Demonstrating Support for Legislative Action – Lobby Day April 20, 2017
ACT NOW will host a carbon tax lobby day in Olympia on April 20th to urge lawmakers to recognize urgency of climate change and the growing bipartisan desire for climate action. “There are three carbon pricing bills in front of the legislature that have the potential to resolve key funding challenges — while putting the state on a path toward cleaner energy and a better future for our children and grandchildren,” says Carbon Washington’s Kyle Murphy. “To let another legislative session go by without addressing the threat of climate change would be a lost opportunity.”
Please join us in Olympia to lend your voice to this important effort. Click here to learn more and register for the event.
HB 1646 Testimony to the House Environment Committee
Submitted by Mike Massa, Co-Chair of Carbon Washington
March 14, 2017
Thank you to Chair Fitzgibbon, and the members of the committee, for this opportunity to provide testimony regarding HB 1646.
I am speaking on behalf of Carbon Washington, a statewide, nonpartisan, grassroots organization focused on accelerating the transition to a vibrant clean-energy economy. We advocate for policies to reduce carbon pollution in ways that are effective, fair, economically sound, and politically feasible. Carbon Washington was the chief sponsor of Initiative 732, a revenue-neutral carbon tax measure that went before state voters in November 2016.
First, we want to recognize and thank the organizations and individuals who have put in tremendous work over many years to develop HB 1646.
We applaud the sponsors for designing a carbon tax mechanism combining broad coverage with a steadily rising price that is tied to the state’s emission goals. Economists across the political spectrum agree that such a policy is the most effective and least cost way to reduce carbon pollution. We believe this should be Washington’s primary clean energy transition strategy.
We also strongly support the inclusion of a cash rebate for low-income households to offset the impact of the carbon tax. We would even support expanding the size of that program to avoid raising costs for state residents who are already burdened by a regressive tax structure.
The inclusion of investments in forest management and water resources, if appropriately administered, will help mitigate the impacts of climate change in Washington, such as wildfires, drought, and floods.
Despite those positive features, Carbon Washington cannot fully support HB 1646 without some improvements.
While we support the goals of the clean energy programs, a spending package of this size deserves additional scrutiny at a time when the state is facing major funding needs in education and mental health, and when many communities are still struggling to recover from the Great Recession. This portion of HB 1646 lacks sufficient accountability and oversight to ensure that taxpayers’ funds are spent both effectively and efficiently with broad benefits. We would like to see stronger accountability measures in these programs as well as a re-evaluation of the spending priorities to include other pressing state needs, like education, or broad tax relief for lower and middle income households. We would also welcome the incorporation of policy priorities from conservative and business leaders to make sure our climate policies work for everyone in the state.
Thank you again to the Chair and committee members for your consideration, and to the backers of HB 1646 for putting forward a concrete plan with many good elements. Carbon Washington looks forward to working with you on bipartisan clean-energy policies that enable all people of our state to prosper.
Carbon tax friends, be proud of what we’ve accomplished
Together, we accomplished something historic by putting the nation’s first statewide carbon tax before the voters. We showed that there is a strong desire for common-sense climate action in Washington State, and we influenced the national conversation on climate policy. We ran an honest, transparent, and positive campaign focused on addressing the climate and equity problems facing our society. We did all of that thanks to you.
The votes are still being counted, but we’re on track to get well over 1 million votes in support of a policy that would have created one of the strongest carbon prices in the world and been the biggest improvement in the fairness of our state’s tax system in 40 years. We led the biggest voter education effort on climate change ever in the state. We knocked on over 100,000 doors, made over 1 million phone calls, and published more than 140 letters to the editor in every type of media outlet. Our campaign raised more than $1.5 million from thousands of donors with a median donation of $50.
We formed a terrific partnership with Audubon Washington and with grassroots organizations across the state, especially chapters of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (both in Washington State and as far away as Hawaii!); regional climate action groups like Climate Action Bainbridge, Cascadia Climate Action, Olympic Climate Action, Oregon Climate (now Our Climate), and Divest UW; faith organizations including theClimate Action Ministry at Eastshore Unitarian, Interfaith Works, and Washington UU Voices; clean energy groups like Seattle Electric Vehicles, Seattle Transit Blog, and Solar Installers of Washington; and many others, including Conservation Hawks, the American Sustainable Business Council, AIA Seattle, and the American Planning Association’s Washington Chapter.
During the last legislative session, our proposal brought all of the major stakeholders to the table for the first time. We later gained endorsements not just from Democrats but also from prominent Republicans like Rob McKenna, Slade Gorton, Mark Miloscia, Steve Litzow, and Joe Fain—and even when we didn’t get endorsements we managed to neutralize much of the opposition from businesses and conservatives.
And we made a huge splash in the national and international media, generating over 200 articles about the campaign including in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, and appearances on the PBS NewsHour (twice!), HBO Vice News Tonight (new here!), and on the Years of Living Dangerously series (episode coming soon!).
We have more work to do
We must continue the fight against climate change. Global carbon concentrations continue to increase, global average temperatures continue to rise, and with Trump in the White House it will be even more important to pursue climate policies at the state and local level that can reduce emissions and show the way forward for the nation and for the world.
What comes next
With your help, Carbon Washington will continue to support effective, equitable, economically sound, and politically viable solutions to carbon reduction. We are determining what form the organization will take going forward and the policy actions we will pursue in the new political environment. We are open to working with any and all individuals or groups who share our goals.
We are thinking through our next steps, and we want to hear your thoughts on the election and where this movement that you helped build should go next. We are organizing a debriefing event along with a statewide conference call. More details will be provided in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we want to hear your feedback and thoughts. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also be interested in meeting with your state legislators during House Committee Days December 1-2 to convey your concerns about climate change. Executive Committee member Greg Rock will be there, so you can email him at email@example.com to discuss this more.
It is grassroots supporters like you who made this groundbreaking effort possible. You are the energy that powers Carbon Washington.
Thank you for your dedication to the campaign and your hard work over the past years! Our work is just beginning…
From the whole Carbon Washington team
Here are emailed comments about I-732, mostly in reverse chronological order (newest comments on top, we’ll add more as they come in). Comments have been anonymized when possible.
I wanted to share a small step that I’ve already taken, post-election, which was to become a member of Audubon Washington as a way to recognize and thank them for being such a strong supporter of I-732. I’m not sure what I will do about my relations with the many environmental groups who opposed I-732. I mention this to you since I suspect I’m not the only one who has to figure out how to relate to a now somewhat divided environmental community. I will support good proposals that address climate change, but I wonder if the Alliance will come through with something….
Thank you for your incredibly hard work!
This commenter gets it exactly right: http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2016/10/10/initiative-732/57167#li-comment-870703
“The opposition of I-732 really like to claim how “regressive” I-732 would be and how it would impact poor people; however, nobody adequately holds the opposition’s ideas to the same standards as I-732 because they don’t actually have a written legal language policy. The point of a price on carbon is to make the consumption of fossil fuels more expensive, so it is very likely that gas prices would increase as they usually do with carbon pricing mechanisms. Energy cost increases are inherently regressive, and yes, gas prices will disproportionately hurt poor people and poor people of color, but what does the opposition offer in exchange to make their imaginary initiative NOT regressive? To be clear, the opposition is not against a carbon tax they are against using the revenue for reducing the highly regressive sales tax and want to use it on other projects. If you spend the revenue from the carbon tax on certain targeted communities of color, clean energy, and transportation you benefit a small subsection of the population and leave the vast majority of low-income communities of color WORSE OFF in the state with the most regressive tax system. If anything, their initiative would be MORE regressive! The sales tax reduction is a great safety net for undocumented workers and low/middle-income families across the entire state, and the Working Families Tax Rebate is a great boost to nearly half-a-million families in poverty. I’d say that I-732 is a great big step in the right direction.”
I just want to thank you all for your efforts and let you know that my daughter and I voted yes on I-732.
I’m surprised by the opposition it came up against from polluters and people who (say they) care about the environment alike. The Alliance has released their plan, which proposes a $15 tax that only goes up if emissions go up. Isn’t that a smaller tax than 732 would have imposed?
There’s one claim that some FB commenters made on your site about 732 which could be damaging to future carbon tax proposals, and that is the claim that it gives a break to animal agriculture industries. If that’s true, then it could be an achilles heel. Best to get breaks to polluting industries, especially big ag, out of any future proposals, or the argument will be hard to win.
I haven’t been a member of the Sierra Club for years, but I wrote them, Governor Inslee and 350.org to tell them I strongly disagreed with their opposition to I-732. I don’t know if their preferred proposal will be better or if it has any chance of passing, but I think it’s irresponsible of them to delay action.
Thanks for fighting for the climate! Let me know if I can help in the future.
Just happened to go to a UW lecture by Nives Dolsak an energy researcher at the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs yesterday on Breaking the Adaptation Taboo: How Information on the Costs of Adapting to Climate Change Influences Support for Mitigation, where I-732 came up as an example of putting a price on climate change. The professor said that the design of I-732 (i.e. revenue neutral) could have been based on their research which showed that people do respond positively when they know the price of climate impacts. Very interesting research on how to take into account human psychology when trying to influence behavior. You and CarbonWA staff may already know of her research but it may be useful reference for future carbon pricing efforts.
Thanks for the opportunity to participate in last week’s debrief call. I appreciate your thoughtfulness in exploring next steps. Here are a couple of things I wanted to share:
1. As I mentioned on the call, I had an opportunity to hear folks from WEC, Climate Solutions, and Green for All talk about 732. I, like others, came away with a clear sense that the animosity runs deep, the narrative has hardened, and the space for reconciliation with some people and groups is very small. I agree that 732 advocates “earned a seat at the table,” but I don’t think that seat is going to be freely offered any time soon.
2. A respected “neutral” case study of the campaign and the policy could be very helpful. Otherwise the story going forward will be controlled by those who opposed 732. I am not sure who could write such a case study and command respect, but maybe there is someone at the UW Evans School of Public Affairs with the interest to do so. I think it could be of real value.
3. You will need intermediaries to explore reconciliation — or to engage communities of color and environmental justice organizations around new ideas. [One recommendation…]
4. I hope as the Alliance proposal emerges into policy discussions in 2017, CarbonWA will be a strong voice for the need for an aggressive tax or fee rate to make the Alliance’s cap-and-invest model work. People need to appreciate that these ideas can and should work together, and that carbon pricing is an indispensable element.
Good luck to all, and thanks for your determination to carry on!
In an election cycle full of unfathomable outcomes, I find the Alliance’s active efforts to sabotage our initiative to be disappointing and unconscionable. I believe the rift between the two camps to be wider and deeper than I knew. It is going to take a long time for the wounds to heal. And time is what we don’t have. The enemy is not CARBONWA nor the Alliance, it is unrestricted fossil fuel use. We can’t lose sight of the goal. I don’t believe we are going to change their philosophical approach about how to tackle climate change any more than they are going to change our approach. We will be widening the rift if we try to push them to incorporate any of our concepts into their proposal.
What we must do is encourage them to take action. The problem is so big that it will take more than one solution. There is no silver bullet. If they want to pursue a “unite the left” strategy, fine. Go ahead. We wish you the best of luck. Just do it. It should be a guiding principle of CARBONWA that we believe addressing climate change is a fundamental priority, as such we will support every carbon tax proposal that comes before the voters. Whether it is ours, theirs, or somebody else’s doesn’t matter. Get it before the voters and we will encourage our supporters to approve it. What matters is climate action. A prolonged, intramural fight between competing progressive voices only supports the status quo. Perhaps a frank discussion about the timing of their planned activities could take place. “We, CARBONWA, are prepared to take another crack at it, but we don’t want to compete with your efforts, Can you share with us your timeline for action? If you don’t plan to be ready for four years, we’ll gear back up for 2018. If 2018 is your goal, we’ll be prepared for 2020, in case you aren’t successful. Results is all that matters.”
What changes/tweaks/fixes can we make to the 732 proposal that makes it better legislation? What did we hear on the campaign trail that we wish we could have fixed. Be less generous to Boeing, provide more help to aluminum smelters. How can we adjust the tax mechanism to always ensure that the process is ever so slightly always revenue positive? The Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council updates its State Budget Outlook three times per year. Perhaps the Council can advise the Washington department of revenue on how best to adjust the carbon tax rate within a codified window to make sure the revenue doesn’t go negative to the general fund budget of the state. The energy companies that are going to be paying the carbon tax were already going to have to deal with a tax that was adjusted yearly. So they were going to have to deal with tax calculation flexibility. The grid is managed to a fraction of a second, otherwise blackouts occur. They can handle a floating carbon price that changes several times a year. Incorporating this will remove the ‘threat’ of negative budget impacts as a reason to oppose the tax.
We should have a legislative supporter submit a revised and improved version of 732 language as draft legislation to the state legislature for their consideration every year until a carbon tax is adopted by the state. We should do this even during years when the Alliance submits their proposal to the legislature. Our proposed RCW will likely look better to them than the Alliance proposal for new taxes.
In any year when the Alliance goes to the Initiative process, we support their effort. If they fail, we cue ourselves up to go the next election cycle until one of us is successful.
It was a pleasure to work on this and disappointed that it didn’t pass. So what’s next for Carbon WA?
Good job on 732. The surreal election year messed up a lot of good ideas n people.
