May 2017

Goal of the week: Will you help us tell legislators to take action on climate change? We are holding a phone banking day on Thursday, June 15.  You can join via facebook or RSVP form.   Share this event with your family and friends to maximize our impact!

There are multiple bills introduced that could finally put a price on carbon in Washington State. It’s still a long shot to getting anything passed. Legislators tell us they do not hear enough from their own districts!  Join now and make your voice heard. No one else will do this for us!  

Current carbon tax bills: HB 1646, SB 5127, SB 5385, SB 5930. To read any of these bills, go to, and search by bill number (for example “1646”).  We will share more information about each of these bills through our email blast. Sign up to learn more.

If you’re looking for events: On Wed., May 31, attend Climate Science on Tap’s presentation of “Hell and High Water: Global Warming” at Peddler Brewing from 7:00 – 8:30 pm.  Hear about sea level rises — their causes and impacts — throughout the Puget Sound. Hear from a fascinating panel that includes the director of the UW’s Program on Climate Change, specialists from Seattle Public Utilities, and environmental scientists from the Tulalip Tribes.

The goal this week: ask friends to write their legislators. Share your email to legislators with them as a guide, or share these tips.

1. Even if legislators do not take action, we need to remind them that we demand policies to decrease emissions and increase resiliency. Special interests are already talking to legislators, prioritizing their profits over our future. If we do not make our voices heard, you can bet that other interests will be represented.

2. You can find your legislators using Facebook’s Town Hall tool, or at Find Your District. You can find your legislators’ contact information here.

3.  Tell them why you care about climate action, and how they can help. You can advocate for a particular policy, or show your support for carbon pricing in general. Legislators care about what their district wants, and as a constituent you need to show why this is important to you.  

Join us for a “Carbon Taxes Happy Hour” this Tuesday, May 23, from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at Big Time Brewery in the University District. Invite your friends, too! We are welcoming new members and reuniting with old friends.

Over the next few months of the legislature’s special session, we have an opportunity to pass an effective carbon tax. Even if nothing passes this session, we need to show that people in our state still want a carbon tax.  

Find your legislators.  Use Facebook’s Town Hall tool, or Find Your District. Click here for all the emails.

If you are a fan of texting, consider the Resistbot. Just text “RESIST” to 50409. It helps you send a message to your members of congress.  Keep this handy when important federal bills come to light. This is important, because federal action does affect the Puget Sound directly.

For this week’s action item, read briefly over the homepage to learn about your legislators’ advocacy. Your letter should be a short email to thanking them for their service, and asking whether they could support a carbon tax. For reference, you can also check if they supported I-732, and be sure to thank them, if they did.

In mid-June, we are hosting a statewide phonebank to our legislators. You can RSVP here.  

ACT NOW on Climate

Phil Jones and Howard Behar call for a carbon tax in the Seattle Times

If you didn’t catch our op-ed in the Seattle Times “A Carbon Tax is Right for Our Environment and Economy”, go back and read it now. Phil Jones, a Republican and former UTC commissioner (and new CarbonWA board member) joined former Starbucks President (and CarbonWA supporter) Howard Behar to call on the legislature to take action this year.

“As a moderate Republican and an independent, we don’t always see eye to eye on how to solve some of society’s biggest challenges. But on climate change we agree: Taxing the sources of carbon pollution is a pragmatic, bipartisan, common-sense solution.”

Once you’ve read the Seattle Times piece, read Charlotte Omoto’s op-ed for CarbonWA in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, “Carbon Tax Helps Environment, Boosts Economy.”

Then, check out this Washington State Wire discussion between conservative leaning journalist Keith Phillips and CarbonWA ED Kyle Murphy about passing a carbon tax this year. The Wire’s takeaway from the discussion is that a carbon tax can easily pass as long as it’s revenue neutral. If you still haven’t had enough, check out supporter Merv Montacute’s LTE about the ACT NOW lobby day, and his message to his representative(more…)

Now is the time to learn how to write a letter to the editor (LTE)!  You can begin with this guide to writing letters, or contact for help.  Once a month, Citizen’s Climate Lobby hosts letter writing workshops in Seattle, which can be tailored into LTEs.

To start, list 3 – 5 things that will be impacted in your community. Even though there are global impacts, it is easier to convince others to act when they can understand how things will affect them. Also, it is easier to convince policymakers to act when you present clear solutions.  Listen to the recent NPR interview on how to have productive conversations about climate change. “Viable solutions are what people can often agree on first,” according to Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist and communications expert.

