Category: News

Seattle, WA – September 25, 2018 – Carbon Washington, the organization behind the state’s 2016 ballot initiative to put a price on carbon (I-732), has endorsed two legislative candidates in Washington’s 47th District (Kent-Auburn-Covington): Republican State Sen. Joe Fain, who is running for re-election, and Democrat Debra Entenman, a Democrat running for state representative.

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Sen. Joe Fain

“Sen. Fain has been one of the most consistent Republican voices on climate change,” said Kyle Murphy, Executive Director of Carbon Washington. “He supported Initiative 732 and continues to bring a true bipartisan spirit to solving the challenges associated with climate change. We applaud his courage tackling a complex and urgent issue.”

“Combating climate change requires sober thinking and reasoned action based on the best available science,” said Fain in response to a questionnaire distributed by Carbon Washington to candidates running for legislative office in Washington.

Debra Entenman

Carbon Washington also endorsed Debra Entenman, who is running for state representative. “Entenman is committed to addressing climate change through smart policy and strongly supports the transition to renewable energy sources,” said Murphy. “Meanwhile, her opponent, Incumbent Mark Hargrove, does not have a sensible position on climate issues. For voters who care about addressing climate change and protecting future generations, the choice is clear.”

“I believe that climate change is real, caused by the use of fossil fuels and can be slowed and reversed by legislative policies,” said Entenman in her questionnaire. “[These] may include cap and trade, fees and pricing, and EPA policies that include reductions in auto emissions.”

Update (10/25): We remain concerned about the sexual misconduct allegations against Sen. Fain made on Sept. 27, after he received our endorsement. Sen. Fain has requested an investigation, which we believe is the appropriate course. We will continue to monitor the situation.
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Hello, CarbonWA friends: Thanks to everyone who chipped in from our last e-newsletter to raise over $1,000 for Dr. Sharon Shewmake, the environmental economist running for state House in the 42nd! And, the movement for a price on carbon continues to spread beyond humble beginnings in Washington State. Read on for exciting progress. Plus, CarbonWA is preparing to endorse bipartisan climate advocates for state legislature.

Electing a Climate Majority + Blog on Kids Lawsuit

We discuss the recent dismissal of the Youth climate lawsuit in Washington State on our blog, and what it means for climate advocates. The summary is that it’s essential to elect a climate majority in the state legislature as the state court system closes off executive and legal avenues to climate action, and that we’ve got to do more than just elect candidates who talk a good game but can’t back it up. So, we’ve created a candidate questionnaire (check out the questionnaire our website) to evaluate candidates state legislature for endorsement and our support. (more…)

The Youth Climate Trial that has meandered through Washington’s court system has stalled for the moment.

The case, pursued by eight young petitioners and supported by attorneys from the Western Environmental Law Center and Our Children’s Trust, asserts that the state is failing to protect young people from climate change impacts, and that young people have a right to a stable climate under the Washington State Constitution and the Public Trust Doctrine. King County Superior Court Judge Michael Scott has dismissed the case as of August 14. However, the plaintiff’s plan to appeal, so we don’t expect this to be the last word on the case. Read more about the legal background and the trajectory of the case: https://www.ourchildrenstrust.org/washington  

Despite the failure to compel state action, the case holds a number of lessons for climate advocates as we advance policies to reduce carbon emissions.  (more…)

 

2018 State Legislative Endorsement Questionnaire

Smart Climate Action Leader Endorsements: Carbon Washington is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to reducing carbon emissions and addressing climate change. We support legislative candidates that are committed to bipartisanship and who push for carbon reduction policies that are effective and economically efficient. Endorsed candidates will be highlighted through Carbon Washington’s 5,000+ email list, targeted social media posts, and may be eligible for additional financial and campaign support. Carbon Washington supporters recently raised over $1,000 for a legislative candidate and we intend highlight additional legislative leaders in the coming months.

 

Instructions: Please complete the following questions and email them to Carbon Washington at info@carbonwa.org and/or kyle@carbonwa.org BY 9/7/2018. Candidates can download the endorsement as a word document here: Candidate endorsement questionnaire

 

Candidate Name
Position Sought
Campaign Contact Information Email:

Phone:
Main point of contact:

 

Question Y/N
Do you agree that climate change is primarily caused by burning fossil fuels?
Do you believe legislators should develop policies to responsibly reduce carbon emissions?
The vast majority of economists agree a price on carbon is the most efficient way to reduce carbon emissions. Do you support putting a price on carbon?

 

  • If you support a price on carbon, what is your preferred design or your most important considerations (ie revenue neutrality, cap & trade, worker retraining, etc.) ? If you do not support carbon pricing, what do you think is the best approach to reducing emissions?

 

  • Are there other carbon reduction/clean energy policies you support?

 

  • Do you see addressing climate change as fitting within your party’s core values, and if so, how?