Appreciated the post-election briefing last night. The major agenda item is (4) in my opinion: Where from here? Looking at election patterns is valuable but not worthy of excessive analysis because the last election may not apply to the next one – things change. Your Executive Committee, of course, has the perspective to make the best decisions here, and I would not second-guess them. Several of my thoughts are below.
1. In spite of the outcome, I-732 made a strong statement that grassroots efforts can work, that climate change action is desired by a majority of folks, and that even efforts unsuccessful at the ballot can have impact. The I-732 model from which others can craft their own efforts is unmistakable. Folks nationwide and beyond will remember the NYT, WSJ, USATODAY, Economist, and other similar articles much longer than they will remember (if they ever knew) the opinion of the Seattle Times.
2. Some question the revenue-neutrality approach. However, I agree with Greg Ip that anything else risks making climate change a one party issue. A revenue-neutral approach largely avoids the inevitable struggles about how (and to whom) the collected revenue is directed. (Encouraging such struggles is a major goal of those talking a good game but quietly working to do as little as possible.) Revenue-neutrality is also elegantly simpler than any other approach for dispensing the revenue. Unfortunately it doesn’t fit left-leaning ideology, but I think it has the only chance of ultimately leading to successful legislation. That said however, I would support any strong carbon pricing policy irrespective of how the revenue is used. I was dismayed this fall at so much attention paid to what happens to the collected revenue and so little to the power of strong carbon pricing.
3. Whatever Carbon Washington decides about future directions, a several month time-out might be valuable now. Since the Alliance says they will bring a policy to the legislature in January and since the political landscape nationally has undergone a seismic shift this month, a wait-and-see approach might have advantages. And I would hope Carbon Washington doesn’t get into any quarrels with the Alliance about their efforts. Refuse to respond to such comments as to how I-732 has made it so much harder now to act on climate change, as despicable as such comments are. Just let them take their swing at the ball, encourage them, and cheer if they hit a home run.
4. I hope Carbon Washington will continue to be a future force for a strong carbon pricing policy of some kind.
And thanks so much for all your efforts.
You and your team did *such* an amazing job with 732! Such a change in interest from the time we had lunch when we were commiserating about the paucity of media coverage to the explosion of letters and articles – astounding. I was crushed that it didn’t pass, and most amazed (and curious, I admit) by the corralling of left sentiment against it – wtf Naomi Klein? Lots of money (and time) lost betting on Hilary’s sure win. For me it was an amazing lesson in politics, I know all my Seattle friends supported it, but I sure wish for the whole world it had passed.
Anyway I’m sure there will be more opportunities (and also Canada). I am now much better educated on carbon taxes and will be definitely be supporting them in the future too.
You might remember the “left” opposition using a hypothetical resident of Georgetown as an argument against I-732, saying that I-732 would not do enough about the local pollution suffered by Georgetown residents.
I looked up Georgetown’s two precincts on the King County web site, SEA 11-1602 and SEA 11-1928. I-732 won big in those two precincts: 278 Yes, 123 No, 32 blank.
I grew up in Bellingham and currently live in Redmond. I actively participate in a number of outdoor activities and would love to do something to help protect the outdoor sports that are such an integral part of my life. I was excited about the I-732 initiative, and like many, upset that it did not pass. After considering the results of this initiative, and the election as a whole, I found that this would be an opportunity for me to take more responsibility for what I believe in and try to actively contribute to these efforts.
I was wondering what volunteer opportunities are available moving forward, and what is next on the horizon for Carbon Wa. I hope to take part in the debriefing event and help understand voter reasoning for voting against the initiative, and how similar initiatives can be re-structured to be more inclusive and appealing for voters.
I listened in on the full two hour call tonight, but wasn’t prepared to articulate my thoughts then. As I’ve reflected on the call, I would like to say the following:
· First, I want to second (or third or fourth) the compliments to you for the honesty and openness with which you led the campaign. I don’t know that I will ever experience its equal again. You were the best.
· Second, I agree with the guy from Olympia, who said of the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, “Now, it’s their turn.” I think we should stand back, give them a chance, and offer practical help where we can provide it, including communicating relevant information to our network of volunteers regarding how they can help, if they so choose, when (or if) the Alliance actually has a practical proposal that could use their help. I’m sure there will always be hard core members of the Alliance that would prefer to “annihilate” us, but there are many others that simply disagreed, and I hope we can follow Michelle Obama’s dictum, “When they go low, we go high.”
· Third, I also agree with those who say we should communicate the message, “We will be prepared to try again, if you don’t go forward with something, or if you try and fail.” I hope we can communicate this not as a threat, but as a statement of our reading of the electorate (and good policy) that a different approach than theirs might be more popular and might be better policy. Meanwhile, though, I hope we can follow the rule that they did not, that any serious attempt to begin addressing climate change is better than none. If they lose and we have truly abided by that good faith, I think many of the greens who opposed us may cross over to our side the next time.
· Fourth, I for one do not care at all about revenue neutrality. Even if we could accomplish it, it may lose us as many supporters as it gains. The attempt certainly cost us. I do, however, support tax reform, which includes an effort to counter the regressive effects of a carbon tax. The lack of Republican support in the actual electorate for our proposal was almost as disappointing to me as the opposition of the left. I hope CarbonWA will stand for a carbon tax, as the simplest and ultimately most effective way of moving toward a clean energy economy, and also for tax reform, but not for revenue neutrality.
· Fifth and last, while I am personally a Democrat and the election certainly proved that our real friends are almost entirely Democrats, I do hope that we can maintain relationships with the moderate Republican leaders that came out in support of I-732. Strengthening those relationships—while remaining true to the points just made in #4—is probably the most positive thing we can do while we sit back for awhile and give the Alliance it’s “turn.”
Thanks again for trying so well. I am very proud to have been part of your campaign.
Thanks for holding the debrief conversation today; it was valuable to hear
your report of details in the voting and the comments from other supporters
from around the region.
I’ll offer a few comments you can add to the discussion for wrap up and
determining what the next role is for your organization from here forward.
– Election results provide a treasure of data to determine where support
exists and make any future effort for a carbon pricing ballot measure (by any
organization) better informed. As others on the call suggested, I urge you to
parse the data for maximum understanding and then summarize and archive this
information so it can benefit any and all future efforts to seek voter
approval state wide.
– Now it is time for the Alliance to act and push a proposal in the
Legislature and/or to the voters via initiative. I strongly urge Carbon WA
not to attempt another initiative any time soon, but rather to be part of the
chorus urging the Alliance to really do something for pushing a viable
proposal. The experience gained should be transferable to any attempted
ballot measure that the Alliance may sponsor perhaps in 2018. While the
Legislature does not appear to be amenable to passing carbon pricing in 2017,
this situation could change for the short session in 2018 since some special
elections will occur in November ’17 to fill unexpired terms in the State
Senate. A flip of a seat or two to the Dems could align the stars to pass a
carbon pricing measure Legislatively in the 2018 session. The kind of
multi-piece proposal that the Alliance appears to want to advance would really
be better suited for Legislative action, as it might have trouble clearing the
single-subject rule for ballot initiatives.
– Offer data, lessons learned, and economic analysis to the Alliance for its
proposals, indicating support for advancing carbon pricing of whatever form it
might take. As noted above, the Alliance needs to advance a proposal so
Carbon WA should make it clear it will not be trying to rerun the last 2-3
yrs. The animosity of the Alliance towards Carbon WA that some on the debrief
call mentioned is a matter of ego and turf, I believe. The significant
players in the Alliance didn’t think that a carbon pricing proposal could even
be brought to the ballot so they feel their policy space was usurped in the
actions of Carbon WA qualifying I-732 for the ballot. It really was a much
deserved kick in the butt for the Alliance as it was not getting anything
accomplished. Its funders are becoming impatient and want to see some action
from the Alliance (especially Climate Solutions and WEC from what I can
gather); this certainly explains some of the hostility.
– Consider the Citizens Climate Lobby as a repository for the institutional
knowledge and data gained from the I-732 experience. The policy fit seems to
be good and anyway to keep promoting carbon pricing while not having the
burden of funding and running a separate organization would be beneficial.
Thank you for being willing to push this climate policy beyond any previous
“safe spot” for carbon pricing. We are better off in Washington for having
had this debate and discussion even if the initiative didn’t pass with voters.
The results of the election from throughout the state appear to suggest that
the new idea of a tax shift was too much of a hurdle for generally skeptical
voters to step over. Strong support in Seattle precincts as evidenced by the
map sent with debrief materials suggests that those open to different ways of
supporting government programs were willing to embrace the carbon tax
solutions. Where the outreach message was not received, the discussion
muddled by the opponents claims, or voters less inclined to accept changes in
taxation, the support lagged. Let’s hope that future efforts can use this
experience to step over the inertia barrier to a carbon pricing system that
will move us to rapidly decreasing GHG emissions.
Thanks for the postmortem teleconference on I-732.
I didn’t hear this specifically, but one of the factors mitigating against passage of I-732 was the WSDCC opposition to it. This was related to the Boeing Tax issue, but there was more to it. If the Democratic Party won’t get on board with us, they shouldn’t expect us to be on board with them. Yoram is right about this, although he could’ve been more ‘political’ about it. I recommend entertaining dialogue with the Party as it undergoes reorganization after the 1st of the year. New Party leadership will emerge. We need to be there as the chrysalis opens. I predict the millennials will be spreading their damp wings.
The initiative was proposed as a means of addressing climate change, specifically the effect of increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. In considering next steps, I think it’s important to acknowledge that it is the consequences of climate change we are concerned about; ocean acidification, sea level rise, drought, wildfires, health, crop losses, etc.
Reducing GHG emissions is clearly aimed at stabilizing their concentrations in the atmosphere. That’s certainly essential to do (and as quickly as possible). Putting a price on carbon is seen as a way to do it. But this is not designed to make fossil energy more expensive, it’s designed to make clean energy cheaper relative to fossil energy. What other ways are there to do that?
Just brainstorming, how about involving the insurance industry? For example, an organization operating a coal or NG power plant should have to pay additional insurance for the health impacts of their carbon pollution. Or consider that Miami is experiencing “sunny day” flooding. Yet, developers are still busy putting up commercial and residential buildings. Make them pay an insurance premium for sea level rise. Yes, this has the same effect as making fossil more expensive, but it isn’t called a ‘tax.’ And it’s appealing to voters because it directly penalizes the polluters. Pass through pricing would be capped through price controls/ceilings.
Another way to reduce emissions is to make owning an electric vehicle not only economical (and convenient — build the charging stations), but ‘cool.’ Not everyone can afford a Tesla, but wouldn’t you feel cool driving one on Alaskan Way? EVs are much cooler looking than the early hybrids, like the Prius. What about forming a 3rd party review NPO that evaluates EVs on their clean energy merits and sells their endorsement to auto mfg?
Same thought on clean energy residential initiatives. People are fascinated over here by the emergence of solar on rooftops. Make sure people know about the federal incentives, and lobby for additional ones.
I believe that it’s important to maintain momentum with the confederation of climate activists that worked on I-732. Give these good people things to do now, while ideas are percolating.
Give them HOPE!
I was interested in the comment made on the conference call that there was a better understanding of what demographics of who was likely or open to voting for 732. Perhaps to premature to ask for more details on this point? If so, I would be grateful if you could send me the details once your analysis has been done. Look forward to hearing your next steps.
There was also a paper mentioned about solution aversion and I was wondering if this was the one referred to: http://dukespace.lib.duke.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/10161/9256/Campbell%20et%20al._Solution%20Aversion.pdf
I gave a talk in Forks with the most understanding crowd and the best questions as the Q&A lasted for an hour after the talk. I think the low rural vote count for 732 means they did not get the message and were not exposed enough to it. Timber communities make up much of the rural voters and they should be for the initiative. Any displacement of fossil emissions increases the demand for wood products and reduces the dependence on non-domestic jobs thereby increasing the labor intensity especially in processing wood products and biofuels. The message should sound just about like Trumps message. Restore the rural economy with more jobs and make the area great again except for his reducing trade argument which can be a double edged sword. I don’t agree that the Republican rural votes cannot be reached. It just takes more effort with the message and delivery. We export more to countries that tax emissions. We export logs that bring in more than domestic processing will do but at least that keeps part of the industry employed.
I can help with the story line and maybe getting the industry back on track that the value of carbon will be monetized into their supply chain benefiting every stage of wood processing. And no other policy will contribute as much to reducing emissions and increasing the demand for wood products.
I think there should be greater attentions to the loss of competition at the border when the focus is only on the state. Even fossil intensive industries should not be penalized for exports which dumps more than a fair share of the problem on them rather than sharing with the other states. But there will have to be winners and losers and they will still be the losers. I don’t know how todo that but the story line on job creation has to be bigger and the defense against lost jobs in the hardest hit sectors better. Where is the fair share? It is not fair when the state takes the whole load of lost exports given the highest tax at the border. From the state level this is even more critical than income neutrality.
A concern is the new head of DNR with extreme environmental views from her supporters, but this is an environmental problem and they should be easier to talk to then the environmental activists as they have to be pro timber revenue as well as pro-environmental policy. Even if they reduce public harvests they should be for private harvests and emissions taxes.
Another caution should be preach certainty not that prices can change with the whim of the governor or anyone else. The only way to re-attract investment in wood processing is get the cost of carbon emissions up in a way that will be stable to support the investments that will be needed. Nothing has been worse than the concerns over “what next”. The industry has been on the losing end of environmental regulations for more than the last 8 years and can’t see why they should trust the regulators next steps.
