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. Sharon is an environmental economist at WWU, and she’s the Democratic candidate running in the 42nd District, a district that Hillary Clinton, Patty Murray, and Jay Inslee all won in 2016. The incumbent, Vincent Buys, is a Trump supporter who’s taken money from tobacco giant Philip Morris; and whose climate position appears to be “If Washington State eliminated all greenhouse gas emissions…we would only see a twenty-five one hundred thousandths of a degree of temperature reduction.” We’d tell you more, but, well, we promised you good news. We’ll be upfront in saying that Carbon Washington as an organization is still thinking about how to engage in the election this fall. And, if Vincent Buys gets a real climate position between now and the election we’d love to talk to him about it. But until that happens, we encourage you to check out Sharon’s webpagefacebook, and consider supporting her with your time or money.

Image result for sharon shewmake state legislature

National Fee & Dividend Gains Support and Critics 

One of our favorite partner organizations, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), has been diligently building a grassroots movement for climate action and a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend. As the fee-and-dividend effort gains more steam and attention, it’s also taking its fair share of criticism. As noteworthy former Republican leaders like Trent Lott, George Shultz and Hank Paulson join the effort in support, skepticism from climate hawks (like David Roberts) and hardcore conservatives (like Grover Norquist) has also picked up. You can follow the debate below:

David Roberts VOX: Energy Lobbyists Have a New PAC to Push For a Carbon Tax, Wait, What?

Carbon Tax Center: Another Climate Dividend Group; Will it Matter?

NY Times: Here’s How to Break the Climate Impasse (by Trent Lott (R) and John Breaux (D).

Our take is somewhere in between these pieces: more optimistic than the Carbon Tax Center, less so than the NY Times piece, and mostly in disagreement with the Roberts piece. The Trump administration makes bipartisan climate efforts extremely difficult, so a little skepticism is warranted. But, Roberts and Charles Komanoff both fail to mention that Lindsey Graham recently endorsed a price on carbon. They are also a little too hard on the bipartisan climate caucus, as it’s just a couple years old. Still, we need to put some pressure on the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus to produce a policy win — even a small one. But, no other national climate plan is on the verge of passing either, so we ought to give the centrist approach spearheaded by Climate Leadership Council and CCL the room to succeed or fail on its own merits. Keep it front of mind that the critics of the effort, like the League of Conservation Voters, have also thus far failed to pass any major climate policy nationally.

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— The CarbonWA Team