Hello, CarbonWA friends: We hope the holiday season has brought joy to you and your families. For us, it also brought introspection about how we can best advance our shared goals of a low-carbon, healthy, prosperous future.

To that end, read on for our reflections, a policy update, and what YOU CAN DO to advance climate action.

Together Is the Way Forward

We still face the challenge of constructing a climate policy that appeals to people who want action but who have different ideas about how to implement it. Those differences in perspectives have contributed to several setbacks in recent years. The defeat of Initiative 1631 in November followed a loss for Initiative 732 in 2016 and the absence of legislation from lawmakers the last two legislative sessions. Tellingly, some who liked one of the initiatives did not support the other. In fact, I-1631 received more support than I-732 in certain counties, while losing support compared to I-732 in other counties (more on 1631 v 732 here), underscoring the divergence in views. Pragmatism, bipartisanship, and compromise are desperately needed to get further next time.

Still, the election results gave us some help despite the loss of I-1631. Five of the seven climate champions Carbon Washington endorsed and campaigned for won their races. We have never been better positioned to pass climate legislation in Olympia.

Whatever specific direction we decide to take on climate policy now, it’s clear that we have the will and the ability to address climate change. But, even if the state legislature has enough votes to pass some form of climate legislation this year, we should heavily engage the legislative process and ensure the laws are substantive and deliver the change we need.

Without question, the residents of Washington want action. We can shape a legacy that shines and benefits the people of this state for years to come: a thriving and healthy place with a lasting quality of life.

Climate Policy in 2019

A number of climate-related bills are being introduced in advance of the session which begins on January 14th. CarbonWA supporter Thad Curtz has set up a fantastic resource at tracking and outlining key bills.

We expect major legislative pushes in the first part of the session on bills to move toward 100% clean electricity, a low carbon fuel standard, and biochar. Some insiders are eager to proclaim the carbon tax dead, but two lawmakers we endorsed have already announced plans to introduce carbon-pricing measures. Sharon Shewmake is looking into a revenue-neutral approach with a dividend stating, “It should be that reducing pollution saves you money,” while Senator Steve Hobbs has proposed using a modest carbon tax to fund a transportation package. So, we expect another robust discussion around carbon pricing in addition to action on important piecemeal policies.

Amid a flurry of new bills and all of the attention on Gov. Inslee’s climate-focused potential presidential run, let’s not forget that Washington lawmakers have still not delivered substantive climate action. To that end, we are organizing an entire month of climate action! 

1/14 to 2/14 – Month of Climate Action! (Sign Up Here)

The best way we can push our lawmakers to make climate their top priority is to open the session with a sustained grassroots focus on climate action. We are also discussing a late-session climate lobby day (so stay tuned), but our first task is a show of force for action on climate. You can SIGN UP HERE to take action!

Step 1: Choose your action(s)

– Write a letter to the editor

– Post on social media and tag your legislators

– Attend a legislative town hall and speak up for climate action

– Join an organized lobby day (the Environmental Priorities Coalition is holding one on January 29th – more info here).

– Create your own lobby day: find a time that you can make it to Olympia and we’ll help you schedule yours meetings and we can send a CarbonWA expert with you.

– Attend a local climate event (the best local calendar is the Cascadia Climate Action Calendar)

Step 2: Use our sign-up form to choose your action(s) – SIGN UP HERE

By signing up, you will receive specific help from us on your action(s) and we can connect you with other activists in your area to amplify your efforts.

Step 3: Stay tuned for more updates from CarbonWA!

We’ll be releasing updates as climate bills are introduced and sending weekly updates for each action of the month! We’ll also give shout-outs to anyone who completes three or more actions! Our first round of shout-outs are to Clif Swiggett, Phil Singer, and Zach Stednick for helping get climate month off the ground and Thad Curtz for the website!

Like what you’re reading? Help us continue to represent your views and give you the straight scoop on what’s happening. Your donation will multiply our effectiveness.

– The CarbonWA Team