Just days after its introduction, a Carbon Washington-backed bill promoting sustainable farming has accumulated a powerful and bipartisan list of sponsors in the Legislature. Senate Bill 5947, the Sustainable Farms and Fields Grants bill provides financial assistance to farmers and ranchers that adopt changes in management practices that reduce fossil fuel inputs and increase the quantity of carbon stored on their land.
Introduced in both chambers with Democratic and Republican backing on Feb. 15, the bill now has 16 sponsors representing an equal number of legislators in each party.
With agriculture accounting for about 10% of nationwide carbon emissions, and with farmers on the front lines of climate related events like heat waves and droughts, it is critical to invest in sustainable farming practices. Carbon Washington, along with the American Farmland Trust and the Washington Association of Conservation districts, has made passage of this bill a top priority, conducting outreach and research to support the legislative process. Other organizations that support the bill include the American Farmland Trust, Tulalip Tribe, PCC Community Markets, WA Dairy Federation, Washington Forest Protection Association, Audubon Washington, and The Nature Conservancy. (more…)
Inside Olympia: Biochar Roaring Back
Following a year of work by Carbon Washington, an important and innovative policy to promote the use of biochar is moving forward in the Washington state Legislature, clearing the first committee last week unanimously, opening possibilities for sequestering carbon and fortifying farmland.
Biochar, a form of charcoal produced from biomass sources like forest deadfall, offers several environmental and agricultural benefits. For instance, it sequesters carbon in soils for hundreds and possibly thousands of years while also decreasing the amount of fuel for wildfires. Agriculture benefits from the nutrients biochar infuses in the soil, which increases crop yields.
Want to keep track of all the climate legislation being considered in Olympia? Thanks to longtime Carbon Washington supporter Thad Curtz, that’s now easy.
Curtz has created a blog called “Climate at the Legislature.” It includes a detailed page about each bill (easily found via search), calendars for hearings and other events, and a host of “push” features, including emails and calendar updates.
Curtz retired after 35 years on the faculty of Evergreen State College, where he taught literature and developmental psychology. In addition to Carbon Washington, he supports Audubon, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and other organizations.
Carbon Washington’s Bill Boyd talked with Curtz about how and why he set up the blog:
CarbonWA: Thad, how’d you get the idea for this?
Thad Curtz: One of my state representatives — Beth Doglio — invited constituents to come to a meeting about what was coming up in the session. She wanted to do more to keep people up to date about what’s going on in the legislature. CarbonWA’s Greg Rock was also saying we need something to help grassroots people track and summarize bills. I had done a lot of work on websites for political candidates and nonprofits, so I set up shop to make it happen. This seemed like a good way to be useful. (more…)
Like to organize events and programs? Do you have political experience? Are you passionate about curbing climate change — and looking to make a difference?
This job may be for you.
We are hiring a temporary advocacy coordinator to assist Carbon Washington with our legislative session work.
Thanks in part to our campaigning this fall, we have elected more climate advocates to the legislature than ever before.
Now, we need to take advantage of a friendlier legislature to move climate bills forward. We are hiring a part time coordinator to maximize the political will for climate action. With the help of the coordinator, we will execute advocacy programs designed to increase the chances of passing important climate measures toward 100% clean energy, a price on carbon, low-carbon fuels, electric vehicles, and more.
Read the job description (and how to apply).
There is mounting evidence that a growing majority of Americans are concerned about climate change and support climate action. While Initiative 1631 failed to attract majority support, that does not change the fact that Yale University’s extensive research shows 70 percent of Washington voters believe global warming is happening and would support regulations on carbon emissions. Voters are demanding a solution, even if they didn’t accept this one.
I-1631 deserves praise for attracting a broad coalition of support, including from Carbon Washington. Yet the policy failed to attract bipartisan support and contained elements that caused concern, as we highlighted in our analysis of the proposal. Opponents argued a better policy was needed.
The opponents must now stand by their word in calling for a better proposal. We invite supporters and opponents of 1631 to join us in working on proposals that reduce carbon and promise a prosperous, healthy future. Carbon Washington will continue to advocate for solutions that can bridge our deep partisan divides, not enlarge them, and that are effective, equitable, and economically sound. But we cannot do this work alone. We urge everyone, Republicans and Democrats, energy companies and community activists, opponents and proponents of 1631, to join us in the spirit of compromise to fulfill our sacred duty to protect our kids and common home. (more…)
Hello, CarbonWA friends: In case you missed it, we released the essential climate change voters’ guide for Washington State! It identifies a number of key races that we need to win for climate action at the state level. Vote, donate, and volunteer because the climate is on the line this election. Don’t believe us? Take a look at the just released IPCC report which projects greater impact and cost of climate change than earlier reports and urges nations to seriously reduce emissions over the next decade.
The Pragmatic Case for 1631
If you’ve been following the Initiative 1631 debate, you’ve probably seen that we endorsed the initiative, but also that some of CarbonWA’s friends and allies are landing on both sides of this one. We’ll level with you: I-1631 isn’t perfect. We liked some of the previous carbon pricing iterations better. But if you are on the fence please read our pragmatic case for why we want you to vote yes: (more…)