Beware of carbon credit schemes. They tend to be mostly counter productive by crediting the wrong stages of processing and products. They are no substitute for a tax. This will be the worst problem post election by falling back to the governor’s fraudulent cap and trade schemes that promote using wood in the wrong places instead of places that reduce the most emissions.
Just wanted to say I think you’re doing amazing work! If only all economists were as politically engaged. You’ve gotten every voter in Washington State to consider what a carbon tax is and how it could be beneficial!
Keep it up and thank you for your work,
I had one bit of feedback from a friend. He is somewhat apolitical, but he felt that our blurb in the voters pamphlet was not comprehensible to some voters. His point was that it needs to have a simple explanation like “fund your schools” or “raise your wages”. I don’t know if we could have made it simpler, but I thought I should pass it on.
I plan to keep up on this effort over the next few months, particularly by meeting with friends in the environmental community. A couple of them reached out to me after the election and said they wanted me to work with them on continuing efforts. So, I want to do that, but I am rather firm in my position that a revenue-neutral carbon tax is the most efficacious and politically feasible way to reduce emissions.
The general line of argument from my environmental friends who opposed I-732 appears to be that carbon fees will only work if we earmark the revenue for tangible environmental amelioration and for dealing with financial inequity. I see no empirical information to support this, but this appears to be the dominant line of thinking.
My personal thoughts, in no particular order…
1. We had exactly the same results as the 2010 income tax swap initiative did in Thurston County and very nearly the same results in the state as a whole. (39.3% Yes and 60.7% No in Thurston County; 40.71% Yes and 59.3% No in the state as a whole for the income tax swap initiative.) I take that as pretty strong evidence that tax swaps are hard to sell as initiatives.
I have two thoughts about why. First, it’s too easy to attack them just by focusing on the tax hike part. Second, when I was trying to decide whether to work on collecting signatures, I went around and asked a number of my political friends if they had any advice about how to pass this, and every one of them said “It’s too complicated to be an initiative.” I didn’t think that the basic idea was too complicated to explain to people when I was collecting signatures, but I thought that it was too complicated to be able to defend it very effectively once people started attacking it.
2. Revenue neutral carbon taxes do not attract significant support from conservative politicians, affected businesses, or business organizations in general – at least not in Washington State at this point.
3. A revenue neutral carbon tax needs to include an annual adjustment to guarantee that it remains revenue neutral – just getting the forecast within the margin of error is not enough to avoid having it attacked as a budget breaker. (I suppose we could also conclude that our design was fine, and we just got screwed by OFM. That may be OK from a policy analyst’s point of view. I actually don’t think so; I thought Sightline’s pitch gave us a break, because it glossed over the fact that OFM was claiming that the center of the distribution of possibilities was lower than we said it was.) In any case, it’s no OK politically. An annual adjustment would have insured against OFM coming up with a different forecast, and it would have been infinitely simpler to persuade people that an annual adjustment meant that the proposal wouldn’t end up revenue negative, or raise taxes overall. Being off in either direction is a big problem politically.)
4. Apparently, the Alliance’s next move is going to be to try again to get a bill through the Legislature. This seems like a colossal waste of time and energy to me, as long as Doug Erickson and the Republicans control the Senate. I think that the most effective thing we could do to get carbon pricing in the State would probably be to work on getting the Senate back for the Democrats, but I don’t think we have much to build on so far in the districts that matter for that.
5. I thought our Facebook advertising was quite good. I thought that the nodding animal TV ad was poor, and the one with the mashed together faces was awful.
6. In Thurston County, we carried 42 precincts. In those precincts, we ran between 30 points and 7 points behind Obama in 2012. We ran from 17 points behind the income tax swap initiative to 12 points ahead of it in those precincts.
Looking at where we did relatively better and worse compared to Obama, I think that we did relatively worse in the residential precincts where people pay a lot of attention to politics, and there are lots of State policy types. (My hypothesis would be that the budget shortfall, and the opposition from labor and the enviros did cost us votes in Thurston County. We did relatively better in precincts with students, apartments, and retirement communities.) My numbers are at the end. This makes me think it might have been wise to put more emphasis than we did on precincts where people might actually benefit from funding the Working Families rebate, and advertise that on the leaflets.
Precincts in which we did better than 50%
A. The precincts in which we did best relative to Obama in 2012 (running less than 25% behind him)
College (71.6% Yes), by Evergreen; didn’t leaflet, down 23.4%
Olympia 5 (63.7% Yes), downtown apts, down 23.3%
Olympia 20 (61.5% Yes), Bigelow Park to State; down 24.5%
Olympia 42 (59.3%), south of Carlyon; down 18.7%
Olympia 38 (58.7% Yes), Limited Lane Apts; down 19.3%
Olympia 7 (58.6% Yes), Sunrise Park apartments; down 21.4%
Olympia 50 (58.6% Yes), east end of Legion Way, Lion’s Park; down 23.4%; 11.4% re income tax
Olympia 45 (56.3% Yes), apartments, retirement places around hospital; didn’t leaflet, down 13.7% re Obama (up 11.3% re income tax)
Olympia 57 (54.9% Yes), north of State by Southbay Road; down 22.1%
Olympia 19 (54.8% Yes), Evergreen Park Drive Apts, didn’t leaflet, down 18.2%
Olympia 4 (54.7% Yes), downtown, didn’t leaflet, down 21.3%
Olympia 36 (53.9% Yes), Villa Capri Apts, down 22.1%
Olympia 2 (53.1% Yes), west of Decatur Park, down 18.9%
Olympia 12 (52.2% Yes) – Apts by mall, down 17.8%
Lacey 10 (51.6% Yes) – Panorama City retirement community; didn’t leaflet, down 9.4% re Obama; up 9.6% re income tax
Lacey 9 (51.2% Yes) – Apts around Woodland Square loop, down 6.8%; up 12.4% re income tax
Lacey 11 (51.4% Yes) – north of Chambers Lake; down 15.6% (up 12.2% re income tax)
Kaiser (50.9% Yes) – rural out by Evergreen; down 23.1%; didn’t leaflet
Olympia 56 (50.6% Yes) – Yauger Park to Freeway (trailer park, apartments); down 7.4% (up 10.6% re income tax); didn’t leaflet
B. The precincts in which we did worsedd relative to Obama in 2012 (running more than 25% behind him)
Olympia 54 (60.1% Yes), down 27.9% – Westside hill
Olympia 44 (58.7% Yes), down 31.3% – Westside
Olympia 15 (58.6% Yes) – down 28.4%- Legion Way
Olympia 10 (57.8% Yes), down 32.2% – South Capitol
Olympia 26 (57.5% Yes), down 29.5% – Westside hill
Olympia 49 (56.8% Yes), down 32.3% – around Bigelow Park
Olympia 11 (56.7% Yes), down 31.3% – South Capitol
Olympia 13 (55.5% Yes), down 32.5% – Westside hill
Olympia 52 (55.3% Yes), down 27.7% – Eastbay condos
Olympia 18 (55% Yes), down 30% – State Ave to Bigelow
Olympia 30 (54.9% Yes), down 30.1% – Around Madison Park
Olympia 23 (52.8% Yes), down 28.2% – east end of San Francisco
Olympia 28 (52.8% Yes), down 31.2% – Westside south of Harrison
Olympia 14 (52.5% Yes), down 30.5% – around the Watershed
Olympia 24 (52.1% Yes), down 26.9% – Westside hill
Olympia 41 (52% Yes), down 32% – Governor Stevens
Olympia 1 (51.2% Yes) – down 26.8% – Westside hill
Olympia 43 (41.6% Yes) – down 29.4% -Westside hill
Regarding the Sunday discussion, I would be interested in hearing people’s thoughts regarding the legislative proposal/initiative for a carbon tax from the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. What I have heard is a tax of $15 per ton carbon that will escalate at some point if there’s no reaction to $15? I guess there must be further details to come, but that seems way too low as a starting point. On the other hand, I’ve also read that providing jobs and clean energy infrastructure in exchange for a carbon tax is an easier sell to the legislature or at the ballot box.
Hi, thanks for everything you’ve done and are doing to help all of the people on this planet and this beautiful planet herself.
I’d like to be a part of continuing this effort.
Please add my email to any appropriate lists or feel free to get in touch with me directly.
Thanks for the extraordinary effort that provided enormous benefit for the carbon tax policy. The wide coverage across the country in every major news outlet has been very valuable in spreading the understanding of revenue neutrality. It also flushed out the latent views of at least the Sierra Club, other environmental interests and the climate justice organizations.
The basic fact that CCL’s full dividend is the most equitable approach is a simple case to make. The structure of I-732 was similarly more equitable than the business as usual recycling funds for clean energy and community programs. I thought Sightline’s characterization capsulized it well–the climate justice approach would help tens of thousands and leave hundreds of thousands less well off.
Of course, the national election leaves a lot up in the air.
Hello, I was a volunteer for the I-732 campaign, mainly canvassing door-to-door. I also donated some money to the campaign.
I didn’t like the television commercials. I thought they should have been explanations of how the legislation would work, with animated graphics and voiceover. When I was canvassing, I found that people needed some explanation to understand it. Even I needed some explanation when I first learned about it. After ballots already had gone out, people I encountered who already had voted often remarked on how confusing they found the initiative. We had been treating voters as adults with our explanations, but I thought the television commercials gave up on that. Anyone can string together cute animal pictures.
I think it was a mistake to concede so often that I-732 was “not perfect”, and that the opponents were “making the perfect the enemy of the good”. I think you should have said that I-732 made the best possible use of imperfect resources and circumstances. You could have gone further and said that the numbers for alternatives probably wouldn’t add up, as demonstrated by the Alliance’s failure to provide any numbers despite years of labor.
If Slade Gorton and Rob McKenna were sympathetic, I would rather they had helped round up Republican support while the legislature was still in session.
I thought you could have emphasized that Audubon Washington was the largest environmental organization that let its members decide on 732. The large environmental organizations opposed did not. Union endorsements during the Democratic primaries followed a similar pattern: those that let their members decide endorsed Sanders, and the others endorsed Clinton.
Was the OFM forecast of a budget shortfall an act of deliberate fraud? If so, was there no legal recourse? Taking them to court might have been worthwhile (although expensive).
I wish business outreach had started sooner. I managed to persuade all four Portage Bay cafes to display I-732 posters. Having those up for months beforehand would have reached many more people. PCC had participated openly in the I-522 campaign about GMO labelling, so negotiating with them might have been worthwhile, but the business outreach had started too late for that to be practical. (They might have been too staid to have endorsed it, anyway, but lack of time prevented even asking.)
If walk lists for likely voters had been available, that would have made canvassing much more efficient.
I was angry when I found out that some turf I had been canvassing had been given out also to someone else by accident.
I understand the campaign was severely under-staffed and under-funded. Thanks for trying. It was a beautiful idea.
It was a great campaign and I’m happy to see the fight continues, it’s refreshing to have an environmental organization that does the economics right, and you can count on my support in the future.
My thoughts: I think CarbonWA should try to find some common ground with the Alliance: help them modify their proposal so it’s more like I-732. If they won’t budge, make your own proposal that addresses some of their concerns. As an example, there must be a way to do the finances to guarantee revenue neutrality, carbon dividend perhaps? Also don’t use the word “tax”. I know economist like to call a tax a tax but just the use of that word makes it a nonstarter on the east side, get a little more political. Carbon fee, carbon tariff, bureau of carbon scheduling, carbon pricing plan…anything but carbon tax. I had a guy tell me: “Taxes don’t fix anything but I’m not worried when Trump gets elected he’ll slap a big tariff on Chinese goods and that will fix everything”. They like tariffs but they hate taxes, message received.
Thanks and Good Luck,
Here is a map of election results by precinct for the Puget Sound area. [As of Th Nov 17. KM says: Wow! This is just what I need right now. Thank you. At your convenience, can you provide me a PDF that is zoomed in on the Western half of King County? The differences between Bellevue, Seattle, Des Moines etc. are valuable to look into. There are still 100,000 ballots to count in King County, but I’m assuming that won’t really change these results unless they are all concentrated from one area.
Also, if you do one of these for Spokane please send it to me as well. Spokane still has 20,000 ballots to count so you may wish to wait until they are completely finished if you haven’t done it already. ]
The Alliance et al seems to be coming up with a straight carbon tax with no sales tax offset but a lot of incentives like used in CA to offset the burden for those showing exemplary initiative. It will likely go the legislative route in order to be vetted and assailed. If it is defeated there it will have gained the advantage of being fully attacked and studied and debugged to the degree possible of technical problems. Then it may proceed as an initiative.
I think thought should be given to
1. Healing the rift
2. Establishing a mechanism to address disputes between climate change groups now, before they happen, so there are neutrals ready to be involved when conflicts occur. Addressing #1 should lead to adopting #2 so we do not have a second rift in 2018 or 2020.
Friend Yoram… About carbon taxes. Your/our effort correctly, I think, emphasized
cutting taxes elsewhere for approximately even-stephen. It was sunk,
I think, by all the fingers in the climate pie, each of them wanting
to control spending the carbon income. ‘Practical Politics’ may
compel Yoram II along those lines, as is the practice in British
Columbia. Not pure, but maybe necessary.
That, and getting the Governor on board, early and often.
Them’s my thoughts, for what they are.
You are my hero! Thanks for sending out this message of concrete things to do to further the cause. I really appreciate it, and I’ve volunteered.
