Campaign News

Hello carbon tax friends: Thank you for the hundreds of emails you’ve sent us with comments and questions, and for your comments on the blog and on our conference call last night.

Our Executive Committee met today and discussed an updated (more detailed) version of the alternative proposal. We debated the issues and considered arguments on both sides raised by the Executive Committee and by our grassroots base. After almost 3 hours it became clear that the Executive Committee would not accept the alternative proposal in its current form and that there was no chance of modifying the alternative proposal in the very short time frame remaining that would change the Executive Committee’s decision.

Here are some additional comments from our Executive Committee and from our campaign co-directors (who together with other staff members were part of some if not all of the discussions of the past weeks):

  • “Incredible support for 732 from our members, plus a belief that 732 is the best policy.”
  • “Thank you to The Nature Conservancy, Washington Environmental Council, Climate Solutions, and others for their sincere efforts. The gulf was simply too large to cross with the limited time between now and our deadline.”
  • “This was a good faith effort on all sides, but time was short and the bar was high. The process we all went through—especially in the past 48 hours, but also in the time leading up to it—was imperfect and incredibly difficult, but we needed to hear from our grassroots base before making a decision.”
  • “I would emphasize the strong feelings we heard from our base and the very short timeframe for answering difficult questions about specifics.”
  • “We are going with 732 because it’s a better policy for the state and the nation and we all feel loyalty to our volunteers and each other.”
  • “And wish all a happy holiday weekend. Back to work next week!”

Please turn in all remaining signature pages!

Our mailing address is PO Box 85565, Seattle WA 98145-1565, or if you want to visit the office in person we’re at 1914 N 34th St, Suite 407, near Gas Works Park in Seattle, office phone 206-632-1805. We will be doing our final signature turn-in at Secretary of State’s office in Olympia on W Dec 30, so that’s our drop-dead no-kidding-around final deadline… and email or or me ( if you’re interested in joining the turn-in.




Update M Dec 28: Email comments

Here are relevant excerpts (anonymized) from comments I’ve received via email. If your comments are here and are not sufficiently anonymized then please email with details etc.
Date: December 23, 2015 at 9:08:58 PM PST
To: Yoram Bauman <>
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

WOW. OK, can’t wait to hear the debrief, but I imagine you are all exhausted, physically and emotionally. Give me a call when you’ve recovered.

Date: December 23, 2015 at 9:10:54 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Thank you so much for every single thing you have done Yoram. The earth thanks you. We all thank you.

Date: December 23, 2015 at 9:15:28 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

This is a very destructive conclusion if it sticks. I’m disappointed.

Date: December 23, 2015 at 9:15:54 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Thanks.  Good decision.

Date: December 23, 2015 at 9:15:59 PM PST
To: Yoram Bauman <>
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Standing with you !

Date: December 23, 2015 at 9:18:40 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!


Carbon Washington is the only act in town, and under the circumstances likely to remain so.  If the Alliance or their ilk attempt a parallel run, they’re the spoilers, we aren’t.  They had better get aboard because this track has room for only one train.

Date: December 23, 2015 at 9:18:54 PM PST
To: “” <>
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Good choice!  Be well!

Date: December 23, 2015 at 9:19:32 PM PST
To: Yoram Bauman <>
Subject: RE: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!


Date: December 23, 2015 at 9:23:43 PM PST
To: “” <>
Subject: Hooray!!!!! (eom)

Date: December 23, 2015 at 9:24:22 PM PST
To: “” <>
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Excellent Decision!  I apologize for not calling you today; some family medical challenges have preempted my schedule.

I will try you tomorrow, and, failing that, next week. The important thing is that you have remained true to your initiative and all who have worked so hard on its behalf.


Date: December 23, 2015 at 9:24:45 PM PST
To: Yoram Bauman <>
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Yes! Yes! Yes!
732 rocks and so do you. Nothing watered down for this crew.

So happy to get this email.
Where do I give more money. What can I do to help get your baby passed.

I will wear my t-shirt everyday until the election.

Can’t wait to hear all the details.

Date: December 23, 2015 at 9:26:29 PM PST
To: “” <>
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!


I was fearful you all were getting sucked into politics instead of seeking great policy!

So happy to be continuing on!

Date: December 23, 2015 at 9:31:13 PM PST
To: “” <>
Subject: RE: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!


Thank you for the update.

I am saddened by the lost opportunity to work together with our natural political allies. I felt that CarbonWA executive committee members made it clear during the conference call that poll numbers show I-732 will be a difficult sell to voters, that major funding will be necessary to win victory, and that major funders are unwilling to make that commitment in the face of these numbers. I also felt that the “80X” approach was a positive one that would achieve the primary goal of reducing carbon emissions by putting a price on carbon.

I am trying not to feel despair. I am feeling remorse that, although I conveyed my support for the alternative proposal to two staffers, I failed to convey my feelings directly to executive committee members.

I know the committee’s decision was a difficult one. Perhaps, as more is explained and as I reflect on this decision, I will come to see it as a wise one.

I remain grateful for the hard work and commitment of both executive committee and staff.

Date: December 23, 2015 at 9:31:37 PM PST
To: “” <>
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

I’m on board, Yoram.

Date: December 23, 2015 at 9:32:32 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!


Date: December 23, 2015 at 9:33:18 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Bravo! Well done! Yes we can.

Doing my happy dance:)

Date: December 23, 2015 at 9:50:54 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!


Date: December 23, 2015 at 9:56:31 PM PST
To: Yoram Bauman <>
Subject: RE: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

I obviously don’t know the details Yoram, but I’m very sorry to hear about this change of direction.

I also find the argument that 350K people are going to be disappointed in you all for not submitting their signature to be very specious. I understand the volunteers that put a lot of time into gathering the signatures, but the vast majority of the signers didn’t give it more than five seconds of thought and have probably forgotten they even signed the petition.

Anyway, I’m sure you’re exhausted and no one has earned the right to make this decision more than you have. So do what you feel you have to and we’ll all move on.

Date: December 23, 2015 at 9:56:34 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!


I know this has been a difficult decision for you and the CarbonWA campaign. I sincerely appreciate your commitment to a revenue neutral carbon tax policy approach to address climate change and look forward to working with you in the days ahead.

Date: December 23, 2015 at 9:56:56 PM PST
To: <>
Subject: RE: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!



Date: December 23, 2015 at 10:00:57 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Wahoooo! Great call! I am here. Let’s make the world a better place. My talents are at your disposal.

Date: December 23, 2015 at 10:01:14 PM PST
To:, Kyle Murphy
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

This is a big victory. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Congratulations!

Date: December 23, 2015 at 10:01:13 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

I’m pleased to see that you’re staying the course. I believe 732 is the right path for a cleaner future in Washington.

Date: December 23, 2015 at 10:05:44 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!


Date: December 23, 2015 at 10:07:55 PM PST
To: “” <>
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Thanks for the update!  I think this is a good move, but I would support Carbon WA’s decision either way.

And it sounds like we need to highlight “clean water” and “clean forests” in our Pro I-732 ballot statement. 🙂

Date: December 23, 2015 at 10:16:31 PM PST
To: “” <>
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Congrats!!! Really glad to hear this. Best of luck the rest of the way, we can do it! No response required / expected.

Date: December 23, 2015 at 10:20:16 PM PST
To: Yoram Bauman <>
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Yoram:  Thanks for sharing events as they’re happening.  I must say I feel good about this, despite all the odds against I-732 that we’ve discussed over the past few days.  We’ve way over-delivered on signatures.  Let’s keep surprising ourselves.

Date: December 23, 2015 at 10:33:57 PM PST
To: “” <>
Subject: Again, You all rock! great principles and transparency!!

I am proud to be a part of this movement, such ethical leadership you are displaying
thank you, thank you

Date: December 23, 2015 at 10:36:26 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

I agree. A strong but ultimately unsuccessful bipartisan effort is more important than a “left-er than thou” success in a little state like Washington.

