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.
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!
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…)
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…)
Hello, 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 for a ballot initiative in 2018 is defined largely by voter turnout and sentiment towards taxes and climate.
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.
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…)
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 Times, Seattle Business Magazine, Seattle Weekly, Washington 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…)
Hello, CarbonWA friends: The Trump Administration is leaving the international Paris Climate Change agreement. CarbonWA board co-chair Mike Massa speaks for all of us with this message in response:
“Carbon Washington is shocked and saddened by President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord. His abdication of federal responsibility leaves a void of leadership which states and cities must fill. We call on the Washington State Legislature to enact a price on carbon pollution, along with other measures to accelerate the transition to a vibrant clean energy economy, during the current legislative session.
“This is a pivotal moment for our elected leaders to show the nation that bipartisan action to tackle urgent problems is still possible in America. And it is an opportunity to demonstrate to the children of Washington State, and the greater world, that their futures matter. Together, we owe them a livable climate and the opportunity for a healthy, prosperous life. Let’s get to work.”
Let’s also remember that the Paris agreement was never going to be enough on its own. A stable climate was neither won or lost in Paris, and it is neither won nor lost now. (more…)
Hello, CarbonWA friends: A new carbon tax bill has dropped in the legislature! Read on for our analysis, a report out from lobby day, and to meet our new board members. And read what the Seattle Weekly has to say about the prospects for a carbon tax (“Some say it’s just a matter of time”).
New carbon tax bill SB 5930
We’ve been saying for awhile now that the carbon tax discussions were still happening in Olympia, and the freshly dropped SB 5930 shows that the carbon tax is still on the table. We’ve been following the development of this bill closely for the last couple of weeks. The authors of the bill, led by Senator Guy Palumbo, have done an admirable job crafting a bill that is effective at reducing carbon while having a shot at getting some traction in the legislature. So, while you’ll see in our analysis that we think the bill could and should be strengthened, it’s a credible start at a centrist framework that could become a bipartisan compromise.
If you want to see us continuing to advocate for an effective carbon price this session, please consider making a donation towards our April 22nd $2200 goal to help us continue our work.
The House Democrats and Senate Republicans have both released their draft budget plan for the state. Neither chamber appears particularly impressed with the budget put forward by their counterparts but they seem agree that the other chamber isn’t doing a good job raising revenue for the state. The House seems to think the Senate budget is too lean and threatens to cut vital programs, while the Senate seems to think the House isn’t standing behind the tax increases that will be needed to fund the spending in their budget.
Let them know you want action on clean energy and climate change.