Takes grit to get back up after a set back like this where you’ve put your heart into making the right thing happen. I’m so glad you have it, and I’m behind you, and will back you up.
+1 on suggestions to buy post-mortem polling to determine why people voted as they did
And of course: +1 THANKS for the leadership
Just a few comments:
1. You all did an excellent job! So close!! What an amazing grassroots effort – what a great foundation from which to launch another go round. Also, the work toward I732 provided LOTS of opportunity for learning about what to do differently this next time. 🙂
2. Someone in the comments section recommended reading “Getting to Green.” I can’t say enough about this book! It will be invaluable in guiding us as we move between the “left” and “right”, green, climate justice, labor, etc. etc. etc – and understand the deep, competing fundamental belief systems that drive all the various groups and voices.
3. We need to offer an olive branch to the enviro justice groups – admitting we made a mistake (not sure exactly what, other than not being seen by them as caring about their plight enough????) I heard Van Jones mention that I 732 was wrong because it took money from poor people and gave it to corporations. This is silly, but this is the way it was portrayed by some of the leaders of the progressive movement.
4. The wording of the initiative should have been challenged (or what??). It was a HUGE impediment to people voting and seeing this for the first time on the ballot.
5. I think we need to present this as a way to stimulate renewable energy and clean jobs development and reduce greenhouse gas emissions FIRST – THEN describe how these benefits will be funded. To lead on the concept of this being a TAX is negative and not inspiring.
6. If the state assessment of the revenue impact was wrong – then this needs to be addressed and resolved. The opposition was able to run on the supposed “fact” that I 732 would not bring in enough revenue to cover the expense to taxpayers. UGH!!!! Stealing from the education fund, etc. etc. – that was a serious blow.
Looking forward to the call on Sunday!!
Let’s get back to work and make this happen!!
Thanks for all you did to put carbon issues on the national map. Really admirable!
I am so sorry. I deeply admire all you have done.
we need to get this on the ballot in Massachusetts!
I’m not giving up. How can I help you? We need to regather and present this to voters again. Thank you!
Wanted to share this Washington Post analysis “Why identity politics couldn’t clinch a Clinton win” as it seems relevant now as future efforts to get a price on carbon passed in Washington are pursued. It struck me as quite relevant to the Alliance and Democratic party’s approach to getting climate legislation passed and concludes that it won’t work because they are estimating the strength of a coalition based on identity politics. Don’t try to get legislation passed based on dividing people against each other. Climate action and a price on carbon is ultimately an important concern to everyone.
Nicely conducted campaign! Really, the outcome of the voting showed strong support — just not enough, this time around.
Glad to see that CarbonWA is continuing. Of course, there will and should be soul-searching. In that regard I highly recommend the book, “Getting to Green” by Fredrick C. Rich, (c) 2016.
I look forward to hearing about how we move forward!
So sorry to hear that I-732 did not get through. But hope you are proud of the effort you made, as it was truly incredible.
I hope you feel good about what you accomplished, even if it did not pass.
Thank you for all your work and devotion. You did so much with so little.
Are we going to have a debt to cover from the campaign?
Are you thinking of starting up again for 2017?
Again congratulations on the world significant achievement with I-732!
What about extending the revenue neutral concept, for example a revenue neutral tax swap in WA state such as an income tax on the top 2 quintiles with equal reduction of regressive taxes such as the McCleary local levies or sales tax?
I’m thinking about how to supplant the old ‘big spending’ trends in the anti trump resistance.
There are a lot of good ideas surfacing about fighting trump, however there is also a current of big government ideology, ‘to be popular we must have more government spending based on increased taxes’. ‘With bernie this wouldnt have happened.’ etc
Typifying these wrong conclusions is this from climate solutions at link below:
Tellingly this article is friendly toward everything it mentions about I-732 — except the tax swap. The origin of Big Green opposition to I-732 was government spending, and climate solutions is now willing to unite with I-732 on everything – oh except one thing, they must have more govt spending!
To deal with many economic issues i think the macro policy at the federal level needs to decrease spending on entitlements and defense, raise spending on infrastructure, maintain revenue neutrality, and reduce annual deficits. This position is argued by Third Way but not by any major political grouping. It is possible to combine this with appeal to jobs and economic expansion based on local geography.
The democrats helped maintained federal political gridlock with protection of entitlements, and the flipside was reduced infrastructure spending. And hence some weakenings in the face of changing economy, including hollowing out the Appalachian-Americans.
All 3 federal branches in republican hands will formally end gridlock, but the same policy issues will be contended. My guess is trump will seek massive spending increase overall with some symbolic entitlement cuts – a reagan rerun.
Regardless, i think it will be very important for anti trump resistance to have trends that advocate effective fiscal and economic policy, since this is a core problem that got our economy and politics to where they are. The stronger the vapid bernie pro-spending trends are, the more the movement lacks a workable alternative.
I imagine you are thinking, when you get a moment, about what happens Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. If there is any way I could be helpful in working on that, I’d love to.
I’m thinking about how we can be gracious and inspirational and ambitious, should 732 fail. And I’m thinking about how we can be gracious and inspirational and ambitious should it succeed. Let’s keep the momentum going!
I’ve never before been involved in a campaign where it HURT to see the faces of those arrayed against me! Bill McKibben, for pity’s sake! And yet, I want to focus on our shared love of the planet. I want to think of ways we can work with WA people who want more attention to environmental justice, win or lose, and to fixing glitches like Boeing.
And in our own small way, we in the I-732 campaign, and you as our public face, have a chance to model what we would like politics to look like today. I’m thinking of that wonderful quote: “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.” Jane Addams, social reformer, founder of Hull House in Chicago, 1892.
So, do let me know if I can help, and I’ll be seeing you Tuesday night at Peddler’s.
My feet have only recently recovered from all the pavement pounding they did as I doorbelled as much as I could in the days leading up to Nov. 8.. But, as volunteer on the “front lines” (and working on this since August) I had some great experiences that I think will help our next campaign be better. Thank you SO much for offering to receive feedback, as indeed, my mind has been crunching on this one.
1) Make allowances for energy-intensive trade exposed industries. What? Yes, that’s my number one piece of input, even though I actually only heard one person out of the 150+ that I spoke with mention something about, “But doesn’t it hurt some businesses that use a lot of energy? I heard about unhappiness about it in South Seattle.”
The reason this is my #1 item is because I believe it’s the #1 reason why an aluminum business was your #1 contributor to the “NO” campaign, and it’s one reason why my own union came out on the NO side. I work for the state and when a coworker told me Jeff Johnson, the union’s president had come out against I-732, she didn’t know why he’d done so, but she did say she knew him to be a very smart guy and a straight shooter. Coming from her (a union activist “in the know”), I was inclined to take that advice to heart, and so I read Jeff’s article on why he was against it. Here it is. Please read it (and also note his mention of “…the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. We have begun a Climate Tour in Washington state building support for such a policy. …” and see if there’s a way to join forces!). When I read it, I was tempted to abandon the campaign, because I think he’s right. We DO need to make allowances for energy-intensive trade exposed industries. (However, I soldiered on for the YES side, not breathing a word of this flaw to the people I came across. (Hoping it would indeed be “fixed later.”))
Why do we need to make allowances? Well, I have a strong feeling that “South Seattle” comment I got earlier had to do with Nucor Steel.. I’ve toured their 100+year-old plant and stood in the heat of their electric arc furnace. They take the Seattle culture of environmentalism and being a good neighbor VERY seriously. On the tour, they said they spend something like $25,000 dollars A DAY on electricity. And now that I look at the list of NO funders, I see Nucor put in $30K. Think of their electric bill…. think of how much it could increase…. I know they’d see a decrease in their B&O tax, but I think they did the math and figured out $30K is peanuts. And we heard enough about Trump’s tower built from steel from China during the debates to be freshly reminded that steel is in a cutthroat market, and America has been losing.
Speaking of the NO funders, as I look at the list now, I see Kaiser, but I could’ve sworn that there was an earlier e-mail from you guys that named Alcoa Aluminum as the $450K contributor, instead. [YB: No, it was Kaiser.] Maybe this is a case of many names under one parent company, or I hallucinated, but if it was Alcoa, here’s a bit of my perception of that company. My perception is that Alcoa has an environmental streak, and this is based on hearing the founder of the non-profit, litter pickup group Living Lands and Waters speak their praises as the entity that first funded his then-crazy efforts. (They were also the first he called and hounded. :)) Anyway, I just checked their annual report, and looks like Alcoa is still funding them in the “$10K-$24,999” range. I can only imagine what an aluminum working plant’s electric bills would be, but can easily guess high. When it comes to recycling aluminum, you can save 95% of the energy used to make aluminum from ore if you instead use recycled aluminum. It’s crazy energy-intensive.
2) Push the fact this is a “citizen’s initiative.” The most common negative response I got was a disbelief that taxes would actually go down, or that the state would abide by the initiative. At a park and ride November 7th, I was promoting I-732 while waiting for my bus and a guy basically yelled at me, “You trust the state?!” “Yes.” “Well, that’s where you and I differ!”
And when I read my ballot and saw allllllll the kinds of initiatives on there, it dawned on me that I didn’t know who was really behind most of them. Some seemed to come straight from government. What average citizen would know which were citizens’ initiatives vs. the ones from the big, bad government?
(And, as a state worker funded in part by an initiative passed in the last century, I gotta admit that I, too, worry about how well the state would behave itself and not siphon off funds to the General Fund during times of budgetary need. We’ve seen some crazy shifting in the past few years. But again, I stayed on message with things like, “Well, it’s written into the initiative!” or “If you don’t vote for it, you know for sure you taxes won’t go down.” to the doubters.)
3) Consider not calling it a “tax on carbon” because truly that’s NOT all that it was. It was a restructuring of our taxes. A small handful of people I spoke with were initially turned off by the “carbon tax,” but then visibly relaxed/opened their mind a bit when they heard of the decrease in the sales (and other) taxes. If the initiative is only known as “the Carbon Tax one,” then that’s all people will hear… another tax. And with the common attitude that government is the devil and taxes are too high, that can set up a big hurdle.
4) It takes more than just Seattle to pass this thing. I came in to the I-732 office and then doorbelled in the Phinney neighborhood to help push us over the edge. When I got back to the office, I offered to take a list of “undecideds” to doorbell the next day in my own neighborhood in Bellevue. I was a little shocked that the person helping me asked if Bellevue was still King County. Just a little note of caution that perhaps you guys relied too heavily on the Seattle populace to carry you through to victory.
5) Speaking of Bellevue, during my 14+ combined hours of doorbelling, I came across 4+ people who could barely communicate with me in English, or not at all. This also occurred when I briefly tried my hand at phonebanking (which I discovered I suck at :)). Did you know Bellevue is now WA’s largest city where “minorities” make up the majority? Bellevue now Washington’s biggest majority-minority city. To honor ESL voters statewide, you could have a portion of your website devoted to other languages (like have flags to click that then take you to a page with a Spanish blurb, or a Chines blurb, etc.). I’m not asking you to translate your entire site, but to at least hit the big languages and have a little write-up for them. And hopefully you had flyers and/or ads in Spanish in areas like Yakima.
6) Consider joining forces with CENSE (see cense.org ) if you haven’t made that connection already. You guys have a common enemy in PSE. Their mailing list would be full of like-minded people (and some people with deep pockets). Don Marsh who helps lead CENSE is also a super down-to-earth guy who’s also smart and passionate (kind of like you guys!). 🙂
Thanks for reading, and for all your hard work.
I sent an email to Yoram on 11/9/16 suggesting that Carbon Washington’s next step should be getting the Washington State Legislature to pass a carbon trading bill similar to California’s AB 32. Yoram indicated that cap and trade was on the CarbonWA agenda. [YB: What I wrote was “Yes there will be ongoing efforts to emulate AB32 as well as push forward with other approaches to climate action.”] I write this to get the idea into the next step discussion because I think cap and trade is the logical alternative and next step after failure of the carbon tax.
Many arguments support cap and trade: It’s not a tax. I-732 failed not because it was a bad idea, but because Americans have a strong anti-government streak and resist all taxes. It’s easier and cheaper to lobby the state legislature to pass a cap-and-trade bill than to convince the public to tax itself. You can apply many of the resources and political savvy from the I-732 campaign in the push for a cap and trade bill. CarbonWA can use California’s AB 32 as a model and both learn from it and improve upon it. There are many Californians eager to help, and some Oregonians I know.
If you can get a cap and trade system set up in Washington state, then you can begin to think in terms of a larger system that includes multiple states. Oregon would be the logical next state. That would make the mainland West Coast solidly cap and trade, but perhaps other blue and purple states can be included, for example, Hawaii and Colorado; perhaps a red state like Arizona, which like Hawaii and Colorado, is a big solar power state. Perhaps Canadian provinces and even Mexican states might join. The possibilities, as they say, are “endless.”
Disclosure: I am a Californian and reside in the People’s Republic of Berkeley.
First, I’d like to thank the entire Carbon WA team for your herculean efforts for I-732. Yoram, Kyle and volunteers, thanks so much for being a positive and inspiring force in this most unusual of elections. Despite the loss, I consider my small contribution to be a great investment. You have brought the carbon tax swap concept to the attention of millions of persons in the U.S. and abroad. I-732 did not win only because of the unfolding disaster of our antiquated (my nice descriptor) political parties, in my opinion. I hope there will be a path forward for legislation in Washington State and D.C., and I hope to continue supporting the carbon tax swap concept with intellectual and financial support.