Date: December 23, 2015 at 10:40:50 PM PST
To: yoram bauman <>
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Hi Yoram,

Thanks for all the work on this.  I agree for this additional reason: a bird in the hand…  We already have the signatures so it is a done deal.  We should run with it.  We can always negotiate later but this gives us more power.  If we throw the ballot qualification away, we’ve got nothing.

Date: December 23, 2015 at 10:50:52 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Right on!

Date: December 23, 2015 at 10:54:59 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!


Date: December 23, 2015 at 11:17:18 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Thank you .

Date: December 23, 2015 at 11:34:26 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Godspeed, Yoram. An excruciating position for the campaign. Thank you and the Executive Committee for making a clear decision. A lot of pounds of flesh extracted, I know.

Date: December 24, 2015 at 1:02:53 AM PST
To: Yoram Bauman <>
Subject: Good Decision


It will definitely be an uphill battle to educate the voters, but it is quite winnable.  If CarbonWA should lose, I know it would seem an unbearable tragedy to you, but a run would educate and pave the way for future effort.  And if tweaks may become necessary in the future after a win, as one person suggested, a future friendly legislature could work on it.  Nothing stays perfect forever.

Your effort and success so far has been truly amazing.  Now get some rest.

Date: December 22, 2015 at 6:37:03 AM PST
To: Yoram Bauman <>
Subject: Re: Important CarbonWA update

Very thoughtful post, Yoram.  Between you and me, were I in your shoes, I’d go forward. The alternative proposal looks pretty lame.  Yours is much better.  The differences between the two are more profound than are represented by the orthodox enviro community.

My earlier email did not mean to suggest that you stand down.  I only meant to report to you what I was hearing from [ ].  Based on the narrative [ ] told, standing down made some sense.  But … that narrative was incomplete based on what I’m hearing from you in these emails.

Again, I do not have near enough information to advise you intelligently, so take what I say with a major grain of salt.  But the path to policy change requires early defeats.  Your ballot initiative, from what I can tell, has very little chance of success.  But that’s no reason to abandon it.  Even a defeat can move the policy ball.  And often does.  And if it gets in the way of the alternative proposal, so what?  It’s not very good from what I understand.

Date: December 24, 2015 at 7:06:22 AM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

You folks are so, so impressive!!    We are going to make this happen!

Date: December 24, 2015 at 7:18:58 AM PST
To: Yoram Bauman <>
Subject: well done

Yoram — read your e-mail last night from CarbonWA.  You made the right decision at ExCom yesterday.  For both policy, tactical, and Base reasons.  As you may know, I talked to a few people as well.  I know there are many challenges ahead in the Legislature, funding, keeping the momentum going and so on.  But “sticking to your guns” and filing the signatures next week is the right decision.

Date: December 24, 2015 at 7:20:18 AM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Nicely done, Carbon WA team!  Let us know when you’d like to talk 2016.  Meanwhile, enjoy a well deserved break.

Date: December 24, 2015 at 7:46:53 AM PST
To: <>
Subject: RE: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

After listening in on the conference call, I’m pleased to hear this! I-732 really is the better policy. Thank you for your ongoing work on bringing it to our state.

Date: December 24, 2015 at 7:52:20 AM PST
To: “” <>
Subject: RE: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!


I think you need a communications person.

Am I correct that the decision of Carbon WA is to go ahead with I-732? Assuming yes, you should say that at the beginning of your message. Nowhere does you message explicitly say the decision is to go ahead.

To build support to get passage of the initiative, we need better communication!!!!

Date: December 24, 2015 at 8:01:22 AM PST
Subject: RE: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Fantastic news–thanks to you and the Executive Committee for taking the time on Tuesday night to touch base with volunteers, for so thoughtfully presenting the options we faced and deliberating so earnestly.

Now (only partially joking)–leave for the Sec. of State’s office in the AM, in unmarked cars, make sure you aren’t followed by the Alliance. You may want to consider a phalanx of Pruii and Leafs as escorts.   Safe journey.

Enjoy a peaceful holiday–you earned it.

Perhaps the PR around our decision to proceed could be something on the order of “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

I look forward to working with you on the next phase.

Subject: RE: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Thank you!  If anything, this experience has served to unite the CarbonWA team and we will win a YES vote in November.
Happy Holidays to you and your team. Now I hope that you all take a well-deserved break.
In gratitude,

Date: December 24, 2015 at 8:28:42 AM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

It was a hard choice but I agree with the decision.
I am looking forward to the campaign. Carbon neutral tax will be easy to defend against the most likely attacks (“They want your money”, etc)

Date: December 24, 2015 at 8:33:06 AM PST
Subject: To the Executive Committee: Thank you for staying the course

This message is intended for the entire Executive Committee

Thank you for staying the course.

1. It is better policy: transparent, focused on the single goal of pricing carbon emission, and allowing us to debate the other issues separately – as they should be.

2. It is better politics: the danger of climate change has become important issue across the political spectrum, and a revenue-neutral fee without other baggage has the best chance of uniting that support. Our campaign has already demonstrated  large popular support by collecting 350,000 signatures.

3. It fulfills the campaign’s commitment to those of us who have signed the petition, donated to the campaign, and volunteered in support of it.

Date: December 24, 2015 at 8:34:40 AM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Thank you for listening to your base. Although I did not respond, I am in total agreement with your decision. Onward!

Date: December 24, 2015 at 8:50:28 AM PST

To: <>
Subject: RE: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Great work!!  If it happens to go down in Nov. at least the momentum continues… the conversation is high profile and can’t get turned around!

Date: December 24, 2015 at 9:27:46 AM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!


After reading your explanation for why the alternative made sense and hearing from CarbonWA staff and board members on the conference call, I was feeling that the alternative made a lot of sense.  I trusted that you and the board to make the best decision, but was expecting that it would be for the alternative.

Now that the decision was made to go forward with I-732, I’m hearing a strong dismay from some that the decision to stay with I-732 was made so fast and without time for people to digest and perhaps adjust to the idea that the alternative had some strong benefits.  I expect that CarbonWA volunteers have deep distrust of the Alliance group and worry that any alternative initiative would really get sufficient support (particularly from groups in the Alliance that had been so negative toward CarbonWA) to be successful.  Now unfortunately (and disturbing to me) there are some voices who say that you and CarbonWA weren’t serious about even considering the alternative.   Is there any chance that the alternative may still be kept in play?

I do want to thank you and CarbonWA for all the effort you have put into moving us off of fossil fuel energy.  I have tremendous respect for the integrity shown throughout.  I still hope for there to be someway forward that will bring people together behind getting a price on carbon in Washington State next year.  If there is anything I can do to help, let me know.

Date: December 24, 2015 at 9:40:49 AM PST
To: “” <>
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Three cheers on your decision.  I think 732 is better, it’s simpler and closer to what is likely to be done by the federal government if there is ever to be a national carbon tax.  Also, 732 more closely resembles James Hanson’s fee and rebate proposal, and is therefor something of a test case for Hanson’s idea.  Further, the Alliance article I read critiqued 732 because it was essentially “too  Republican;” the sales tax reduction, although a tax cut, reduces a regressive tax.  That is a plus, missing from the alternative proposal.

I hope what  you’ve done sends a message to the rest of the states and the country as a whole, perhaps to the world, that there is public support for taxing carbon and saving the planet.

Ex officio Washingtonian.

I’m sorry to have sent an initial message before the phone virtual meeting based on an incorrect understanding of the alternative proposal, as a cap-and-trade program, not a carbon tax with “green” state programs to enhance the effects of the tax.  I think that was a big problem with the alternative proposal, cycling the tax receipts through state bureaucracy with the hope the funds would be used as intended and not diverted to legislators’ non-climate related pet projects.

Date: December 24, 2015 at 9:56:01 AM PST
To: “” <>
Subject: RE: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!


You did an excellent write-up of the current situation.  I am sorry that I was unable to participate in the conference call a couple of nights ago.

However, had I been able to participate, I would have expressed the same sentiments as the others who called in.

Please let me know how I can help in 2016.  Onward and Upward!

Date: December 24, 2015 at 10:19:35 AM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Hooray, Yoram. This is great news. Good that you went through the consensus crucible and came out both standing and pointed in the right direction.

