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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!

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Mike Massa 1

Hello, CarbonWA friends: Washington may be one small step closer to passing a price on carbon! The Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee held a hearing Tuesday on Gov. Inslee’s proposed carbon tax bill. More than 30 individuals and organizations spoke in favor — and nearly 70 more signed in as supporters.

Carbon Washington co-chair Mike Massa joined Gail Gatton from Audubon Washington and a representative from the League of Women Voters to testify in favor of the bill. All three organizations are members of Advocates for a Carbon Tax Now (ACT NOW).

“We believe that pricing carbon pollution is a necessary step for reaching our state’s emission reduction goals,” Mike told the senators. “SB 6203 is a constructive proposal that gets many of the big policy pieces right. (more…)

CO2 smokestack

Hello, CarbonWA friends:

Read on for the latest news of carbon tax news as the legislative session begins! But first, we are concerned about what appears to be a coordinated effort to lower expectations going into the session. After 10 years of inaction on climate, key legislators are now saying 60 days isn’t enough time to get climate done (see here, here, and here). This reminds us of the kind of thing you might tell your teacher in elementary school: “I haven’t made much progress on my homework assignment (for over 10 years!), and because the due date is coming up so soon, I should be given extra time.” But we remember when the legislature passed the 2014 Boeing tax cuts in 4 days, so we aren’t buying the not-enough-time story. We know this session will be a big lift, but the legislature’s assignment to protect the climate and future generations is already overdue.

Please join us in raising expectations that the legislature will pass a climate policy, because they have the time, skill, and mandate to do so. You can write a letter to the editor of your local paper, contact your legislators on social media, or write them directly to tell them you expect action. (more…)

Happy New Year 2018

Hello, CarbonWA friends: Happy new year! A number of you were unable to read our previous newsletter due to a technical glitch, so to catch you up: We published a blog analyzing whether a city could pursue a carbon price to reach its climate goals, and we announced that we exceeded our match (!!!) from November, raising over $8,000 against our original goal of $4,000. Read on for a summary of our work in 2017 in what was a year of transition and advocacy for CarbonWA, along with an update on upcoming events for the legislative session.

2018 Legislative Session Sign Up! 

As the legislative session kicks off, review our analysis of the upcoming legislative session’s prospects, check out the recent support for carbon pricing from Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz, see this piece in the Olympian from Representative Drew MacEwen opposing a carbon tax (where he holds up the Scandinavian nations as models, but fails to mention that they all rely on carbon-pricing systems…whoops!), then see the recent announcement from The Nature Conservancy, Quinault Tribe and the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy that they’ve agreed to work together on a potential initiative. Be sure to stay tuned for more on potential initiatives and an analysis of the governor’s forthcoming carbon pricing proposal(more…)

Gov. Jay Inslee 2San Francisco, 18 December (Argus) — Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D) will try to take advantage of a new Democratic majority in the Legislature to pass a carbon pricing bill next year.

Inslee on 14 December proposed using a price on carbon to support the state’s primary and secondary education system and end a long-running fight with lawmakers over how best to comply with a 2012 court ruling that said the state had not adequately funded its schools.

“This is the best way that I believe is both fiscally responsible, fulfills our educational mandate to our kids, and simultaneously gives our kids a Washington state that is not ravaged by climate change,” Inslee said. “We need to act.” . . .

Advocates for a carbon price in Washington say that the momentum is on their side.

“We think it is a question of when, not if, the state will adopt a carbon pricing program,” said Kyle Murphy, executive director of Carbon Washington, which sponsored an unsuccessful carbon tax ballot initiative in 2016.

Murphy framed Inslee’s proposal as an opening bid and said he expects lawmakers to submit different versions of carbon pricing bills next year.

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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…)