That said, the next few years may require a mental reset. I’m 61, I’ve seen some butthead politics, but nothing like this. I suppose I may focus more on the U.S. role in international agreements and such. Just trying to hold the line. However, Mr. T is so unreliable, there’s so much uncertainty, that it’s hard to say what the short-run future (next 2 years) may hold. Perhaps a carbon tax swap at the national level may become more tenable sooner than seems possible at this time. A carbon tax swap at the national level is the ultimate goal, in my opinion.
I have worked with CCL a bit and must say I don’t think their “dividend” approach is likely to succeed. Too much red tape. Rather, let’s get rid of taxes that people really hate. Harder for our representatives to ignore. For example, we could easily free about half of income-tax paying Americans from the drudgery of April 15 tax day. CCL’s consultant estimated that a $30 per ton tax would raise about $200 billion per year. The entire income tax paid by the bottom 50 percent of individual taxpayers was about $30 billion in 2011!
Some might argue that there are not enough regressive federal taxes to reduce to offset the carbon tax. However, States could reduce their sales tax or other onerous taxes and the national carbon tax revenue could be distributed to States to make up for the revenue loss. Many federal revenues are distributed to states, so no big precedent required. Only five states have no sales tax.
There’s a few thoughts. Again though, at this difficult time, my sincere thanks to all of you for being on the right side of history.
Sorry about the results from the election. I sincerely hope you continue this battle. I am 17 and won’t be able to vote until the next election in two years. However, I am in supportive of this initiative and am interested in volunteering when you start collecting signatures for the next time around. Thank you so much for the hard work you have been doing, and I hope you continue to keep seeking changes.
Congratulations on a great grassroots campaign.
It’s very disappointing and frustrating that the majority of environmental
and social justice groups didn’t support this effort.
But now I hear that they have their own proposal for this coming
I think CarbonWA should take a careful look at this new proposal. If it
looks at all positive, I think CarbonWA should support it.
The climate is too important to hold grudges. I think the behavior of the
other groups was very insulting to the hundreds of volunteers who put
hundreds of hours into this effort.
But we don’t need to be like those groups. We can lobby with them or
separately to support good carbon-pricing legislation in Washington State.
After the disaster at the national level, it’s more important than ever to
act at the state level.
CarbonWA can work with the legislators who endorsed 732 to help refine any
bill that is introduced. We can mobilize our network for grassroots
We really appreciated aaron`s help!!!
You did a remarkable job. Even though you didn’t succeed, you got a lot of people
thinking about carbon taxes. Looks like more local efforts will be needed for the next 4 years.
I too did not prevail in my [political] race. I’ll try again in two years.
Thank you again and best regards.
I hope that there are funds available to perform post-mortem polling to determine why people voted yes or no for I-732.
For the no vote, what percentage of the voters don’t believe in climate change, what percentage were turned off by the word “tax,” and what percentage think that government can’t be trusted with any tax revenue (neutral or not), and what percentage thought the tax should be revenue-positive to fund programs.
For the yes vote, what part(s) of the argument appealed to them?
For both groups: Did they try the carbon tax calculator? What sources of information or opinion did they use in their decision making process? Results should be stratified by county or region of the state.
I’m pretty sure I have no idea how you feel. But what I do know is how inspirational you are, at least to me, and I’m guessing to a whole generation of Washington activists. You & I-732 didn’t just move the needle. You broke the gauge. And, more personally, you certainly made me rethink what’s possible in a life. I-732 relit a little fire in me. It also made me realize how my time to do something of consequence is painfully short.
Thanks for the reset. I needed it.
So what’s the next step on this initiative? The principle was there but it seemed like the details didn’t pass scrutiny. does this team have an agenda to further pursue this cause? i’d like to see it moved forward and contribute if possible.
I just wanted to say thank you for the countless hours you devoted to CarbonWA. It became a bigger and uglier process than any of us hoped for. I admire that you stuck to it and saw it through, and that you’ve managed to retain a sense of optimism even in the face of last week’s elections.
I hope that you are able to get some much-deserved time off. I think we all need to cram is as much self-care as possible between now and Jan 20, because the workload just got bigger!
Thank you for your super human effort to address climate change in the PNW. A model system and now I witness the other team trying to go forward with a weaker and one party approach to dealing with climate change. What happened nationally is another bad story.
Although my participation was sketchy, I enjoyed gathering signatures (not many), going door to door, and phoning. I found it difficult to deal with two groups of people those who could care less and did not want to engage and those that thought the U.S. had gone so far in the hole that it wasn’t worth even trying to get out of the hole.
Hello, fellow CarbonWA survivors,
I was most grateful to receive Yoram’s summary of our accomplishments, certainly a positive spin on what the I-732 campaign was about.
My initial thoughts in the aftermath of the election:
As best I can figure out, I-732 was pretty good policy. If it had passed, it would have done what it said it would do, and its policy flaws were fixable. Unfortunately, the “urgency” (planet running out of time) argument was insufficient to counter the opposition’s position that a more effective policy would do more to reduce emissions, create clean energy jobs, and save the planet from runaway climate change, even if not put into effect for several years, than would I-732, and furthermore, that I-732 did not do enough for disproportionately affected people.
It pains me to say this, but I think we are going to have to let go of policy purity and embrace more traditional political approaches to getting something passed, whether it’s through the legislature or via an initiative. I think that means asking potential allies the traditional political question: “What would we need to include in this policy in order to enlist the support of your group (labor, business, faith-based, environmental, POC, indigenous people, etc.)? “ In other words, we’ll have to cooperate in making sausage and hope that what comes out at the end of the process bears some resemblance to effective climate policy.
Thanks to all at CarbonWa for your passion, inspiration, and hard work,
I am really grateful for the fight that you and your team fought on behalf of us all. I’m glad you will be sharing the lessons you learned with the rest of us.
Thanks Aaron and Yoram for your follow up emails. What was the final vote tally? In due course, you may share with us what your plans are for continuing this effort – or invite us to help with that brainstorming.
Carbon Washington team, thanks for all your hard work for the climate this past year. You folks are great. Sorry we weren’t able to get the outcome we wanted.
Indeed, this is but one battle in the war. The CO RPS failed forward multiple years before becoming the first ballot initiative in the country, and I am very grateful for what you accomplished.
I would like a more in-depth and political analysis of what happened, what groups did / didn’t support, how it influenced the vote, if there are more voter-popular ways to structure a carbon tax, what to do to set this up for a win in another state moving forward, what kind of budget would make it win.
I too am proud of what we accomplished.
Since my primary issue with the Alliance was that it would not support I-732, I feel obligated to support an Alliance plan if it is effective. However, I am not yet convinced that the Alliance plan will be effective. While I like its target-based pricing mechanism, it is not at all clear that it will target transportation. I am inclined to withhold endorsement of the Alliance plan until it is clear that it will target transportation. If it does not then I won’t support it. If it does then I say give them a chance.
Meanwhile we continue to work on the public. Here in eastern Washington there are plenty of people who need convincing that dealing with climate change is in their interest, and need not be painful.
First, thank you and the CarbonWA/I-732 team for all the thought and hard work you put into getting I-732 on the ballot this year. Over 360K signatures and over I million votes. What a feat!
I want to make this response to your request for thoughts on where we go next short and… I was going to say “sweet,” but I don’t feel sweet at the moment.
In my view, to be politically palatable across the right and left, an economic approach to reducing emissions must be revenue neutral. Just the word “tax” raises republican hackles — why the Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) used the “fee and dividend” terminology.
I’m knowledgable about what went on between CarbonWA and the groups that ultimately coalesced into the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy (AJCE). I also know about how and why the Washington State Democratic Central Committee (WSDCC) torpedoed I-732. (The executive board passed a resolution opposing I-732 without providing the membership the required lead-time to review and respond. This action was motivated by political concerns that I won’t go into.) It wasn’t fair. Life.
I am empathetic with the idea of “Social Justice” (the core principle for the AJCE), and the need for a “Just Transition” (Washington State Labor Council goal). I emphatically reject the notion that wrapping these laudable goals into one all-encompassing policy proposal is politicly feasible (or even logically coherent).
I strongly recommend we not compromise on revenue neutrality. But, compromise is needed to move forward. At the very least, we must bring environmental groups back to the table.
A Trump Presidency, with Myron Ebell heading the EPA is a threat that should motivate like-minded people to work together to address the climate change crisis. What’s the common ground? What are our respective core principles? What are the trading beads?
Thank you for your hard work and leadership!
It’s important to appreciate what you’ve accomplished. Over 1 million of the voters said “yes” to a first time proposition; it usually takes 2 or more times for issues to get passed by the voters. Many more know about the the topic through your educational work, with lasting impressions resulting from your person-to-person campaign activities.
Trump & company are planning an all out assault on the environment. The upside should be alarm bells going off among young people especially to wake up & get involved.
They need a place to connect. We hope that you keep the lights on at CarbonWA, at least on the web. Once it goes dormant the drift away will be rapid. And we need to offer them hope.
Hope takes the form of a measure that does a great job of meeting requirements for a winning policy. We’re working on this, and have a strong work-in-process that already looks to be more competitive than what’s rolling into the field post I-732.
It’s been my pleasure to work with you, and I admire your passion and cohesion as a team, leaving it all on the field. Rest up — the environment needs you!
Many thanks to you and the Carbon Washington team for your tireless efforts on passing the first carbon tax in the US.
While the election results did not turn out as we had hoped (in so many respects), we need to press on. In the next few years, the world will likely take a big step backwards on climate change. It becomes all the more critical for states and cities to take up this mantle.
I think analyzing the objections of the No voters and reframing the carbon tax will be key. Framing it as punishing polluters may be counterproductive. Framing it as pricing in the side effects, compensating those impacted by climate change, and helping individuals and businesses transition to cleaner energy could be more constructive. An emphasis on fairness and results (sustainable levels of carbon) rather than punishment (carbon emissions = bad). The subtle but important difference between being judgmental and having good judgment.
My thought is that the CarbonWA organization can provide much needed support for staying focused on climate action based the facts of science and economics. The Alliance seeks to follow an unproven strategy based on the assumption that action on climate change must be a cause championed only by the left and ultra left as part of solving many other societal problems. I would not oppose their trying to do this, but there is a strong basis for seeing this as not likely to be successful. An approach that would support all reasonable efforts going forward without trying to sabotage other sound strategies should be promoted.
There needs to be an organization that doesn’t let its efforts be diverted from taking scientific and evidential based action on climate change, or let climate action be held hostage to other causes, regardless of how worth. There isn’t time for it. When and if the urgency of climate change dawns on more of the political spectrum, they may be ready for immediate action by any means, perhaps even advanced nuclear (but non-carbon) power. Being a force for more immediate and direct action through a nonpartisan price on carbon, such as I-732 or the Citizens Climate Lobby have pursued, is a critical role that needs to be carried forward.
CarbonWA can build on the support it has built for a nonpartisan carbon tax, and collaborate with Citizens Climate Lobby and other such efforts to make climate action something that people across the political spectrum want to support. If some other approach succeeds, that would also be great, but we can’t put “all our eggs in one basket” when the future is so uncertain.
[Our group] would like to offer any help we can. Thanks for all the terrific work you all did on this campaign. What has been achieved can be built upon in a way that will help perhaps more effective address climate change here and elsewhere, albeit not as soon as it would have had certain environmental groups not opposed it.
I can only try to imagine what you are feeling at this point. I’m sure it has some kinship to what I have been feeling, but you put all of your heart and soul into the I-732 effort, so it can only be that much more intense.
I want to thank you for everything you did, and for how powerfully you care. There are no real words of consolation at this point, combining both our result and the national one. But no one can ask for more than what you did over the last two-plus years. I can at least offer my eternal gratitude and respect.
If the opportunity comes around to work with you on anything again in the future, I will be grateful for that, as well.
I admire your vision and initiative. It was a valiant effort. Are you going to do any kind of a retrospective or some summary of lessons learned?
I suggest we explore combining our efforts in some way with OurClimate. Their story parallels ours in many ways. They started out as Oregon Climate and are still based in Portland. Their principles sound a lot like ours. They’ve achieved the inclusiveness we say we want — without advocating using carbon tax revenue to fund a wide array of government programs. And they’re ahead of us in moving onto the national stage.
One of our challenges is critical mass moving forward. We’d be working with a group that already runs a really good website, could undoubtedly help with outreach, and likely has resources that we don’t. We’d instantly have a national platform. And we could help them with policy expertise, campaign know-how, media contacts, a tremendous list of donors and volunteers, and a robust presence in Washington.
There have been a lot of calls for us to “join forces” with the progressive community. This might be a way to do that without cozying up to the Alliance — which, as the Washington Post noted, has been wrong on the policy and wrong on the politics. (In fact, in a Trump administration, they may regret their missed opportunity to help pass 732).
How would we structure such a partnership? It could be anything from regularly talking on the phone to a full-fledged merger. I have no idea what might work best . . . or what they’d be receptive to. I’m also unclear about whether they’re still interested in state-level action.
This could also be a very bad idea. I’m sure you know these folks better than I do. Please share your unvarnished opinion of whether a partnership would help us achieve our overall objectives.
We can certainly talk with them without making any kind of commitment. I think it could be a conversation worth having.
As a supporter of the Carbon Washington campaign I was very curious about what happened. Not all your supporters are in the state, and this certainly wasn’t covered by my local news. But nowhere in your recent email do you say the words “we lost” or give me what was the percentage of votes you carried. To lost with 49% is way different than losing with 30%, for example.