Date: December 24, 2015 at 10:24:15 AM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!


Date: December 24, 2015 at 10:27:20 AM PST
Subject: Fwd: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

This made me so happy!

Date: December 24, 2015 at 10:37:53 AM PST
Subject: Party after signature turn-in?

My house is available for a post-turn-in party.

Date: December 24, 2015 at 11:47:14 AM PST
To: “” <>
Subject: Glad to hear!

Me again.   Just one other reason why I’d stay with I-732:

As reported in the B’Ham Herald this morning (12-24), the ‘alternative initiative’ would put a fee on carbon (just like 732), “with the revenue dedicated to developing energy efficiency, clean energy initiatives and renewables, and forest and watershed conservation measures.”   These are ALL truly wonderful uses, don’t get me wrong!

But they fly in the face of what “I”, at least, was telling folks:  namely, that the industries being taxed may raise the prices of their products a few cents here and there to cover this new carbon tax (or the ‘person’ in front of me would bring that up!), so I’d answer ‘not to worry, in addition, the state sales tax was being reduced 1 PERCENT to “offset” any price increases, just as it had in B.C.’.  That was part of MY line anyway (!)….I would explain to them that that’s what “revenue neutral” meant.   And they LIKED that (alot, in most cases) and would ‘sign up’!   People LIKED the idea of dropping the sales tax 1% (!)   (maybe I had it ‘wrong’, but that’s what I assumed was meant by a “revenue-neutral” tax…?!)

So I (at least), and maybe ‘all’ of us (?) will come across as LIERS if the ‘alternative plan’ were to go into effect.   Ie., tax the nasty industries…thy raise their prices….and then, INSTEAD of the people getting any sales tax reduction to help PAY these price increases, the collected tax money is used for the items mentioned above in the 1st paragraph (again, NONE of which are bad, or evil things, AT ALL…they’re ‘wonderful, necessary items!—-but the 500 or so people I got to sign would probably hunt me down (just kidding!) because I had told them there’d be a ‘trade’ of sorts, without any ‘increased’ tax to them, see?   So again, I, at least, would have been selling an “untruth” for the past 7-8 months or so for which I should be lynched…or at a minimum, tarred and feathered, right?   (ho, ho, ho….hope not!)

Anyway….because of the above (which is maybe only MY problem because of the way “I” explained it….no idea..?) and for all the work that ALL signature gatherers put in, I’m glad and relieved to hear we’re sticking with the original plan!    NOW, tho, as I indicated in an email I sent you a day or so ago when this first came up….NOW we have to somehow figure out ‘how’ to educate the Washington masses simultaneously with all the Trumpety-trump-trump Republican and Presidential garbage hogging the media.  As for me, I plan to submit monthly letters to the Herald Editor between now and November—plus I’m open to other ways to spread the word.

Anyway, congratulations on your final decision (!).   We’re with you.   Ho, ho, ho, and a Happy Holidays to you!!

Date: December 24, 2015 at 11:57:38 AM PST
Subject: Re: win, win, win, win

Congrats on making a decision, and onward!  Do keep my “ignorant question” below in your back pocket as an option if any group approaches you with plans to move forward on an alternative initiative (still quite possible, under the circumstances).  I don’t believe the conventional wisdom that says it will doom both.  It is easy to vote “yes” and “yes”, and easy to explain it to voters.  Both could win, in my view.  If they tailored that as a “millionaires tax”, which makes sense, it would not even be a competing carbon tax initiative.  Happy holidays to all…you’ve earned a break!!!

Date: December 24, 2015 at 12:08:29 PM PST
To: <>
Subject: Congrats on 732

Yoram, saw your email yesterday after participating in the marathon conference call.  Congrats to you and the rest of the team on moving forward with 732.

I’m curious, is CCL on board with your effort, even if it’s not cap and dividend?

But I’m also wondering whether, as you brought up in the call, this effort can gain national support that might help overcome the existing polling.  As you know, lots of Republican economists and others have said they’d go along with a revenue-neutral program.  Is there going to be an effort to hold their feet to the fire in terms of generating support for the ballot initiative?   Is that a good or bad idea in your view?

Date: December 24, 2015 at 12:36:37 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!


Date: December 24, 2015 at 1:10:15 PM PST
To: “” <>
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

You should absolutely proceed with the Filing process. It produces leverage for you in negotiating a united approach.

Date: December 24, 2015 at 1:31:41 PM PST
Subject: We need an emergency consensus meeting–fast

Hi Yorum,

I just read some of the comments on your blog post. I see a lot of anger
about the decision to go forward with I-732. It seems like part of the
anger is over the success of a grassroots campaign (my outsider guess).

This conflict could be very damaging, but unfortunately it’s typical. I
think we need to get folks together quickly and use the consensus process
to work this out. It would be great to have unified support at signature
turn-in, but that may be too short a timeline.

Please let me know how I can help. The consensus process works. It takes a
little time. But it will be successful in helping everyone focus on best
possible outcomes. It works, because it provides a safe place for people
to express their feelings, deal with anger and hurt, and fears about worst
possible outcomes. Then people can focus on best possible outcomes.

We need to deal with hurt feelings, stepped on toes, anger, power,
scarcity, money, etc., so we can all move forward in a positive direction.

Please email or give me a call anytime (even tomorrow, it that works best
for you).

Date: December 24, 2015 at 1:38:27 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!


Date: December 24, 2015 at 1:38:46 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Had to do it. Good decision. Courage, courage, courage.

Date: December 24, 2015 at 2:12:10 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Thank You

Date: December 24, 2015 at 2:34:25 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA on the fence

Hi Yoram,

Thank you very much for presenting all this information and making the decision you ultimately did, after listening to input from volunteers. I am inclined to support the decision, although I recognize how tough it must have been.

I have one question though, why didn’t the WPC/Todd Myers endorse I-732? I remember seeing him talk at the Panel Discussion with you last January, and 27:00-27:44 seemed to be him effectively stating his support for it. Frankly, I am rather incensed at them to hear that they didn’t endorse I-732, since it seems to me they have strong sway among conservative elites in this state.

Date: December 24, 2015 at 5:13:14 PM PST
Subject: The Right Decision

Yoram — You and the EC made the right decision. Time will tell whether the Washingtonians prefer I-732 or whatever the Alliance comes up with.

Date: December 24, 2015 at 7:44:04 PM PST
Subject: Carbon pricing in Washington state

Dear Yoram and the CarbonWA board,
We’re deeply grateful for the time, energy, and great commitment you’ve put into the fight for carbon pricing in Washington State.

Your letter of a few days ago was incredibly heartening; the assessment of I-732’s passage, of a possible unified measure, and of the problems of dual measures was realistic and wise, and we understand how hard a decision it must have been for you to consider not turning in the signatures.

Because of that, we were saddened by last night’s email. We know that some of your members were deeply disappointed that I-732 might not go forward; we believe that nonetheless, they could have been–and perhaps still can be–communicated with in such a way as to help them understand that the unified measure was the right path forward, the one that would keep its eyes on the prize of what we all need.

We strongly urge you to reconsider; some people will be very unhappy either way, but as your letter made clear you understand, one way leaves us with a viable carbon pricing measure with broad support, and one does not. The clearest path toward the goal–carbon pricing in Washington state–is the former.

Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Wow- are you guys following the Tea Party play book? Cannot believe that you could not find a compromise. We are all on the same side, but you’re acting like the Tea Party acts with the rest of the Republicans.

I’m really disappointed.

Date: December 25, 2015 at 9:31:40 AM PST
To: Yoram Bauman <>
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

I am so happy to get this news.  I talked to [ ] at length and got a better understanding of the issues.  I think you all made the best decision and you can count on my support, for what it’s worth.

Date: December 25, 2015 at 9:37:02 AM PST
To: Yoram Bauman <>
Subject: Congratulations and Welcome to a new job


Hope you are getting some time off to rest and celebrate. I am very pleased that the board decided not to merge with the “Alliance.”

BUT, it is painfully obvious from the two recent Seattle Times articles by Lynda Mapes that Carbon Washington is not doing what it will take to make I-732 part of the State’s political/economic reality, i.e., aggressive public information efforts.

