about the initiative. As a result, we are moving forward in support of I-1631. You can see our full statement below. But, before you make up your own mind, we’d encourage you to review our recent in-depth analysis of the initiative (including a comparison matrix, exploration of wonky details, and a carbon reduction ranking).

While the 1631 policy differs in some ways from the approaches we’ve seen in recent years, we also see it as an outgrowth of the grassroots energy that put the first carbon tax in the nation on the ballot and has since led to a surge of serious legislative proposals. I-1631 also has the extra boost of a very favorable ballot title ruling from the Attorney General’s office (something the I-732 effort struggled with), and a recent upholding of the title against legal challenges from the Association of Washington Business and a conservative activist (who we don’t know much about except that his website logo is of sasquatch toppling the Olympia capitol). Read on for the reasoning behind our support of I-1631. (more…)