I was happy to support you and I’m still glad I did, even though you lost. But I would appreciate this kind of candor.
Even if it lost, I thought this whole campaign was inspiring.
Count me in for whatever you are planning next.
Even though the outcome was not what we were hoping for, you deserve immense credit for pushing the conversation on tangible climate policy and getting as far as we did. I’m grateful for being a part of the grassroots team you started. Thank you for all your hard work!
This has been a difficult week with the Trump win and the loss of I-732. I wanted to ask, are you going to approach/work with the people behind the new carbon initiative? http://jobscleanenergywa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Alliance-Policy_full.pdf I am sure there are some bitter feelings on both sides, but I am hoping that you and they can come together, if not right way, at least soon. I have a background in mediation, and I would be willing to look for a good facilitator to help the two groups, if that’s needed. When you have time, I’d love to hear back.
Thanks for your kind email and great summary.
Yes, you can be very proud!!
YES! YES! YES! I totally agree. This was a super valuable effort… and the movement can only build on this.
This work never ends, until we have achieved a shift to low-carbon economy…. (or No Carbon Economy!) There are many pathways…. and we don’t have much time, but work we will! I think this only underscores that we need to work harder, and, as always, even smarter.
Thank you for all your excellent work on this, and the work of the whole team.
I wil look forward to seeing you in the future, and coming up with ideas and actions for next steps. See you after Dec 15th. I am hosting rally for #NoDAPL – Stand with Standing Rock here in [ ] this Tuesday. The Native Americans are on the front line of this fight right now. A bus caravan from everywhere would be helpful.
I wanted to drop a note expressing how much respect I have for you and your team. Though I couldn’t commit more than my monthly contribution, I followed the campaign’s progress with great interest and hope. Though the outcome was not what we all wanted, I can’t tell you how grateful I am that you had the courage to attempt it.
If you have any thoughts on the way forward you’d like to share, I’d value them. I am currently at COP22 in Morocco where people are also grappling with the US election results and the way forward as well. But if you are busy with all the things I am sure were out on hold during the campaign, no worries at all.
Just want to appreciate all the effort you guys have put in this year plus and know I am open to supporting or working with you guys again some day.
While I was very sorry not to see I-732 pass, you all deserve TREMENDOUS accolades for getting it on the ballot, getting so many votes, and raising the issue both locally and nationally.
THANK YOU for your efforts. I am very much interested in staying involved, and contributing to taking another swing at the problem. Please include me on your mailing list, and let me know how I can help you all take your next steps.
I’d be particularly interested in discussing the policy, framing, and how we can broaden the coalition. Perhaps a very small tax (non revenue neutral), half of which is disbursed to residents, and half of which supports renewable subsidies (double your bang for the buck). Keeping it small would perhaps allow it to pass and scale over time. Another idea is indexing the tax to CO2 concentration or global mean temperatures … the worse things get, the higher the tax goes. And you could put in tranches that would go to sales tax reductions, renewable subsidies, or grants over time as well. Revenue neutral to get it passed, but then goodies for the broader coalition down the road.
Thanks again for your amazing efforts and look forward to participating in your next rounds.
The game’s not over!
I sure love that I know you and was able to follow the work of Carbon WA over the past few years.
What an honor to participate.
I look forward to seeing how your work impacts our future.
Please share this with the team at CarbonWA—thank you so much for all you did in this campaign! There is nothing more important than keeping this planet livable. It may take a while for the rest of humanity to figure this out, but your work is so important and so appreciated. The I-732 campaign was an important step in raising awareness, even if it didn’t win. Thank-you!!
Thank you for an amazing experience. The effort to pass a carbon tax was exciting and satisfying. Sure, the end was sad, but no tears were shed at the end. I felt, during the campaign and still today, that we were standing between dark forces and the fate of our state, country and world. We, and especially you, started something that will continue to grow in the near future.
Ignorance won this time, but ignorance can be remedied in time by education and experience.
I wish you the best of luck.
Greg & Yoram
Now that it has been a couple of days after the election I wanted to pass along my closing thoughts on the I-732 effort.
First, I’d like to thank the two of you and the rest of the board for your efforts. It is really difficult to put other things in your life on hold and dedicate such time and energies to such a cause.
Second, I like to say that while the measure did not pass that in my view it was still successful. Sometimes you can still lose an initiative and still make progress. I-732 did this.
The I-732 team was tremendously successful in making climate protection an non-partisan issue. I hope that you realize how important this is. In this political environment, we cannot make progress on the most important question we face in society if we tie it to our identity politics. For this reason, I am in agreement with your approach to stay focused on a broad-based and non-partisan policy. You were able to obtain endorsements of prominent state and national Republicans which makes it so much easier the next time something is placed before the voters that they will approve it. We need to make climate change our collective problem to solve and not the problem of just one party or a limited constituency.
I-732 also advanced the discussion and dialogue because it made many people to have to sit down and think about climate change for the first time. We all know that we increasingly receive our news and media from sources that re-inforce our own beliefs. We also know that climate change did not get the election coverage that it deserved. So just by putting the initiative on the ballot, you moved the discussion forward by make people think. Hopefully they learned something about both climate change and tax policy. People need to be informed to make difficult decisions. Maybe this vote was too difficult for them this time around. But they learned something and that is a really good thing.
The latest election numbers have I-732 at 40% in favor and 60% against. Let’s put that in perspective. Out of 10 voters, six said “no” and four said “yes”. What that means is one only needs to get 1 of the 6 that said “no” to change their mind. They didn’t like this proposal the first time that they saw it. But then again, they had not seen anything to compare it against before. They hadn’t had to think about the problem before. Most have not been exposed to the discussion on how we need to transition away from fossil fuels. Polls are important but an initiative like this provides more information than what any poll can tell us. It lets us know where we need to reach out and educate and listen.
In going forward, I would ask that you don’t give up. The worst thing that we could do is to throw up our hands and back off and quit. The issue has been brought before the voters once. We need to bring to them again and again and again. Because each time that it is brought forward we educate and we create dialogue. They didn’t like this initiative because it was too complex and there was fear that it would impact gas prices adversely. Perhaps they’d like an initiative that retains the core of I-732 but rebates gas tax revenue to those in low population density communities, i.e. those who can’t transition easily to electric vehicles and don’t have access to public transportation. Perhaps we do need to set aside some revenue for low income and communities of color to help them with home efficiency. Try something else for goodness sake. Throw it against the wall and see what sticks. But don’t give up. The country needs this state to be a leader and an innovator. Washington state is the country’s best hope to show how to transition off of fossil fuels. We need to show how it can be done because once we do it, others can see how to follow.
I think we should work to vigorously support the alliance’s proposal and use our base of grassroots support and donors to pressure potentially reasonable republicans into allowing the alliance proposal to pass through the state legislature. If it doesn’t get through the state legislature, I think we should work to support them at the ballot box as well.
I was a volunteer for the Yes Campaign for Initiative 732. Though it sadly didn’t pass, I want to know how I can stay involved in Carbon Washington’s efforts to push economically sound and bipartisan solutions to climate change. Please let me know how I can help!
Thanks, team! I AM proud of the work we did on I-732. I’m trying to be positive, but this is harder. Count me in when we start on 732 2.0 please.
As usual, you are a very classy guy. I learned a lot soliciting signatures, and I am as ever, committed to the most serious problem the world has faced. The inflection of the CO2 curve is still up!
I’m very disappointed but willing to work my …..off. Let me know if I can help.
I’m usually skeptical about rah-rah messages that come after losses,
but I think we DID achieve some significant progress, maybe only
in setting the table/starting the conversation.
I believe (sadly, though) that WA will not be the ground-breaker…
to much cultural self-doubt…that ultimately we need another state to do it
first because the local cultural inferiority complex creates enough
trepidation that “if it was such a good idea, how come…” That said,
we need to press on, relentlessly.
I’d like to engage in continuing conversation/action if I can. One thing
I think we need to know and work from is the list of environmental groups
that opposed change. I think we should consider working their donors/funders.
If I was going to change anything in the content, it MIGHT be tweaking the
B&O cut to a fixed amount flat cut across the board (something like $500/entity
where entities were defined in a way that prevented gaming) for entities that
do >75% (or xx%) of their sales in state that would help ALL small businesses.
We’d lose the beautiful living-wage-jobs aspect I love so much, but I suspect
we’d get a bigger, broader self-interest support from a segment that I found
hard to convince this time. I don’;t have data for the # of B&O payers that
would fall where in this, but I think it might have legs and be worth considering.
I’d love to discuss the #s if you can find them and talk about ways to market/
promote to small businesses (think Rotary/Kiwanis/Elk clubs) and market as
something like “the only tax cut you’ll ever see where YOU get exactly as much as
Boeing.and Amazon do”.
Thank you so much for crafting such a valuable and elegant Initiative and
for taking this critical fight forward.
Please stay in touch and remember,
“Whatever doesn’t make you stronger kills you” — Jocketty’s Law.
I was very sad to see that the initiative didn’t pass. After the shock of the presidency vote, this was an additional blow. I’m glad that at least ST3 made it through. But the vote on I732 is a huge missed opportunity. I hope very much that the governor and legislature will now be willing to take some meaningful action on CO2 emissions this term.
I can imagine that the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy will again launch a proposal. Personally, I would think it best if CarbonWA would join that discussion and push for a simple carbon tax, rather than a complex and bureaucratic cap-and-trade system. Perhaps if the tax is (somewhat) revenue-positive, the labor and environmental groups would get behind it? From my own social circle, I know that many people had reservations about I732 primarily due to the potential negative impact on state revenues, given the lack of funding for education, the various Tim Eyman-penned constraints on taxation, etc. Perhaps if the carbon tax increased revenue (still in combination with some reductions in sales tax) then there would be support in those quarters.
To get people in that Alliance to see the benefits of this, I imagine that CarbonWA would need not only good economic arguments (which you have) but some olive branch from you over your comments about “using race and class as political weapons.” In these days of identity politics, when many people see the President-elect as a personal threat to them due to their race, religion or sexual orientation, and where his opponent seems to have angered a large section of the right by labelling them a “basket of deplorables,” I think we generally need to move toward a more polite discourse. I think it may help CarbonWA’s cause if you apologize for this quote. I say this respectfully and as a supporter of what you and the rest of the organization have been working for.
I’ll look forward to hearing more about what CarbonWA does in the future, and I’ll keep holding out hope that my home state can lead the way on good climate policy.
I’m a supporter from Philadelphia. Since I heard the details of what you guys were doing, I thought that you had it right. I was relieved that finally someone was advocating for THE sensible policy for carbon-dioxide emissions. I’m not wealthy and could only make small contributions. I couldn’t help with the in person campaign because I live 2500 miles away.
I just want to say that I’m sorry it didn’t work out this election (And boy, it’s not just this good proposal that was voted down). I hope that you’ll keep me on the mailing list for whatever you do next.
I thank you for all the wonderful work you put into this. In fact, you did win: You’ve ignited just the right conversation at the right time. The results were surprising, and now we know who we really need to talk to — our friends on the “left.”
I was particularly dismayed by my Sierra Club. They were functioning on some serious misconceptions. I agree that with Trump in charge, it’s going to be up to the states to do something.
Over here in CCL we’re already talking about reaching out to those groups who opposed you.
All the best and congratulations on a valiant effort. This will not die here.
You did an outstanding job Yoram.
Your team worked hard, strategically, and with conviction. You have been leaders and have made a strong mark on the future. All your work was worth it. Thank you.
Hi Yoram, Duncan, Kyle,
Thanks so much for your work, passion, and sacrifice over the last couple years of the campaign. I’m super-bummed that the policy, which is so deserving of 100% voter support, got less. I don’t have much wisdom to offer on ways forward yet, but I value your friendships tremendously and feel like that part at least is a permanent win.
I’ll keep at it with CCL Whidbey and when we find the way forward I’ll forward it as an attachment.
Yes, congratulations on all of that Yoram. I’m really proud of what you’ve done and honored to know you.
Yoram, I am proud, and especially proud of your vision in introducing the tax. And I’m still pissed as hell at members of what I really thought were part of my core environmental community not supporting the initiative. I’ll get over it and I know we will all have to work together, but I think it was an incredibly poor choice on their part.
In any case, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for how incredibly hard you worked on this initiative. Carbon pricing is imperative, and at the very least, all your hard efforts raised a lot more awareness about it. I cant tell you how many excellent conversations I have had around the entire issue of pricing- even getting it in communities’ dialogs is huge.
Thank you again- I look forward to new Carbon WA adventures.
Loved your work and your commitment.
My only suggestion is to involve all the stake holders in the next iteration to thrash out a measure that everyone but polluters love.
I’m terribly disappointed at the reaction of the environmental ngos, bet they’re sorry now that we have Trump and so little time to get it right.
I am terrified of Trump – that he’ll undo all the progress that’s been achieved under President Obama. I think we need to figure out a way to influence the national agenda – maybe through the budget process.
And thank you, Yoram, for starting this. keeping us well informed, educating us, and pushing hard all the way thru. You did a great job.
I would like Carbon WA to join with Citizens Climate Lobby and promote the Fee and Dividend plan that they have. I believe if we can all come together and agree on a single plan we would have more strength. I would like Carbon WA to promote Citizens Climate Lobby fee and dividend on the state level in Washington.