Mape’s articles about I-732 appeared only after the Alliance made its move. Sadly, Mape’s articles quote only I-732’s web site and not the economists, civic leaders and other I-732 supporters (including yourself) on why the revenue neutral approach is key and the Alliance approach is not the best option. Quotes from Alliance staff and supporters are in the news, but nothing from our side.

I will be very excited when I-732 gets in the news through aggressive public information efforts—it won’t happen by itself.

Date: December 25, 2015 at 11:22:02 AM PST
To: “” <>
Subject: Re: CarbonWA on the fence


Happy Holidays- I was glad to see your efforts are moving forward. It’s important to take carbon legislation and continually marry it it with common sense approaches to its effects on the economy. I’ve always thought it was disingenuous to combine carbon rules with fund raising for other causes- it takes away from the focus.

Date: December 25, 2015 at 12:37:11 PM PST
Subject: Re: CarbonWA: Yes on I-732!

Yippee!  Good resolution!

Date: December 26, 2015 at 2:53:56 PM PST
To: Yoram Bauman <>
Subject: Re: CarbonWA on the fence

Hi Yoram

I have had a few days to reflect on the 2nd message from you and the CaWa Exec Committee, the one after the several hour meeting where it was decided to go ahead and submit the signatures for CaWa to the state.  Although I truly understood the logic and continue to have great respect for both you and for the Exec Committee, I also admit to very significant worries and fears about the consequences.  I am hoping you can help me think through these worries and fears and come to a better place. As you know, I have been a very vocal and strong supporter for CaWa and I am looking to either have my concerns heard (by the Exec Comm) OR to be educated about what I am missing.  Thanks in advance and FEEL FREE to share this message, which again is submitted respectfully and constructively.

The core of my fear is that given the Department of Revenue analysis, no matter how much agreement or disagreement there is about the assumptions and conclusions, CaWa will be perceived by voters as a revenue negative initiative.  Again, no matter how accurate (or not) these assumptions are, my understanding is that they will be visible to all voters.  Given that, my fear is that 732 will not only be defeated, but that it may result in a dangerous setback for the whole idea of pricing carbon. I can just imagine the fossil fuel industry going nuts as they rejoice in this “hook” to trot out against all of us carbon pricing advocates.

Seems like If we try to pass an initiative that DOR analysis publicly says will strip $600 Million from the state’s general fund, we will be painted as being callous, blind, and not caring about the economy.  Opponents will say that we want to impose carbon pricing  in spite of the harm to the budget, the state, the economy, and lot’s of citizen’s (especially the poor and disadvantaged) it will cause. Seems like that might just be playing into the idea that we are on the fringe, out-of-touch, and will pursue a radical environmental agenda at all costs to everyone.

So my big fear is that not only will CaWa lose (given the public DOR report) but that it in fact could actually harm further efforts by the many Ca pricing advocates all around us.

Thanks for your consideration and I appreciate any thoughts or advice you or the Exec Committee can give.  Alternatively, if there is not some big thing I am missing (and I hope there is), I would like the Exec Committee to hear my honest concerns.

Thanks, Happy Holidays, and thanks for your commitment.

Date: December 26, 2015 at 2:09:34 PM PST
Subject: catastrophic danger to carbon pricing efforts


As I lay awake last night, I felt even stronger that CarbonWA’s decision to go ahead with 732 was not only short-sighted, irresponsible, and selfish, but actually poses an existential danger to any future carbon initiative anywhere. Forget the dismal polling and the lack of sufficient big funding sources — the Executive Committee should realize that the Department of Revenue analysis (attached) is a death blow. You may be true believers in “revenue neutral ” but it’s now apparent that 732 is not actually even revenue neutral, it’s dangerously revenue negative! If those DOR figures are anywhere near right — and it doesn’t really matter exactly how accurate they are, the important thing is that the numbers are out there for all to see — 732 will not just be defeated, it will result in a dangerous setback for the whole idea of pricing carbon. It will give it a vicious black eye as the fossil fuel interests will use it to tar the whole idea.

The opponents of taking any meaningful action to address climate change always trot out that it can’t be done without bringing an end to economic growth and that trying to control emissions would “destroy our economy.” With 732, we now play right into this narrative! If “we” try to pass, argue for, and show support for an initiative that DOR analysis publicly says will strip $600 Million (by the second biennium) from the state’s general fund, we will be painted as being callous, blind, and not caring about the economy. We will be portrayed as being unconcerned about the harm that will be done to the many programs that will need to be cut to meet the budget shortfall. They will point to the fact that we want to impose carbon pricing at any cost — in spite of the harm to the budget, the state, the economy, and lot’s of citizens (especially the poor and disadvantaged) it will cause. It will be, “they’re just on the fringe, out-of-touch, and will pursue their radical environmental agenda at all costs to everyone.”

Is the CarbonWA executive committee blind to this?

You may feel you owe it to many people, who have worked so hard to gather signatures, to move forward with 732 —but you owe even more to all the other millions of people in this state and even billions around the world (who already suffer from the effects of climate change and air pollution and face even graver harm in the future) to not.

I’m very scared.

Comments ( 83 )

  • Leslie says:

    Wow, that’s incredibly disappointing. As a signer of the initiative, I wanted to see a price on carbon. The mechanism was less important to me than the end goal, and the alternative option sounds much more viable. I appreciate all the hard work that’s gone into I-732 to date but am now skeptical of it’s chances of success. I wish the executive committee had made the more difficult, but more pragmatic choice to work with a broader coalition toward a shared goal.

    • Robert Beekman says:

      Leslie, I think the Execs made the right decision as driven by feedback from all the volunteers who have worked so hard on the campaign. Also, I would like to mention something that seems to be overlooked. One of the main attractions of I-732 for me is the use of the Carbon Tax revenue to reduce the state sales tax by 1% and to fund the Working Families Rebate. For me the attraction of these two provisions was not their contribution to revenue neutrality but the fact that, in offsetting the Carbon Tax’s regressive effect for WA residents, they would also make the first cracks in a state tax system that is the most regressive in the U.S. (see the details at My hope is that I-732 could be the thin end of the wedge into an irrational and unfair state tax system. The reason that Eyman’s initiatives keep getting huge votes is that middle and lower income Washingtonians really ARE overtaxed. Eyman’s solutions — simply to cut taxes — are wrong; what we need is tax redistribution, including less reliance on sales taxes for revenue.

      • Leslie says:

        Robert, I appreciate your opinion – and that’s what it is, your opinion. But I resent the commenters on this post purporting to speak for all of the 350,000 of us who signed the initiative, saying that “everyone who signed did so for a revenue-neutral option”. That’s just not true.

        I signed it because I wanted a price on carbon and don’t particularly care how we get there, I just wanted a proposal that would win. That’s me speaking for myself. I know for a fact several friends of mine signed for the same reason, but I would no more try to speak to the mindset of every single person who signed the initiative than I would to try and speak for the decision making of either the Alliance or CarbonWA executive teams.

        I wish we all could have joined forces behind something that was viable – working together, we are much stronger than we are apart. But I do believe in data, and the data for I-732 doesn’t look good, and that’s putting it mildly.

        Once again speaking for myself, I am now reconsidering how much time and effort I want to put into a doomed initiative that may actually do more harm than good. I was excited about the possibilities when I signed I-732, but now I’m just shaking my head at a missed opportunity to build a strong coalition between CarbonWA and the Alliance that could have been exactly what we needed to push a winning carbon pricing initiative across the finish line.

    • sharon says:

      I’m saddened and angry. While I respect a lot of CarbonWA volunteers for wanting to get behind something immediate. I have to wonder why the exec team did not join forces with a larger coalition that was building up partnerships, finances and support. I know there are times we dismiss collaboration as being slow. But it seemed obvious from polling and need that there was momentum being built for 2016 regardless of what CarbonWA did. And that those collaborations were unique and needed in order to win something substantial. It also seems like this exact problem was warned about early and often.