For some talking points on the consequences of inaction, visit the King County impacts assessment, the UW Climate Impact Group, or the state Department of Ecology. The impacts include decreasing snowpacks, declining salmon, increased risk of forest fires, flooding, acidification, pest infestations, and heat waves.  

For insights on solutions, the Washington State Wire recently interviewed our executive director, Kyle Murphy. He was asked what policy would appeal to all political players. Kyle responded, “I would urge everyone to worry less about the other players, and worry more about the world we are leaving for our kids in 20 years.”  

The Stranger also featured an op-ed from representatives of the Quinault Indian Nation, who say “if the Legislature cannot agree on a robust carbon tax that provides billions of dollars in new environmental funding, then the Legislature should leave the creation of a climate change policy to the people of Washington via an initiative.”   

The goal is to get published in one paper this week, so try to submit to three newspapers.  If you get a letter published, let us know and we’ll give you a shout out!   

Most of all, write about what matters to you. We need to convince others to act, so make it clear why you are writing and how they can help.

A clear action item is to call on your legislators to pass a carbon tax this session. You can join CarbonWA and other members of ACT Now (Advocates for a Carbon Tax Now!) for a phone-banking lobby day in June (more details to follow). To invite others, share this RSVP form or ask them to email

Week 1 (May 1-7):  Learn about the various proposals and think about what is important to you. .

The carbon tax bills: The Seattle Weekly was among the first to cover Senator Palumbo’s carbon tax bill, introduced on April 20th. Carbon Washington provided an analysis of this bill (SB 5930). Earlier, in January, Investigate West pointed to a possible sticking point in the governor’s carbon tax proposal. Any proposal will likely undergo significant changes during the budget negotiation, so don’t count out any bill just yet. This was signaled in the joint article by Crosscut/Investigate West published earlier in session.  

The bill sponsored by Representative Joe Fitzgibbon and backed by the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy (HB 1646) would spend the money on a clean-energy transition, and would not direct any funds towards education. It received a partial support from 350 Seattle,which wanted amendments to the bill “to include stronger emission-reduction goals that are included in HB 1372.” CarbonWA has taken a neutral position; our testimony on the bill is here.  

Senator Hobbs’ bill (SB 5385) was introduced early, and is currently in the Senate Energy & Environment committee. It would direct half of the money to K-12 transportation. The remaining share is spread out for stormwater funds, habitat restoration, energy investment, and highway maintenance. Senator Palumbo’s bill, SB 5930, in many ways is an updated version of Hobbs’ bill. You can read our analysis of Palumbo’s bill here.

Governor Inslee’s proposal (SB 5127) is currently in the Senate Rules Committee.  The majority of revenue is directed towards K-12 education, and the remaining is spread out for “energy efficiency, electrification of transportation, and other activities that will further cut greenhouse gas emissions in the state.” Audubon WA supported both the Governor’s and Alliance bills. 350 Seattle did not endorse this bill, “based on its limited funding for green energy, its failure to address climate justice, and because of its exemption for the state’s only coal-burning power plant.” CarbonWA is generally supportive of this bill but is concerned about the coal exemption.

Don’t get too fixated on a single proposal, because it is likely that these bills will be heavily modified if any one of them is to pass. Instead, think about the most important factors for you and be prepared to communicate them to your legislators. For CarbonWA, the important thing is that any bill be effective, equitable, and politically feasible.

On the national level, carbon taxes are gaining momentum. Although Republican lawmakers are hesitant to introduce legislation, many have vocally supported the idea of a carbon tax, such as the one modeled by the Climate Leadership Council. This approach received commentary in the Washington Post and by Charles Komanoff from the Carbon Tax Center. This presents an opportunity to think about what’s important in a policy. With an initiative process, like I-732, we avoided many of the political tradeoffs. All of these articles highlight the difficulties that a carbon tax will face through the legislative process.

Kyle Murphy“Our long-term game plan is to build a grassroots climate organization where citizens are in charge and where moderates and conservatives can come to the table with liberals as partners. We believe if you get citizens and leaders from all political backgrounds working together, we’ll get good outcomes and that a low carbon future can actually be a really prosperous one, too.”

That’s just part of what Carbon Washington Executive Director Kyle Murphy told Washington State Wire’s Keith Schipper. In a wide-ranging interview, Murphy also discusses the lack of progressive support for Initiative 732, the prospects for the carbon-tax bills now before the legislature, and why a carbon tax (that doesn’t hurt low-income families) is such a good idea. (more…)