Campaign News

Hello carbon tax friends: It’s taken us quite a while to re-engage, but I’m happy to announce that CarbonWA is back in action! Details below about our new plan, plus other news, readings, and events.

New plan: The short version is that we’re going to target the November 2016 ballot with an Initiative to the Legislature (description here) that would involve collecting signatures from March through December of 2015. The long version begins by celebrating (or at least acknowledging) our accomplishments from last year: We ironed out most of the kinks in our legal ballot language, we transitioned to a great new database system, we hired two terrific organizers to help at key points, and we built a network of supporters and collected pledges for 100,000 signatures… all that with a ton of volunteer effort and a budget of about $7500, which happens to be what we still have left in the bank to help us move forward. And I also want to be clear about where we fell short: Our legal ballot language was still a little rough around the edges, our 100,000 signature pledges fell well short of the 300,000 needed to get on the ballot, and we were unable to build the coalition we had hoped for in support of our effort. And of course it would have helped to have had more time and more money. Our new target gives us more time—we will begin collecting signatures about a year from now to get on the November 2016 ballot—and we have confidence that we will be able to raise additional money and support as needed once we start moving forward again. There are of course plenty of hurdles coming up, but after taking a few months off I’m excited to be able to devote considerable time and energy to this in the months ahead. Comments and questions are welcome on the (moderated) blog post located here on our website.

How you can help: One way we’ll prepare for next year is by collecting a list of promising signature-gathering events (street fairs, film festivals, other annual events), so check your local newspaper or calendar for April events and add them (with web links and other where-and-when info) to the comment section on the blog post located here. Please also add other ideas for helping out as we get back into gear, and of course you can also take action by pledging to collect signatures or donating to the campaign.

Other news: At the end of the legislative session last month, five Democrats in the state House introduced a carbon tax bill (HB 2803) that would impose a carbon tax of $20 per ton of CO2 and devote the resulting revenue to fund education. The bill died when the legislative session ended, but it’s evidence that carbon pricing continues to be on the agenda in Olympia.

Good reads: One great thing about being here in Washington is reading amazing op-eds like Sara Cate’s “Carbon tax and rebate” from the Yakima Herald and Bob Hallahan’s “It’s time to tackle climate change with carbon tax” from the Everett Herald (which also wrote a carbon tax editorial last year). Lots more to come, but for now let me just add that in my role as a carbon tax fellow at Sightline Institute I’ve started working on a series of blog posts with executive director Alan Durning; the first two installments are about the B.C. carbon tax after 5 years and about carbon pricing prospects in Oregon.

Events: If you missed Governor Inslee yesterday at UW, the video is here (or you can catch him at the Climate Solutions breakfast on May 19 in Seattle). If you’re looking for immediate inspiration, climate scientist David Kroodsma is giving talks about The Bicycle Diaries: My 21,000-Mile Ride for the Climate on April 2 (today!) in Seattle, April 3 in Olympia, and April 4 in Lake Forest Park. And I’ll be part of an Oregon carbon tax panel on April 3 (tomorrow!) in Portland and also doing comedy-and-carbon-tax talks in the Tri-Cities and Yakima April 23-24 (some of them joint with the terrific folks at Citizens Climate Lobby).

More soon, but for now… it’s great to be back!

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