MEDIA STATEMENT ON GOVERNOR’S CARBON PROPOSAL
We support effective, equitable, economically sound, evidence-based, and politically feasible carbon-reduction policies. We are encouraged by what we heard outlined in the Governor’s carbon tax proposal today, and we will continue to review and provide analysis on it in the coming days.
We believe effective climate policy requires bipartisan support, and the Governor’s proposal offers a great opportunity to begin overdue conversations on both sides of the aisle — as well as from Washington’s environmental, business and progressive groups — about how to move forward.
The legislature has already waited too long to take action on climate. As we’ve said many times, the climate won’t wait. 60 days is plenty of time for the legislature to act on this issue. We urge and expect our elected officials to demonstrate leadership and take much-needed action on climate this session. (more…)
Hello, CarbonWA friends: Happy new year! A number of you were unable to read our previous newsletter due to a technical glitch, so to catch you up: We published a blog analyzing whether a city could pursue a carbon price to reach its climate goals, and we announced that we exceeded our match (!!!) from November, raising over $8,000 against our original goal of $4,000. Read on for a summary of our work in 2017 in what was a year of transition and advocacy for CarbonWA, along with an update on upcoming events for the legislative session.
As the legislative session kicks off, review our analysis of the upcoming legislative session’s prospects, check out the recent support for carbon pricing from Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz, see this piece in the Olympian from Representative Drew MacEwen opposing a carbon tax (where he holds up the Scandinavian nations as models, but fails to mention that they all rely on carbon-pricing systems…whoops!), then see the recent announcement from The Nature Conservancy, Quinault Tribe and the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy that they’ve agreed to work together on a potential initiative. Be sure to stay tuned for more on potential initiatives and an analysis of the governor’s forthcoming carbon pricing proposal. (more…)
San Francisco, 18 December (Argus) — Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D) will try to take advantage of a new Democratic majority in the Legislature to pass a carbon pricing bill next year.
Inslee on 14 December proposed using a price on carbon to support the state’s primary and secondary education system and end a long-running fight with lawmakers over how best to comply with a 2012 court ruling that said the state had not adequately funded its schools.
“This is the best way that I believe is both fiscally responsible, fulfills our educational mandate to our kids, and simultaneously gives our kids a Washington state that is not ravaged by climate change,” Inslee said. “We need to act.” . . .
Advocates for a carbon price in Washington say that the momentum is on their side.
“We think it is a question of when, not if, the state will adopt a carbon pricing program,” said Kyle Murphy, executive director of Carbon Washington, which sponsored an unsuccessful carbon tax ballot initiative in 2016.
Murphy framed Inslee’s proposal as an opening bid and said he expects lawmakers to submit different versions of carbon pricing bills next year.
Despite the obstacles standing in the way of climate legislation, Kyle Murphy, Executive Director of Carbon Washington, says there will be a 2018 climate initiative.
According to a legislation prospect analysis from Carbon Washington, the landscape to pass climate legislation will be tougher this year than it was in 2017. The property tax increase last year will likely hamper the willingness of legislators to come back to the table with another potential tax increase, and trying to find a compromise on revenue continues to divide those who wish to see climate legislation pass.
“We find that for carbon pricing and big climate legislation, this legislative session is not impossible, but it’s hard,” says Murphy. “However, there will be a 2018 Climate Initiative. It’s unclear yet who will lead it and what the substance of the policy will be, but we intend to make it a reality.”
ACT NOW (Advocates for a Carbon Tax NOW) is a growing coalition of volunteers and more than 30 organizations including Carbon Washington, Audubon Washington, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), League of Women Voters, American Sustainable Business Council, Conservatives for Environmental Reform and others that want to see a carbon tax pass during this legislative session. (You can see the entire list of members and read more about our mission here.)
If you are a part of an organization that would like to join the ACT NOW coalition, email Kyle@carbonwa.org and let’s chat!
Join ACT NOW in advocating for a price on carbon. We need help from volunteers, organizers, and activists to shape a winnable policy for 2018.
Through March 9 (throughout the 2018 legislative session) we will meet remotely on every first and third Thursday. Email email@example.com to get the meeting log-in information.
January 18: 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
February 1: 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
February 15: 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
March 1: 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
March 15: 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
We meet monthly via Zoom (join by phone or web). There are no membership fees or requirements, just an interest in building a coalition.
To join ACT NOW calls, install Zoom to your computer or phone.
Join via web: Go to https://zoom.us/j/2590508548.
Join via phone +16699006833 and enter meeting ID (259 050 8548).
A report prepared by Carbon Washington members and funded by the Carbon Tax Center says that loans tied to property (rather than individuals) would help propel clean energy and energy-efficiency measures — but Washington State’s constitution prohibits them.
The report is called “Washington State Climate Change Education and Policy Exploration.” The section on “Barriers to Property-Assessed Clean Energy Programs in Washington State” explains how property-assessed clean energy — or PACE — programs work.
Such programs provide “financing for clean energy and energy efficiency measures for commercial and residential buildings, in which the financing is attached to the property, not the owner. As of mid-2017, nineteen states have active PACE programs with funded projects, and another fourteen states, plus Washington D.C., have active PACE legislation.” PACE programs address a critical contributor to our carbon footprint — aging, inefficient buildings.
The report says the PACE approach has been effective. “Since 2009, commercial PACE programs have financed an estimated 1,030 projects, providing approximately $400 million in financing for energy updates. During the same period, residential PACE programs have financed over 150,000 projects through $3.7 billion in home upgrades.”
About half the upgrades deal with energy efficiency, such as HVAC systems, LED lighting, installing energy efficiency appliances, and water conservation upgrades. In second place: renewable energy upgrades (mainly solar panel installations). These upgrades dramatically reduce the energy and environmental impacts of the renovated buildings.
PACE has been discussed in Washington State, but a thorough public review of the opportunity for Washington to enact such a program has not been undertaken until now. Unfortunately, PACE financing is not available in Washington, nor is it likely to be without amending the state’s constitution. PACE attaches the loan bill to the property tax and uses the authority of the state as a financial entity to collect the loan payments. The constitution prohibits the state from acting as a creditor or a loan pass through in a provision commonly referred to as “lending of the state’s credit.”
The report’s authors consulted constitutional law experts about a potential work-around. The bottom line: “The only resolution for this structure of the program appears to be a constitutional amendment.”
The report was researched and written by Megan Conaway, Rheanna Johnston, Kyle Murphy and Blake Wedekind.