 

  • If elected, what is one thing you would do to try to advance carbon reduction policies at the state, local, or national level?

 

  • Are there specific issues facing your district that are connected to climate change? Can Carbon Washington provide technical or political help in solving these challenges?

 

  • Please provide a short public quote regarding your position on passing policies that reduce carbon emissions and advance clean energy that we can share with our supporters.

 

Hello, CarbonWA friends: The I-1631 effort is about to turn in their signatures (so turn ’em in if you got ’em!), a CarbonWA supporter is running for the state legislature, and debate is heating up over whether a national bipartisan revenue-neutral carbon fee effort is going to work or not. Read on for more!

Climate Action is Heading Back to the Ballot! 

The Yes on 1631 initiative effort is closing in on the signature deadline and they are asking folks to turn in their signatures to the Seattle office by June 30 or on July 2 at the Olympia turn-in event (more details on Facebook). Rumor has it the initiative is going to qualify, thanks in part to a strong volunteer effort, and we are assuming it’s going to move forward to the ballot in the fall. CarbonWA is supporting 1631. You can explore our full take on the strengths and weaknesses of the approach in our analysis of 1631.

A Race for State Legislature to Watch!

One of the primary reasons our effort to put a price on carbon fell short last legislative session was the lack of climate-focused lawmakers in both parties. That’s why we are so excited that Sharon Shewmake, a CarbonWA supporter from Bellingham, was so inspired by our grassroots efforts to act on climate that she’s running for state legislature to help make it happen.  (more…)

Hello, CarbonWA friends: The movement for a price on carbon in Washington State has put a few points on the board! Read on to learn more, and, don’t forget that I-1631 is gathering signatures right now — so if you want to get involved, go directly to the campaign website and review our analysis to learn more about the policy.

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New UTC Rules Require Utilities to Include Price on Carbon 

In Washington State, our private utilities (Puget Sound Energy, Avista, and PacificCorp) are regulated by a body called the Utilities and Transportation Commission or UTC. Two former UTC commissioners actually sit on the CarbonWA board. The UTC’s job is to ensure private utilities follow the law and don’t take advantage of consumers, among other things. Utilities must have their rate increases and many other financial decisions impacting consumers approved by the UTC. And utilities are required to undertake a long term planning process that is overseen by the UTC (known as the Integrated Resource Plans or IRPs). The UTC has just determined that future IRP’s MUST include a price on carbon (of $40 per ton) as part of their economic analysis. This decision isn’t legally prohibiting the utilities from building fossil fuel plants in the future. But, the UTC is clearly telling utilities: if you build a fossil fuel plant that isn’t profitable with a price on carbon, we won’t consider that a prudent investment for which consumers should be on the hook.

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Hello, CarbonWA friends: The movement for a price on carbon in Washington State has put a few points on the board! Read on to learn more, and, don’t forget that I-1631 is gathering signatures right now so if you want to get involved go directly to the campaign website and review our analysis to learn more about the policy.

 

New UTC Rules Require Utilities to Include Price on Carbon 

In Washington State, our private utilities (Puget Sound Energy, Avista, and PacificCorp) are regulated by a body called the Utilities and Transportation Commission or UTC. Two former UTC commissioners actually sit on the CarbonWA board. The UTC’s job is to ensure private utilities follow the law and don’t take advantage of consumers, among other things. Utilities must have their rate increases and many other financial decisions impacting consumers approved by the UTC. And, utilities are required to undertake a long term planning process that is overseen by the UTC (known as the Integrated Resource Plans or IRPs). The UTC has just determined that future IRP’s MUST include a price on carbon (of $40 per ton) as part of their economic analysis. This decision isn’t legally prohibiting the utilities from building fossil fuel plants in the future. But, the UTC is clearly telling utilities: if you build a fossil fuel plant that isn’t profitable with a price on carbon, we won’t consider that a prudent investment for which consumers should be on the hook. The new rule won’t make a big impact on existing coal plants, but it will make it more likely that when existing coal plants eventually shut down, those plants will be replaced by a greater mixture of renewables and a lesser mixture of fossil fuels. This is an important regulatory shift that will reduce carbon.

We supported a bill last session that would have created a carbon price requirement in utility plans, and while the bill had bipartisan support, it wasn’t able to get the attention it needed in the short session to pass. We are pleased the UTC decided it didn’t need to wait any longer to take responsible, sensible action on climate change. Furthermore, we take this as evidence that our shared work to advance climate action and a sensible price on carbon is gaining traction.

   

More Carbon Pricing Media & Next Steps

The carbon tax push from the last legislative session was nicely pulled together by S&P Global News Defeated in Legislature Carbon Tax Advocates Eye Washington Ballot Initiative”. The piece features quotes from CarbonWA and our partners including, “Despite failing to pass, 6203 set in motion a process that will lead to a price on carbon in the next two years” from Senator Reuven Carlyle, and “elements of the business community decided they’d rather spend millions fighting ballot initiatives rather than locking in a compromise now” from CarbonWA. From I-732, to SB 6203, to I-1631 to the recent UTC decision, carbon pricing is becoming closer and closer to a reality in Washington.