      And while there are a lot of patting backs about pushing something forward… Did CarbonWA purposefully put the cart before the horse? It seems like they went ahead with a policy *they* wanted, that doesn’t look like it will win on the ballot, that looks like it will be revenue negative and that will first have to be introduced to the legislature – with unknown variables.

      Again, I appreciate the volunteers who worked on this because their hearts were in the right place. But I think Yoram and the exec team did a lot of damage in the name of their solution instead of a strong, winnable solution.

      2016 could have been a great year. Now all we can do is damage control over CarbonWA’s mess.

  • J. R. Ressler says:

    Extraordinarily good news. 350,000 of us signed the petition because we believed in both a price for carbon and revenue neutrality. We believed in reducing the sales tax and making our state’s tax system more progressive. We can build a bipartisan base and make this happen. The first miracle is complete: the 350K signatures. Now we will make the second miracle happen.

  • Steve Verhey says:

    I was prepared to accept the executive committee’s decision, assuming it would be to cave to the Alliance, but I was having a hard time getting past Big Green’s past. This is great news.

  • Francine says:

    I applaud CarbonWA’s transparency and fairness as you publicly debated the alternative proposal. How unfortunate that the Nature Conservancy, WEC, Climate Soutions et al did not bring this alternative to the table two months ago when they were perfectly capable of doing so. That would have given everyone more time to not only carefully vet the proposal and refine, but just as importantly to BUILD TRUST.

    CarbonWA spent months carefully drafting the I-732 initiative, including legal review and financial projections. One can hardly expect the same level of examination to be conducted on the 801 initiative five days before Christmas. Shame on the Nature Conservancy, Climate Solutions, the Alliance and their leaders for putting the I-732 team and community through this false fire drill.

    I-732, with its imperfections, is still a viable and compelling “first pass” solution to getting WA state and the country positioned for meaningful climate pricing.

    I urge Nature Conservancy, WEC, Climate Solutions and their advocates to get on board and put your weight–and money–behind I-732. To stand back and do nothing after CarbonWA turns in their signatures would be the REAL betrayal.

    • sharon says:

      Wasn’t CarbonWA invited to be a part of the table early on? I’ve been following this closely and went to a townhall early in the summer. There were a few speakers who had talked about having asked Yoram & CarbonWA to join. I don’t know the details but it seems like it was pretty clear the alliance was working with a lot of unique coalition partners & that something would be pushed forward.

      Unfortunately, I don’t know the inside conversations. Regardless, CarbonWA made the decision to push this particular policy and they wanted to do it early – despite it being a terrible idea to have it go through the legislature (and Doug Ericksen’s committee). And despite the knowledge that something else was going to be introduced in 2016.

      We’ll all have to be prepared to do a lot of damage control for a decision CarbonWA made long ago.

  • John Donoso says:

    There was never any real doubt that Yoram would go ahead with this. As widely predicted in the local climate activist community, the effort’s *abysmal* polling data did not affect the decision to proceed. This is a classic case of motivated reasoning: Yoram, like most of this project’s supporters, were too emotionally invested to rationally calculate the costs and benefits of proceeding. The only real question was, how would CarbonWA backers justify ignoring the data in oder to do what they’ve already invested so much in?

    It turns out, they didn’t even bother. They just ignored the data. It was irrelevant. It did not congrue with their “strong feelings”, so they just went ahead and did what they wanted to do anyway.

    Here is what I wrote yesterday, in private correspondence, before the teleconference:

    “working hypothesis: yoram will turn in his signatures and run his initiative, even though it *will* lose, throwing a massive monkeywrench into the Alliance’s plan in the process, which would otherwise probably work… and thus throwing a massive monkeywrench into the larger project to fight climate change. he has personally invested too much in it – he’ll figure out some reason why he should keep going with it, even though it’s a total fool’s errand. the polling data is *bad*… like 48%, not even counting the massive negative messaging that’s going to go into demolishing it. initiatives should be ~60% at this stage of the game to have a chance. there is no way, but he’s going to do it anyway – and he’ll have to keep asking for donor support to fund it, even though it won’t work.”

    I’m sorry to say I was right.

    • Steve Verhey says:

      Oh, puh-leeze. Spare us.

      • John Donoso says:

        Gee, that sure is a well-honed and carefully considered argument you’ve got there! Oh wait, it’s not an argument at all, is it? =D It’s feels. It’s gut. That’s what it is.

        At the end of the day, the CarbonWA decision was predictable, and predicted. What we can also predict is that it will *lose*. The main question now is: How many folks will throw good money after bad (and good time and effort after bad) by supporting it?

        Behavioral psych predicts that the folks who have invested the most into it thus far will redouble their efforts and after it fails, will blame everything else for its failure but the policy itself – and they will completely ignore the data that said it was going to fail all along.

        This is basic motivated reasoning and avoidance of cognitive dissonance. They cannot believe the data, because that would mean everything they’ve done was a waste, or worse, dangerously counterproductive… And what would that say about them!? They can’t bear that line of self-reflection, so they will concoct fallacious rationalizations, or just ignore uncomfortable data, in order to comfortably do what they want to do anyway.

    • CarbonWA suppoter says:

      With respect, what you have written is not only a ridiculous psychoanalysis of Yoram, but it makes no sense…and is certainly not “data driven.”

      1. You state that the “Alliance’s plan would otherwise probably work.” First, there is no plan right now. Second, there is no factual reason to think it would work.

      2. The reliability of any early polls is extraordinarily poor. Furthermore, the polling organization that was used as a very bad track record. Those ARE facts.

      Name calling and psychological nonsense is not what is needed now. And keep in mind something called ethics and honoring folks efforts. The folks that signed the petition are not fools. The folks that worked hard on the initiative were not fools. We believe in a certain course of action. We will try to make it happen, even if initially it looks like an uphill battle. Nearly all great advances starting with folks doing what others say were impossible or difficult. If you don’t have the stomach for the effort, please keep out of our way and keep your venom to yourself.

      • John Donoso says:

        Maybe I’m wrong. That’s always a possibility… But I predicted that CarbonWA would proceed with the effort regardless of the polling data – and I was right about that one. I further predict that CarbonWA’s effort will fail at the ballot. You heard it here first.

        I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am. If you think it will pass, shall we make a legally binding bet on the matter? Are you willing to put your money where your mouth is? =P

        And for the record, the Alliance actually has a plan. I worked on its precursor, back in 2013, and helped set up the apples-to-apples polling that let us rigorously compare Alliance-style policy to CarbonWA-style policy.

        Make no mistake: The polling data is solid. It’s actually gotten *worse* for CarbonWA over time, as local Republicans have gotten more extreme. It was never good. The alternative “fee”-centric language has always been stronger, even back in 2013. Alliance-style policy has *always* outpolled CarbonWA-style policy in Washington state – every single time… And it’s not even clear if that’s strong enough to win.

        Anyone who disputes that is welcome to publicly post and compare the polling data over time. There have been multiple rounds of such polling, at significant expense, using the best and most state-of-the-art research methodology available. I know this because I helped fund it and set it up, and have been *intimately* involved since the beginning. My organization actually helped fund Yoram’s first poll!

        My attitude has always been simple: I will support whatever is going to put a price on carbon first. I’m sorry to say that this will not do that. The consequences are most likely fairly serious. To say it’s a damn shame is an understatement.

        • carbonwasupporter says:

          Stick to facts, please. You seem to have a lot of confidence in your polling. What track record do you have in polling? What is the track record of the firm(s) you are using. Give us facts that we can verify. Just because you say your data is solid, does not make it so. You need to prove your facts or they are just opinion. If the Alliance had a “plan” in 2013, why did it not proceed with it? And I think you are missing a major point. It is not putting a price in carbon that is central. The central issue is to bring together both sides of the aisle to deal with climate change. Combining climate change and social justice issues is a sure route to failure.

        • Ian James says:

          Where is the plan? I would be happy to support any plan according to its merits. Please provide a link. Please also explain why you think this is an either/or proposition? Why do you think I-732 undermines whatever proposal the Alliance wants to put forward? All I have seen so far are assertions and insults – not a good way of winning people over 🙂

    • Hal spencer says:

      Here’s a clue for you. In politics, data change. That is, opinions change. That happens when people work hard to convince voters. Will you be there to help us? Doesn’t sound like it?