I collected signatures last fall for I-732. I also went door to door in my precinct and passed out flyers at the local library. I wrote four letters to the editor and held a promotion of I-732 at our church. A large percentage of people I talked to were in favor of doing something about climate change. Some people did not like the idea of a carbon tax, because they didn’t want any more taxes even if I mentioned the sales tax would go down 1%.
I like the idea of a fee and dividend because the money collected would go directly back to the people and from what I have learned it seems that people would very much be in favor in such a plan. It is a very simple plan and easy to understand I believe it should only go to registered citizens.
I would like to thank the staff at Carbon Washington for all the work they have done to promote I-732. I believe we have really gotten the ball rolling in the fight to combat climate change.
Thank you for all of your tireless work! I’m glad to see that you are not giving up! This was a start! This vote opened up the opportunities for dialogue.
Yoram, Kyle, Duncan, Greg, and all of the Carbon Washington board members,
I want to thank you for running such an open, honest, and fair campaign. I appreciate your responsiveness to my questions and caring about what I have had to say. This such an important part of communicating.
We know that someday a carbon tax will be part of the solution to climate change in this country. You are the first ones to put an initiative like this before voters.
Please pass this on to the rest of the CW leadership.
As far as next steps, please keep me in the loop on your ideas for going forward. There is interest in our [ ] group for continuing to work with you.
Thank you, Yoram, for your years of work. Personally, I hope everyone will look, not only to legislators, but also to a future initiative; any chance of coming to agreement soon with opposing environmental groups? I will be awaiting further news.
Great, high-road email.
Having collected many signatures , sensing the urgent need for action on global warming , I strongly urge you and us to join efforts with the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy , to pass a stronger more effective measure that more people support , especially people of color , environmental and Union groups .
Yes, in many ways this campaign WAS very successful. Unquestionably, It has moved Washington State climate discourse further along and into everyday life. It took a lot of courage to take this on in the first place. If not already under way, might debriefing those involved and writing the genesis of a carbon tax initiative planning manual help others in the future accomplish similar goals?.
Despite falling a little short, I-732 was certainly worth it personally, socially rewarding and even fun. Thanks again to everyone for giving it your best.
All obvious, but it seems like overtures and negotiations need to start at once with the Sierra Club, the governor and all the other environmental groups which did not support CarbonWa. Remember that thing about “together we can make a difference.” Also need to do a lot of work in Eastern Washington to get them on board. King County is mostly there already so we have to convince those east of the mountains that their economic interests are also served by addressing climate change.
The downfall of the Initiative appears to be contention over whether the results would really be revenue neutral. Either simplification of the idea (I found it hard to explain and justify to listeners) or more conservative figures might result in success. The idea is actually kind of a no brainer – we just have to get those with no brains to buy in.
Thanks for all your work, and we will continue to be supporters.
Thanks for the upbeat message l I am short on ideas but will support any plausible plans.
My conclusion from all that happened, is that we could succeed on a second attempt–but some things need to be altered. We can not forget that we got 41% of the population to say yes to a carbon TAX, even with opposition on the left and right, the governor and Democratic party not supporting us, labor against us, major media recommending against us, and lots of lies being spread around. Amazing. We got a solid 25-30% in even the most Republican areas. We have built a base and many opposing us felt very guilty. We got amazing national attention. The Trump victory can be a potent tool for us…showing the “uniting the left” is NOT the way forward.
We have a strong base and we should take advantage of it. I think we should do it again…as soon as possible. The wording needs to change “carbon tax SWAP” and more importantly, revenue neutrality needs to be specified and concrete…that will neutralize the most powerful argument against us. The only reason to deviate from neutrality is to use funds for a very concrete jobs/infrastructure program. No vague climate justice nonsense. I talked to some of my Republican friends and they might support that. Examples: powerline infrastructure, specific mass transit improvements, etc.
And we will have to sit down and talk frankly with the left leaning opponents against us. They clearly have their psychological needs that need attending to. Tell them you are giving them something major: absolute neutrality, so their fears of loss of state income are taken care of. Push the tax regressivity issue more strongly, and perhaps offer them the climate jobs angle. And point out that the Trump victory shows that we have to work in a bipartisan way.
Anyway, my intuition is that the second time could be the charm with some modest modifications
many thanks to you and your team for what you have done. Repeat, many thanks.
I am so proud of all of you and our efforts! It was an honor to work with all of you! At [ ] Earth Day, 2 times, and West Seattle. So sorry the stiff necked 34th dems were so much in opposition. I don’t think they even read the facts. Just listened to the initial opposition. The campaign was so much fun and an educational experience. I don’t regret a minute. Thanks for your positive message. I finally and regretfully took my sign down today. Please keep up the good work in all you do.
I got to wondering how it could be that in a state that re-elected Democrats for most executive positions (including a governor that has made climate change an issue), that elected a “green” commissioner of public lands, that voted to increase the minimum wage, and that voted to ask congress to overturn Citizens United, I-732 could have fared so poorly?
Ultimately, one would like to know how individual voters parsed their ballots on these separate issues. Those data are unavailable (with good reason), but I thought it might be illuminating to look at how individual counties fell out on a few of these issues. Doing so is only a coarse measure, but to some degree, counties tend to have political “personalities”. It’s striking that Inslee won 10 counties, Franz won 7 (because of their size, enough to get her the statewide win), and I-1433 (minimum wage increase) won 15 counties. I-732 won only 2 (San Juan and King). Particularly given the unusual nature of the opposition to I-732 (coming from groups who have little else in common), I wondered if counties could tell us something about why it lost.
I’ve compared the votes for I732 with 2 contrasting races that seem to me to be most instructive: For public lands commissioner, where state voters chose a ‘protect the environment’-focused candidate over one more qualified by his military-like approach to firefighting; and I-1433, the closest issue on the ballot attempting to redress a bit the discrepancy between the working poor and wealthier voters.
Below, I’ve attached simple graphs, showing the proportion supporting I-732, by county, as a function of the proportion supporting Hilary Franz (over her opponent) and support I-1433. First, these data were incomplete when I downloaded them, and I recognize more votes were still coming in from some big counties (e.g., King) than from some smaller ones. I don’t think that matters much here, because while the uncounted votes were unrepresentative statewide, they were probably a reasonably random sample of votes within each county. Second, I realize of course that this simple graph (and the simple linear regression) doesn’t illustrate the actual importance of votes by county, because it treats each county equally (whereas they varied greatly in votes cast, thus in their influence on the outcome). But again, here I’m only interested in seeing if there are counties that diverge from the overall pattern, and if so, what we can learn from that. So, for this are treated as if they are individual voters.
The dotted orange line represents the statewide pattern of votes for I732 relative to votes for Franz. Even though most counties voted against both, if the orange line were to have gotten closer to the blue (1:1) line, I732 would have done as well as Franz did. The individual dots (counties indicated by 2-letter initials) indicate their divergence from the statewide pattern. Counties above the orange dotted line were more supportive of I732 relative to their support of Franz than the state generally; below the dotted line liked Franz relative to their feelings about I732 more than the state generally.
Of note is that King County – the most populous in the state by far – sits right on the line. I found this interesting, because I’d speculated that much of the “I-732 doesn’t go far enough to address the concerns of urban/disadvantaged/etc” vote would be centered in King County (and thus would go for Franz much more strongly than for I732), and besides, almost 40% of votes I732 got came from this one county alone. But while you can argue that we’d have come closer to winning had King supported I732 more than it did (51.4% vs. 41% statewide), there’s no indication that voters there were any more likely to split their ticket (e.g., Yes on Franz, no on 732) than statewide generally. Counties that tended to buck the statewide trend in a positive way for I732 (i.e., less than average loss in support for I732 relative to that for Franz) included San Juan, Whitman (which includes Pullman; WSU) Whatcom, Kitsap, Island, and Chelan. Counties that disliked I732 even more than they disliked Franz included Ferry, Cowlitz, and Mason (not sure what to make of that list!)
Similar interpretation for the graph illustrating support for I732 as a function of support for I433. Surprisingly, if anything, King County voters (while as we know, preferring I433 to I732) were above the statewide line. (As were, again Whatcom and Whitman, this time joined by Spokane, Walla Walla, and Yakima, although of course they voted against both).
I’ll be happy to be corrected by folks who know more about Washington politics than I, but off-hand, I’m not seeing indications here that I732 was sunk by the “it’s not perfect” crowd. Rather, it seems that there was a general, rather across-the-board sense of “oh sure, we’re all for the environment, and we favor paying people at the low-end of the wage scale more than they currently get, but don’t mention taxes to me, and don’t raise my gas price! Let somebody else figure out how to combat climate change”.
It also seems to me that while to win in future, one needs to get good support (and good turn-out) from the counties expected to be supportive of climate change policy e.g., King, San Juan, Whitman), in a statewide race, there is only so much opposition one can sustain from the lower-population (and generally more conservative) counties east of the mountains. One might never expect to get > 50% support from some of these counties, but it certainly was damaging that so many counties were < 40% (e.g., Spokane at 33%, Clark at 35%, Benton at 28%).
First of all, thank you. You did important work, and have some real accomplishments. I am proud to have donated to your effort, and proud in the last few weeks that I seem to persuaded a few waverers to vote for your proposal.
Secondly, I’m glad that you’ve turned around and started talking about next steps so quickly!
But going forward, I hope that your strategy will be very responsive to what the Alliance for Jobs & Clean Energy does. Personally, I’m feeling a lot of bitterness towards them right now, but I know that has to be put behind us. If they get their act together and actually present a fleshed-out proposal that can be passed, I’ll do what I can to help, and I’d love to see you put your considerable talent and energy behind it too.
I take two lessons from our failure to get I-732 passed:
* Bipartisanism doesn’t get us very far. Or to put this another way: your achievements in getting some conservatives to sign up were impressive enough that I doubt a future campaign would do any better, and yet still weren’t enough to get the measure passed. So I think it’s worth sacrificing the potential bipartisan gain of making the measure revenue neutral, in favour of broadening the coalition by spreading the benefits of new revenue wisely.
* Division within the left killed us. In a state with Washington’s overall political balance, if the left had united behind this, those few conservatives you picked up could have carried us over the line. So if next year we have two duelling campaigns, we’re going to fail again.
The reason I’m so glad you’re pressing forward right now is that I haven’t heard a peep out of the Alliance since the election, and frankly that’s freaking me out. I spent half an hour swimming laps yesterday, making a mental list of all the huge coastal cities we’ll lose if we don’t do better on climate change (yeah, I’m a weirdo, but I’m guessing you can understand this). But if they do come through with a credible plan and serious lobbying effort in the coming legislative session, then the most effective thing we can all do is throw our weight behind them.
I was proud to included in your team.
You have not listed Brady Walkinshaw as one of the important endorsers of 732. He is well-respected among the House members. I want to suggest that you ask him and Rob McKenna to be a team to make a presentation to House Committee Day. Frankly, I would go to the legislature with the message,”This has substantial support of the people. Perhaps with fine tuning it would be supported by a majority. Could you introduce it with the objective of doing that fine tuning through committee hearings.” Since we still have the crazy from Bellingham in charge of the Senate committee I would ask McKenna if he is willing to take on the job of getting him to be constructive and to work on a bill that he and Democrats can support. I think the attitude in the House will be that the Senate has to go first because of his past obstructionism on even minor bills.
And thanks for all your hard work that got it this far. Excelsior.
Responding to your call for suggestions,
1. A next effort at a carbon tax should devote All of its income to
sales tax reduction. The attempt to divert some of it to ‘other
worthwhile causes’ opens the door for the ‘Mafia Principal’: every
agency with a little leverage insists on a bit of the vigorish.
2. If at all possible, get the governor on your side.
3. Yes, I know, 1&2 together may be inherently difficult to
accomplish. Real Politics may insist that The Gov be the Capo
di tutti Capii. Sigh.
Kudos to you and your team for all that you have been about to do with I-732. I lobbied for it here in the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Conservation Committee (with success) and with the Dungeness River Management Team (not so successful). There were so many disappointments with the just completed election that I have drawn back to a figurative fetal position the past 4 days. No TV news, no newspapers. I am sure I will emerge again eventually but it is a very tough time to think about the future.
Your efforts, as you note, have established a firm foundation of knowledge that needs to be spread like a virus, in this case a good one..
I believe that one thing that contributed to the defeat of our initiative was the fact that we did not have all environmental groups agreeing with the approach. I don’t know how much negotiation was done in designing the initiative, but I hope that as we go forward we can get a better consensus among all big environmental groups. I liked the revenue neutral approach, but some did not. Hopefully, we can find a compromise which most can buy into. We can’t afford to be fighting among ourselves.
Ideally, we could work with the legislature to craft a viable law. I dislike legislating by initiative and usually vote against them, because they are invariably lopsided in favor of a single constituency. That’s because no compromise is needed in crafting them. The legislature guarantees that all the major parties have worked out their differences.
Thank you for all you have done on behalf of mother Earth and its inhabitants!
You put together an amazing effort.
70% in my precinct : Bellingham 258
Yorum, I agree with your assessment.
Keeping those 1M +/- voters engaged will guarantee you a seat at the table for the next round
OK, Ranker wouldn’t support a measure that could possibly result in a shortfall. What changes would he (or his ilk) want that would assure this wouldn’t happen? Is anyone talking with him?
Bills passed by the legislature can be titled far more freely than we could with the initiative.
1) Yoram- first I want to thank you and your team for tireless, committed, values-driven work that is tremendously important. I know there was a personal toll and that there were many difficulties, especially with “politics”, but I am proud to know you and proud of the work you all have led.