After the lengthy initiative campaign from 2014-2016, and two legislative blitzes last year and this year to advance a price on carbon, many key members of CarbonWA are slowing down for a moment to catch our breath. Don’t worry if we are a little bit quieter over the coming months as we evaluate the political landscape ahead and chart our path. If you want to get more involved as a volunteer running our non-profit, assisting with blog posts, or community organizing please email kyle@carbonwa.org with some more information about your background and interests.

Other Climate News!
Want to get caught up on recent climate news? We suggest checking out the following stories:

Hello, CarbonWA friends: May the 4th be with you! We hope you channel the energy from Star Wars (or your favorite movie) to help make climate action happen!

Making change beyond Earth Day 

Another Earth Day has come and gone with many familiar pledges and suggestions circulating to hike more, get a reusable shopping bag, or start recycling. That’s all well and good, but, with climate change growing ever more urgent, we wanted to share some ideas for how you might seriously step up your climate-action game. We often think about climate and environmental actions as fitting into two categories: “me” actions and “we” actions. A “me” action is personal action you can take (like giving up beef or changing how you commute), without the help of others, that can help to reduce your personal impact. “Me” actions are important because they help you to live your values, and because they can encourage others in your personal network to follow suit. But no amount of bicycling and light bulb changing will stop global warming if we don’t also take “we” actions. “We” actions are political actions you can take, with the help of others, to get our entire economy shifted to be more sustainable and earth-friendly. A strong climate pledge would be to take one bold “me” action and one bold “we” action this year. (more…)

Statement from Carbon Washington’s Board of Directors 

Climate change is the critical issue of our time. Carbon Washington supports Initiative 1631 because we have a moral responsibility to protect our children and grandchildren by tackling climate change now to leave them a cleaner, healthier, and safer world.

Our state legislature has failed to enact any of the serious carbon reduction proposals that were introduced over the past 10 years. We are running out of time to prevent the extreme climate impacts that will occur with continued reliance on fossil energy. The unusual weather events our region experienced in some recent years provide a preview of those impacts. We saw record-low winter snowpack combined with record-high summer heat stress on forests, crops, fish, and workers; warmer and more acidic coastal waters; and more severe storms driving flooding, landslides, erosion, and polluted runoff. The citizens of Washington simply cannot afford to wait any longer for their elected officials to take action on this threat to our economy, communities, and way of life.

A strong, steadily rising price on carbon pollution is the most effective, and our preferred, policy tool for reducing emissions. I-1631 would enact a meaningful price on carbon while funding projects to advance clean energy resources, energy efficiency, electrification of transportation and heating, sequestration of carbon in natural lands, and other actions that reduce emissions. I-1631 would also fund important investments in forest and water resources to help adapt to the impacts of climate change in our state.

We are pleased that the sponsors of I-1631 have put a serious plan on the table. Carbon Washington has provided extensive analysis of the measure and how it compares to previous carbon pricing proposals (SB 6203 and I-732). Though we have concerns about some of the policy choices made by the authors of I-1631, we believe that, on balance, the measure is worth supporting. As we said many times in our campaigns to pass I-732 and subsequent carbon tax legislation, we cannot afford to let perfect be the enemy of good.

Washington State is well positioned to show the nation that carbon pricing can both reduce emissions and help create the prosperous clean energy economy of the future. We encourage Washington voters to sign the petition to put I-1631 on the November ballot.

 

Media inquiries: Email communications@carbonwa.org or call Samara Villasenor at 206-478-5643.

Hello, CarbonWA friends:

We Support I-1631! 

After another round of legislative inaction, a ballot initiative is moving forward to put a price on carbon. We’ve taken a close look at the policy, collected feedback from our supporters, and held a robust internal discussion about the initiative. As a result, we are moving forward in support of I-1631. You can see our full statement below. But, before you make up your own mind, we’d encourage you to review our recent in-depth analysis of the initiative (including a comparison matrix, exploration of wonky details, and a carbon reduction ranking).

While the 1631 policy differs in some ways from the approaches we’ve seen in recent years, we also see it as an outgrowth of the grassroots energy that put the first carbon tax in the nation on the ballot and has since led to a surge of serious legislative proposals. I-1631 also has the extra boost of a very favorable ballot title ruling from the Attorney General’s office (something the I-732 effort struggled with), and a recent upholding of the title against legal challenges from the Association of Washington Business and a conservative activist (who we don’t know much about except that his website logo is of sasquatch toppling the Olympia capitol). Read on for the reasoning behind our support of I-1631. (more…)