  • Robert Beekman says:

    Better to be principle-driven and policy-driven than so-called “data-driven” — especially when the data is so narrowly based and questionable. It’s time for the Alliance to re-evaluate ITS position. And time to cut out the ad hominem attacks.

    • John Donoso says:

      There’s a term for the kind of decision-making you’re advocating: “Faith-based”. Like faith-based health care, and faith-based missile defense, ignoring hard data in the service of faith-based political strategy is a bad idea.

      Make no mistake: The polling data is solid. It’s actually gotten *worse* for CarbonWA over time. It was never good. The alternative “fee”-centric language was always stronger, even back in 2013, when I helped do the polling that compared the two alternatives. Alliance-style policy has *always* outpolled CarbonWA-style policy in Washington state – every single time.

  • Ian James says:

    I strongly support going ahead with I-732 and applaud the Executive Committee’s decision. THANK YOU!
    We don’t need a “better” proposal in order to win – and in any case, the “better” proposal from the Alliance seems pretty much imaginary at this point.
    We shouldn’t put much faith in polls, public opinion on climate change and the need to act is changing fast, the ide has turned in our direction. Liberals and Democrats are not ideologically rigid – they are willing to make compromises. This was confirmed by my experience collecting signatures: a few people did say they would prefer the revenue go towards developing renewable energy sources, rather than towards reducing sales tax… but that never stopped them from signing.
    I also saw a lot of people come round to signing after reading the leaflet I gave them, even people who were initially opposed. So I know how easily a little bit of education can turn people into supporters.
    John Donoso: last night, I had decided I would support whatever decision was made, and I would switch fully to the “better” proposal if I-732 was withdrawn, and work to support the Alliance. I would like to think you would be delighted if I-732 did pass, despite your predictions. So John, if you can’t bring yourself to support I-732, will you at least commit to not undermine it? After all, we all want the same thing – carbon pricing. Can we work together?

    • Billy the Kid says:

      peer reviewed data and the scientific method doesn’t mean squat! Polls smolls! My gut tells me that I-732 is the best initiative and we’re gonna force it down your throats. who cares if it loses as long as we stay true! Who needs a progressive coalition to win anyway? We got Republicans who’ve made pricing carbon their top priority! We’re all set!

    • Nick Patterson says:

      Nope, sorry Ian. I sure as hell ain’t gonna work with you. I’m a progressive true and blue, but I ain’t gonna support a measure that is opposed by labor and racial justice groups and seems to just replace one regressive tax with another. I wish you the best of luck in turning out Republicans though, I’m sure you’ll find them really into your initiative!

      • Ian James says:

        Carbon pricing is regressive, so using the revenue to reduce an even more regressive tax seems like social justice to me. What is the proposal from the Alliance? I still have not seen it, nobody has provided a link, but from what I have heard, it is the Alliance plan that kicks low-income families to the curb. Spending the carbon revenue of green energy development doesn’t help the disadvantaged, and is also unnecessary: even without pricing on carbon, wind and solar is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and will continue to get cheaper than fossil fuels – market forces will drive the development of renewable energy far faster than subsidies and grants. But please, share the Alliance plan (if there even is one).

  • Sheri says:

    Wow- quite a lot of passionate and emotional feelings expressed here! The sign of a true grass roots movement. I’m thrilled that we are going ahead with 732. It shows commitment to our values. We are not changing our values based on public opinion or the poll of the day. How many of us go crazy when a politician won’t take a stand on an issue until they do a poll to make sure it’s the popular position, not what they truly believe is best? Going forward we will win if we stay positive and focused on what our initiative will do. Feels good to say “our initiative” since so many of us had a part in getting to this point – unlike a mega-funded top down buy your way to the ballot approach. Hence the emotion and passion that will get us across the finish line.

  • Steve Price says:

    Excellent Choice!!
    BTW, politics in a system with popular participation is not a value-maximizing process. It is like making sausage. The kitchen in a messy place to be

  • Robert Beekman says:

    Great news! This is the right decision. The poll that finally counts will be the one next November! Let’s all work toward that.

  • Steve Verhey says:

    @John, I have no doubt whatsoever that the CarbonWA team considered the Alliance proposal in good faith and based on facts including recent polling data. In fact, two days ago they had me convinced that they had already made up their mind to go with the alternative. They had an incredibly complicated decision to make, and I hope that, once you’ve calmed down, you and Billy the Kid will help rally your factions to join in supporting I-732. If it fails, as you appear to hope it will, in the end you’ll want to feel you’ve done all you could to help it.

    • Billy the Kid says:

      But Steve, I don’t want to vote or volunteer for I-732 when its being shoved down my throat. Carbon WA is kicking communities of color and labor to the curb with their decision. Good luck in rebuilding that bridge! And Bauman even admitted that their polling is in the tank and that voters actually like clean energy in ballot language! Who in their right mind crafts a ballot title the way Carbon WA did? And, a super big question is, who is going to give any money to Carbon WA? They turned their backs on TNC and Tom Steyer. And what’s with this ‘base loyalty’ crap. We need to do the right thing and the smart thing, and not what makes you feel good in your gut.

      • Steve Verhey says:

        Out here in the hinterlands, where we have also communities of color and, yes, unions, we haven’t heard much about the kicking-to-the-curb thing, and I’d like to understand where that kind of talk is coming from. It sounds like everyone else here has some idea, and I don’t want to bore people, so if someone would be willing to explain it off-line, I’d appreciate an e-mail (

  • Roger Tawning says:

    Billy…no one is kicking communities of color or labor to the curb. That is nonsensical. All colors and communities are in this together. We all will be affected by greenhouse warming. Stop trying to divide us. Nothing is being shoved down your throat. We don’t need an outsider moneyman with an agenda like Tom Steyer to cut carbon use.

  • Sonia says:

    Maybe the phrase kicking to the curb sounds harsh, but without a doubt people of color and labor unions have gotten the short end of the stick from Carbon WA, which tailored its policy to appeal to the right side of the political spectrum. I mean, there are lots of immigrant and social justice and labor groups who asked Carbon WA to put a break on their policy and to work with them, but they didn’t listen. And now I worry this will lead to their failure at the ballot.

  • Cindy says:

    The “data” from polling is a snapshot of where things are today – 11 months before the 2016 election. There is absolutely no guarantee that if we had gone with the alternative proposal we would have won. So many things can happen to change people’s perception during this time….I remain hopeful and positive.

    The bottom line is that a revenue-neutral proposal has a much better chance of winning as it is designed to be bi-partisan. Many respected conservative economists are in favor of an approach like I 732.

    Also, I 732 is similar to BC’s successful carbon tax – they have reduced carbon emissions and grown their economy at the same time.

    Republicans are starting to see the writing on the wall – the majority of their constituents now want clean energy and a solution to climate change.

    They are slowly warming toward a carbon pricing solution such as ours since it is more palatable to them than adding any government bureaucracy or governmental regulation of emissions.

    Hopefully, the ballot title can be more “appealing” and we can get out an educational campaign to counter the onslaught that will come from the money, distortions and lies the fossil fuel industry will send our way.

  • Nick says:

    The Alliance could have come to us with an alternative proposal ANYTIME in the past year. But instead they kept hoping we’d fail and then waited until a week before christmas to decide to engage us with policy/political specifics. We would have been happy to form a deal then. Waiting a week before christmas is not how to create smart legislation.

    I-732 is the most progressive change to our tax system since the 1970s. The lowest 20% of income earners (often people of color) pay the biggest percentage of their income on taxes, I732 would greatly alleviate that. Does it solve all social problems? Of course not, what single proposal could? (I’d be happy to further discuss the progressive merits of 732 in detail.)

    Myself and others have personally gathered TENS OF THOUSANDS of signatures from people of color and low/middle income earners. We had long fruitful conversations. Are they just wrong to think that this is a good idea? There are many people of color who have their own opinions beyond what NGO’s publicly say on their behalf.