2) Re: thoughts/advice for the future, I have one big bit of advice,especially as you note given that leadership is likely to really be a problem from DC in terms of climate change:
It is time for the CaWa folks to engage the AJCE folks and work as diligently as possible to bridge the gap that honestly has demoralized much of the environmental community in our state. I would ask Ca Wa to bring knowledge, expertise, “grass roots” strength, and learnings to date TO THE TABLE and help the healing that must happen so that we can move ahead, hopefully with support from Jay Inslee, and pass meaningful legislation as quickly as possible along with appropriate regulatory schemes and other approaches.
Thanks for asking. I think the highest and best use of the Ca Wa energy at this time is to aggressively pursue healing and moving on together in the environmental community in our state.
I am disappointed that we didn’t win this, but I’ll be with you when we do it again.
Yoram, you are the hero of this remarkable odyssey. We came far closer than anyone would have expected and, as you say, the seed has been planted. None of it would have happened without you—your place in history is assured.
For now: I am very interested in trying to help do what can be done locally and regionally to move decent carbon policy along.
P.S. I think in the next few months it might even be possible to chip away at Trump’s intransigence on climate. (If someone could only persuade him that jobs could come from a rational program—whereas nothing good will come from an irrational one—)
I don’t know what to say…so disappointed. Thank You from the bottom of my heart for what you did. We need to not despair and keep fighting for whats right.
Regardless of the outcome, you accomplished a lot. Whoever ultimately pulls this off will owe a lot to you.
I hope you are taking a much-deserved break after the election! I just wanted to write and tell you a couple things.
First, speaking as an almost-economist, I want to tell you how glad and thankful I am that you decided not to become the next Nordhaus or Stern (although you certainly could have!) and instead have devoted however-many years now to this cause. I’m quite sure the world will join me in thanking you someday also.
Second, I was kind of angry that 732 didn’t pass and was not 100% calmed down when I decided to write an LTE to the Seattle Times. And, apparently they are going to use it. So, that happened. Hopefully it’s not too harsh but I do think it’s worth letting people know that there are many of us out there who are disappointed but will continue to fight. (I’ll paste below so you can read it.)
Lastly, my family and I are actually going to be moving to San Diego soon (so possibly seceding from the union?!?) but I am looking forward to following the efforts of Carbon WA from afar, and I really want to continue supporting you guys in whatever way I can. If you need someone who’s good with STATA, for example, please hit me up!!
—– LTE —— [printed with permission from the writer]
As an environmentalist, I am sad and angry that I-732 did not pass. I’m disappointed in those who voted no without taking the time to learn about it, and with the Sierra Club (because the ones you love hurt you the most) for failing to endorse the best piece of climate legislation that has ever been introduced in the US.
But at times like this it’s important to remember the plank in one’s own eye as well. Last year I gathered signatures for 732, which pushed me out of my comfort zone. Later when my schedule as a grad student and mom of two young children got “too busy”, I donated money to 732 instead of time. But, although I’m no salesperson, I could have and should have done more.
Now I vow to myself two things – first, I will never again hold my tongue because I’m afraid of making someone uncomfortable. And second, I will donate more time to this cause, even if it delays the completion of my economics PhD. What would be the point in making a career out of teaching students the elegance and efficiency of a carbon tax if I were unwilling to stand up and do something about it when there was an opportunity to enact one?
In the midst of the pain around this election, I see more than ever that we are going to have to fight like hell at the state level if we want to retain any environmental protections. 732 failed because it split environmental groups. How can I help get this passed the second time around? Are there other avenues to pursue?
I live in Okanagan County. I will do whatever I can from here to help move this forward. Let’s get a carbon tax and lead the country by example. Please feel free to call me at [ ], or email me at this address. Let’s get to work.
Count on more support from us in the future. I will arrange a sabbatical from my work so that I can volunteer much more.
We have some ideas which might help your next campaign.
The main one is a statewide series of Chautauqua-like educational presentations by well-known science and economics luminaries like James Hansen, Stephen Chu, David Suzuki, Robert Reich, Joseph Stieglitz, Paul Volker, and Hank Paulson that leads from September up through the election. And some actors and actresses for sizzle. And prominent Republicans and conservatives like Bob Inglis and Katherine Hayhoe. Every chamber of commerce, college, and civic group in medium and large cities.
Also, looking carefully at the list of contributors to the No campaign, I believe careful and patient groundwork would convince many of them to be neutral. And maybe even supportive. The growers and other food producers which are organized as trade associations or cooperatives will yield to their members. I’d be willing to work on that. That way, the petroleum, cement, and Koch Bros contributors would stand naked in their self-interested opposition — deprived of the umbrella of popular contributors.
Finally, perhaps Oregon is the state for the next initiative. We’ll have a big general election in 2018 since our Governor-elect Kate Brown is simply serving out the balance of her predecessor’s term and must stand for re-election in November, 2018. We’re a smaller state with a record of successful innovative initiatives. I know three well-respected Republican leaders in Oregon with whom you could consult about this.
Rest up, and let us know when you want our help.
I wanted to share my personal thanks for your tremendous leadership. Through sheer determination and conviction, you achieved such a significant step forward for our climate. While we are all deeply disappointed in the loss, I am so proud to have been a part of this important effort to advance public commitment to addressing climate change. And I agree with you that a carbon tax is the tool we need.
If there’s more, I’m in! Leadership within our state is so much more critical than it was a week ago. Let me know what I can do.
I was sad to see that 732 didn’t make it. Here’s hoping not too much time will be lost waiting for the alternative that will no doubt come.
Thank you for your leadership and the enormous amount of energy you put into it.
Bravo for your daring, courageous and brilliantly waged campaign. I’m proud to have been a small part of it.
Best to you both and all of the great hearts at CarbonWA
My sincere condolences, Yoram. I know you put your whole self into this effort, and I love you.
We have disagreed about a lot of things and agreed about a lot of things along the way. I know some of my decisions have disappointed you. And vice versa.
But today, I just want to applaud your extreme, tireless, awesome, amazing, selfless exertions for a cause that desperately needs some victories.
Let’s talk about what happens next – after you’ve had a well-deserved break.
Hope you’re doing ok. I’m sorry we don’t have a carbon tax, but I’m so proud and awed by your effort. We don’t have a carbon tax, but the world is more ready for one.
I was riding my bike home from work today and thinking about you and how hard you worked on the initiative. So I just wanted to tell you thank you, and that you stood up for the right thing.
Thank you for all your work to make a big difference on climate change Yoram. I’m so sad 732 didn’t pass as well as other results. I believe America can survive a Trump presidency but I fear the earth can not endure this setback. There is only one way to find out and I not only pray we prevail, I hope to get more directly involved in the near future in some way. Perhaps our paths will cross some day.
Rheanna, thanks for your thoughtful, perceptive, and encouraging message to all of us here in the Bellingham/Whatcom County area. In many ways the I-732 effort was a great success for all the reasons you mentioned. Carbon Washington was willing to step up to the plate when no one else would; Carbon Washington took a swing at the ball when no one else did. We may not have hit a home run but we have surely put runners on base. And as you say, climate change efforts will continue well into the future.
On a personal note, your commitment, focus, and organizational skills this past year have been very impressive to me. Among your many efforts I know you talked to lots of folks and groups. i had the opportunity to hear your presentation last month at the League of Women Voters Forum. As I’ve told you it was articulate, clear, and concise as to what I-732 was all about; it’s too bad all state voters couldn’t have seen it.
Best wishes for your future.
That was a hell of a ride!
I hope that you, the executive committee, and Washington Audubon take a while to let the political and institutional fallout of the election take place before deciding on the future of CarbonWA.
The craziest idea occurred to me this evening in that it might make sense to retry I-732 in 2018. If Trump is successful in diminishing major governmental environmental agencies and safeguards the national focus and hopefully support for the initiative would be more significant. 2017 could be spent working on grassroots education throughout the state, and the signature gathering and push to November would be done in 2018. Despite our loss in the election, the strongest, most well organized, and active environmental group in the state is CarbonWA.
Finally, it was four years ago this month that I attended the panel discussion with you, Bob Inglis, Mike Wallace, and Todd Meyers talking about possibly having a carbon tax in Washington State. How far we have come!
First, congratulations to you and the whole team. You’ve done a great job with the campaign on minimal funding and without much help from other organizations.
I’m guessing that you’ll make some sort of speech on Tuesday night and that it will include thank you’s to many people and groups.
Could you also please mention Citizens’ Climate Lobby when you’re in “thank you mode?” Here’s why:
1. We were early endorsers. I was at the 2014 meeting in Bellevue where Duncan Clauson presented the initiative and asked for our endorsement. We gave it.
2. CCL volunteers collected thousands of signatures and called thousands of voters. And donated money, too. And wrote LTE’s.
3. Out-of-state CCL volunteers made phone calls for the campaign.
4. Last, but not least, CCL will be making it’s big push in 2017 to convince Congress to pass nationwide carbon fee-and-dividend legislation. I-732, win or lose, has shown the way for this. A shout-out from you for our upcoming 2017 work would be much appreciated.
One more thought – isn’t it true that this is the first time a carbon tax has been on a ballot anywhere? If so, then we are going to totally smash the world record for number of people voting yes for a carbon tax . . .
today is the last day that I’m wearing my campaign t-shirt. It did a good job for all of us, but I’m really tired of looking like a flour sack in teal blue!
You did a great job. I am so impressed. I really enjoyed advocating for this initiative, and I hope the people of Washington are progressive enough to vote FOR this.
Not sure if I can make it down to Peddler tonight, but wanted to congratulate you wholeheartedly on the huge achievement of CarbonWA and I-732.
Being as wrapped up in CCL as I am, I can fully appreciate the forward movement that I-732 has brought about for carbon pricing. It is finally on the national agenda – so we in CCL now have much more to work with in DC. And that is no small feat. So, here’s to WINNING if it is to be, and if not, we will keep on keepin’ on, and get there one way or another.
I wonder if you have musings to share that might be useful to us next week. We will be having our targeted lobby day on November 15, and I have reason to hope that we will again get a face-to-face meeting with Maria Cantwell. One issue we’re not quite sure how to spin is the meaning of I-732, as in what are the lessons learned. Certainly the obvious one is not to take the progressive bloc for granted, but beyond that. We are finally getting to that point where the inevitability of carbon pricing is obvious to most, with the biggest undecided issue being what to do with the proceeds. As you know, CCL has been devoted to a 100% dividend, but that is far from universally accepted on either side of the aisle. And we are not wedded to any particular solution, as long as it’s effective in mitigating climate change. Ideas for us on where to go from here, given your experience with I-732?
I just wanted to say thanks for all your hard work, and for doing everything you can to craft and pass I-732. I wish I could have done more to help. In any case, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for some positive new late tonight.
I want to tell you how much I appreciate your hard work on I 732. I no longer live in Washington, so did not get the chance to vote on this, but when I heard about it I immediately recognized it as the most exciting initiative in my memory. I was not able to do much, but I was able to gain some votes among friends and family in Spokane and Snohomish counties.
You got so much push back that it blew my mind. Even the Economist’s coverage was neutral, despite their long standing support of a carbon tax. And the constant references to you as a “stand-up economist”–as if that negated your well-studied ideas–were infuriating. I wish I could have done more.
We lost, but I still think it was a big step forward (for me, at least). I deeply appreciate your passion and hard work. This campaign inspired me to be more politically active.
Thanks, best of luck, and please keep me in the loop for any future endeavors of yours.
PS In case you’re having trouble placing me, I TAed for you and Tom in 2010 for ENVIR 100. I learned a lot from you that quarter, and think of your lecture every time I hear “Nothing Ever Hurt Like You”.
Haven’t voted yet? All ballots must be postmarked today or put in a drop box by 8 p.m. this evening. (Find your nearest drop box.)
Haven’t made up your mind about Initiative 732? Here are a few articles to read:
Whatever your political persuasion, today’s your day to celebrate democracy and exercise your franchise. Your vote is valuable. Please use it!
P.S. If you want to join us to watch the election returns you’ll find us — starting at 6:30 p.m. — at Peddler Brewing Company (1514 NW Leary Way, Seattle). If you’re on Facebook, you can find the event here and invite other supporters.
YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY is back for another must-see season. In the video posted here, Don Cheadle, Nikki Reed, Ian Somerhalder (who have all endorsed I-732) and others make the case to “Put a Price on Carbon.”
Watch YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on the National Geographic channel. Each YOLD correspondent – including top Hollywood stars recognized for their commitment to spotlighting and acting on the biggest issues of our time – delves into a different impact of climate change. In the show’s second season, they cross the globe not only to discover the devastating impacts climate change is already having, but to also find the solutions that can solve the crisis.
Famed environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., has weighed in on I-732. Writing in EcoWatch, Kennedy says “Washington state voters have a profound duty to support Initiative 732, our nation’s first carbon tax.
“By making Washington the premier American government to place a price on carbon, Evergreen voters will pioneer the trail away from our deadly carbon addiction and its murderous offspring: climate chaos . . .”
Kennedy also emphasizes the national importance of I-732: “By voting yes on I-732, Washingtonians will not just preserve the environment for children. They will pave the way for a national transition to the clean energy future.
“I hope Washington voters will step up and show the federal government that the visionary, idealistic, can-do leadership is alive and well in America and it’s living in Washington state.”