    There were a few articles that circulated about us during the summer (FUSE) that not only mischaracterized our policy but made claims that were plainly false. And apparently if you call a group of people racist it will scare everyone else away, no questions asked. Good tactic.

    There are REAL concerns about low income families and communities of color/climate justice that I take very seriously. Unfortunately The Alliance seemed to use those groups as a tool to publicly sabotage a grassroots climate initiative. (Communities of color for climate justice groups have yet to come out in favor of ANY carbon pricing policy btw).

    The Alliance did an impressive job creating their broad coalition of groups together with the intention of solving a problem that affected everyone. I truly applaud them for that. Its necessary work that will be vital for the success of any proposal.

    If they had spent time putting forward a single specific policy instead of cheerfully vague buzz-words we could have engaged in a more substantive dialogue.

    Instead they chose to spend all their energy and political capitol trying to destroy a grassroots climate initiative.

    We are here not only because of the success of 732 but because of the failure of The Alliance. This is harsh but I truly hope for the sake of this world that they will support us moving forward and not sit on the sidelines and watch. Whatever they do or don’t do about this opportunity is what I’ll be telling my kids one day.

    • sharon says:

      I’ve heard from several groups – in public townhall meetings with carbonwa there at the same time – that carbonwa was asked to join. That event was over a year ago. Stop acting like they didn’t reach out.

      You wanted this policy. You wanted your way. And you wanted to do it first. People will say good for you for pushing something through. But it was pretty clear that there was a lot of groups working to mend relationships and work together (from labor to social justice groups to traditional green groups).

      Instead of work with them, you wanted to jump ahead for *your* plan. Well, your plan got us to this point – stuck with something that looks like it will fail, will be revenue negative and with a bunch of burned bridges with community groups that were beginning (for the first time in a long while) work on environmental issues. I don’t have faith in your future strategy if this is where it has led us so far.

  • Billy the Kid says:

    Seesh, can’t believe you don’t see where you’re both wrong! Pardon my bluntness, but Carbon WA’s policy was made by privileged white people for privileged white people. And Nick, communities of color do back a carbon pricing program, guess who’s? The one that the Alliance proposed. It’s a fact.

  • Nick says:

    Can you send me a link to their proposal so I can look at it? Can you tell me the specifics of it?

    “CarbonWA’s policy was made by privileged white people for privileged white people” (??)

    Race/class considerations in climate politics is a serious thing and cartoonizing everyone who’s been part of I-732 as some sort of racist wont do any good for the climate, racial issues, economics or progressive solidarity. We’ll just continue to be divided and the fossil fuel companies will watch our squabbling from their thrones

  • Steve Verhey says:

    Much of what Nick says rings true. Thanks, Nick!

    Meanwhile, Billy seems to have come unglued. “CarbonWA’s policy was made by privileged white people for privileged white people.” “[C]ommunities of color do back a carbon pricing program….” Seriously fighting words. Irresponsible, really.

    Mr/Ms Billy the Kid, I think it would be best if you posted under your real name.

  • Herb says:

    I signed an I-732 petition because it sounded like a different kind of cap-and-trade. Then I forgot about the whole thing until this brouhaha erupted. The Alliance “proposal” sounds like pie in the sky with no details on activities and their proposed consequences.If there was a 2013 plan why wasn’t it used as the basis of a concrete proposal now?

  • Outside observer says:

    People will only write checks and work for this initiative if they think it will succeed. And as Yoram himself concedes, the polling shows failure ahead. Hard to fundraise around that.

    A pity that a deal couldn’t be struck. Now we’re likely to end up with the Governor’s Clean Air Rule, if that survives court scrutiny.

  • Luke Hanna says:

    A pity indeed. I was optimistic that the entire community of concerned climate activists across Washington could be united around one effort and it appeared that way after Yoram’s email on Dec. 21.

    If Carbon WA’s true goal is to achieve victory next November, why they’ve pushed aside a powerful coalition of funders and organizations and chosen to climb an uphill battle on their own is something that rational minded people may never understand.

  • carbonwasupporter says:

    The entire community of concerned climate activists CAN be united across Washington by supporting I732. It is the “powerful coalition” of the Alliance and its fellow-travelers that were actively opposing I732. Once they realized CarbonWa had the signatures they wanted to stop it. Too late folks. Yoram and friends made the right decision and honored all the people who signed and contributed to I732.

    The polls are really worthless in this dynamic situation, any experienced political operative can tell you that. Who says we can’t convince the legislature if we really try?

  • Outside observer says:

    You’re delusional if you think you can convince the legislature. No Democrat will vote for 732 because it’s revenue negative and does nothing to help labor with job transition. No Republican will vote for 732 because it’s a new tax on big oil, and they have no motivation to cooperate on taxing that.

    You’re bipartisan, all right. You have bipartisan opposition. Congratulations.

    • Cindy says:

      I732 is bi-partisan for the following reasons:

      Moderate Republicans can be convinced to support this approach as they see that a rev-neutral, market-based solution is preferable to any carbon pricing policy that “grows government”. It also reduces taxes.

      Moderate Dems can be convinced to support I 732 as it is based on BC’s successful policy that has demonstrated reduction in carbon emissions while growing BC’s economy – creating clean energy jobs, etc. Also because I732 will:

      1. Reduce the state sales tax by one full percentage point.
      2. Fund the Working Families Rebate to provide up to $1500 a year for 400,000 low-income working households.
      3. Effectively eliminate the B&O business tax for manufacturers.
      4. Institute a carbon tax of $25 per metric ton CO2 on fossil fuels consumed in the state of Washington

      I don’t understand why the groups who comprise The Alliance are opposed to I732…..doesn’t make sense to me.

      Only a bipartisan proposal like this has a chance of passing (regardless of polling data 1 year out) – and this approach has the best chance of being passed at the federal level.

  • Steve Verhey says:

    Polling suggests that there’s work to be done, and hints at what kind of work, not that the initiative will fail.

    It’s really unfortunate that we’re at risk of getting race tangled up in all this. It certainly is true (and widely known and worthy of action) that communities of color are disproportionately affected by pollution, but 20th Century-style pollution is different from climate change. It is also worth noting that Latino populations are mostly in Eastern Washington, and I hope this group is represented in the “state wide” coalition.

    It sure would be nice to see at least some details of the Alliance’s proposal. I’m sure there are great ideas in there, and I’d be likely to support them.

    A couple of years ago, when I first heard about the carbon tax proposal, I contacted Yoram with some concerns and suggestions. My input was welcomed even though I was a random stranger from the other side of the Cascades. I’m sure the same was/would have been true for any of those now complaining about exclusion, if they had engaged early enough in the process. But the proposal was — necessarily — virtually set in stone by this time last year.

    CarbonWA seriously considered throwing away 350,000 signatures. Apart from actually throwing them away, what else could they have done to respect the Alliance?

  • seattlevoter says:

    Why do people suggest that communities of color and the underprivileged are more affected by climate change that everyone else? Why would this be? Do floods (one of the biggest predicted impact of climate change) mainly influence communities of color or the poor? Does lack of streamflow particularly effect communities of color? Or big wildfires? It seems to me that such claims are really baseless and used by those with political agendas. All of us will be affected by climate change. We are all in this together. And we can only solve the problem together.

    • Herb says:

      My understanding is that “communities of color” are invoked because the Alliance conflates air pollution with climate change. Something for everyone by “big funders and big organizations.”

    • Cindy says:

      I read the statement on Fuse’s website that gives their reason for opposing I 732 – and I am also confused about the emphasis the Alliance member organizations are placing on using carbon tax revenue for contributions specifically to communities of color.

      Having said that, we all understand that lower income families will be most impacted by a carbon tax due to the rising costs of energy for heating their homes, etc.

      And, I 732 compensates for this disparity by reducing the state sales tax by one full percentage point and funding the Working Families Rebate to provide up to $1500 a year for 400,000 low-income working households.

      It is confusing and concerning that these groups, by failing to mention the above facts, are essentially publicizing misleading information about I 732.

    • sharon says:

      Traditionally, yes. There are a lot of good articles and resources that tackle this question if you’re really curious. Here is one op-ed that I enjoyed that is local.

  • Larry Gussin says:

    Following Yoram’s urge I’ve kept off the fence in our carbon pricing struggle. But I’ve jumped over the fence once, already, and I’m jumping again. From mid-2014 through October 2015 I donated $45,000 to a core Alliance member for carbon pricing work. I volunteered a bit but it had no real use for volunteers. I shook my head at Alliance maneuvers all year until October, when I became a I-732 supporter. I helped far less than some, collecting 160 signatures and donating $1,000. I pledged to contribute $20,000 to Carbonwa in January, conditional to how December unfolded, and to work hard on the public campaign. But based on the compromise offer, I won’t support Carbonwa further if it goes it alone. I urge the decision makers to accept the compromise.

    I’m sick from all this and again not sure I’m right. But as I know we are in a climate emergency, and that a strong price on carbon – achieved anywhere and eventually everywhere – is the key to mitigation in time, I view the price as far more important than how revenue is used. Nor am I alone thinking this: at COP21 in Paris, the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition launched. It is creating best practices guidance for both carbon taxes and carbon markets and both revenue neutral and revenue positive systems. Over 70 national / subnational governments and 1,000+ corporations support it. Its 25 strategic partners include Nature Conservancy, Ceres, IMF and WWF. The premiers of Germany, Chile, Ethiopia, Canada, and Mexico spoke at the launch.

    Also in Paris, Elon Musk, who arguably sees the practical road to decarbonization as clearly as anyone, said “If countries agree to a carbon tax and it’s real…we could see a transition that has a 15- to 20-year timeframe as opposed to a 40- or 50-year timeframe…”

    In light of these events and of Carbonwa’s first post about the compromise (where Yoram wrote, the culmination of many points raised “Right now, it looks like the best shot at climate action is to go directly to the people with the alternative proposal”), we should’t go forward with I-732, since it’s not our best shot. The alternative is, with Carbonwa a leader in the campaign:

    1. There is no evidence that conservative or libertarian politicians or voters will support carbon pricing in 2016, even if some of their intellectuals are calling for a revenue neutral carbon tax.

    2. Many progressive groups oppose I-732 because it is revenue neutral. This will be contested here and nationally, on moral and strategic grounds, but the internal fight won’t likely resolve in time to help I-732.

    3. Prior to the compromise offer, the Alliance had run an abysmal, entirely tone deaf campaign. It has no grass roots credentials or respect. But the compromise offer reflects our best chance to win and so it has finally – pressed to end its manipulating bullshit – come through. It has also built a promising grass tops coalition. With Carbonwa leveraging its base to build a grass roots campaign statewide, we would bring passion and skills at every level to the campaign.

    4. The Alliance has access to serious funders from both the progressive and green blocks, who likely won’t support I-732 – or a competing petition should the Alliance run one if the compromise fails. What interest group blocs will fund I-732 at levels big enough to have a chance to win? Not progressives, conservatives, or libertarians. As for pure climate funders: the fight has multiple fronts. Why use resources on a messed up situation? Without a compromise, I’ll give my remaining 2016 donation to the national divestment campaign.

    Summing up, I urge Carbonwa to revisit its Dec. 21st first post about the alternative offer, with its points made there in favor of the alternative, and reconsider, and accept the compromise.

    • Daniel says:

      Very well stated Larry. It doesn’t really matter what side of the fence you’re on, Carbon WA or the Alliance. There was a compromise proposal on the table that would have united all of us. But by rejecting compromise, whether they want to or not, Carbon WA is doing the bidding of the fossil fuel lobby which is pleased to see all of us divided.

    • Hercules Mulligan says:


      As someone who also redirected all of my 2015 giving away from Alliance members and towards CarbonWA, I share your frustration. I agree with much of what you say, but I think there is one important additional point you are overlooking, and which leads me to a completely different conclusion.

      The Alliance knew in August that I-732 was certain to make the ballot. They could have come forward at any time this fall with an offer to negotiate on a compromise policy, and if they had, CarbonWA would have all the time it needed — time not only to hammer out the complex policy details (because a new billion-dollar public investment program is nothing if not complex!) but even more critically, time to educate and persuade its grassroots base that compromise is the smartest path.

      By not coming to the table until the 11th hour, the Alliance and its members have unwittingly revealed something far more troubling about their worldview: they simply couldn’t imagine that I-732 would feel accountable to its grassroots base — because they have spent the past twenty-plus years systematically ignoring the idea that grassroots organizing is important and useful.

      I agree that without additional resources, I-732 has a tough road ahead. Had CarbonWA been in a position to take the Alliance’s offer, I’d have supported it, but with a heavy heart. Given where we now stand, it seems that the only sensible path forward is for the Alliance organizations to throw their considerable capital behind I-732 and help turn likely defeat into a solid shot at victory.

      I don’t think this is likely, but by failing to rally behind I-732, the Alliance groups only prove their weakness, irrelevance and inability to do anything but double-down on their sad history of repeated political and policy failure.

      Blaming I-732 for failing to accept a last-minute deal — a deal which is all the more damning for the fact that it was probably offered in good faith and for which I give I-732 tremendous credit for engaging with in equally good faith — is utterly the wrong conclusion, and in fact empowers exactly the kind of continued political malpractice that the Alliance embodies.

      Instead, I would encourage all donors to Alliance organizations to put pressure on their boards and executive directors to endorse I-732 on December 30 and present a united front to what we know will be vehement and well-funded opposition.

    • Cindy says:


      The Carbon Tax Center’s website, under “Debunking the Myths,” says the following:

      ***”The net impact can be made “progressive,” i.e., beneficial to people of below-average means, by proper distribution of those revenues. “

      Ι 732 funds the Working Families Rebate to provide up to $1500 a year for 400,000 low-income working households.

      ***“A worthy alternative, which Al Gore and many economists advocate, is “tax-shifting” — use carbon tax revenues to reduce regressive taxes such as sales taxes and payroll taxes. British Columbia has enacted and annually increased its revenue-neutral carbon tax with popular support by dedicating all revenue to reducing a variety of other taxes ranging from sales taxes to business taxes.”

      Ι 732 reduces the WA state sales tax by one full percentage point.

      There is a LOT for progressives to appreciate about I 732 – and the revenue-neutrality issue is key to getting ANY Republican support.

      In my opinion, any comments Yoram made in reaction to the polling data were perhaps out of shock and disappointment and could have been more an emotional reaction than a factual assessment of the viability of I 732. Are YOU 100% convinced that the results of that poll are an accurate reflection of where the voters will be in 11 months? Did you examine the questions to determine if there was any bias in how the proposals were presented? What was the sample size and did they represent state-wide likely voters in a presidential election?

      Being on the fence is a HORRIBLE place to be. There were reasons you moved over to the CarbonWA proposal – please revisit those reasons and come back. It is unlikely that the Alliance’s compromise proposal would pass as Republicans will never support a proposal that is not revenue-neutral….they will likely put their own proposal on the ballot and then where will carbon pricing be for 2016?

      I 732 truly is a bi-partisan carbon pricing solution that will have the best chance of being adopted in WA State as well as the rest of the country. We need all of us on board to start an educational campaign and lobbying effort NOW.

    • Steve Verhey says:


      You wrote, “I’m sick from all this and again not sure I’m right.”

      With respect: you’re not right. Please read carefully Hercules Mulligan’s comments (and Cindy’s and Nick’s), and reread your own comments where you wrote about the shortcomings of the Alliance.

      CarbonWA can’t, and shouldn’t, reconsider their decision. Maybe you have seen the Alliance’s proposal (is it available anywhere? anywhere at all?), but CarbonWA certainly has, and they are trying to make the best of a bad situation — made bad and worse as a result of the very Alliance shortcomings you noted.

      In the bruhaha over the Alliance’s proposal, it’s easy to lose sight of CarbonWA’s tremendous achievement of collecting 350,000 signatures in nine months. Robbed, really, of recognition of what they have accomplished.

      The Alliance appears to be entirely Puget Sound based. CarbonWA managed to mobilize activists throughout the state — if I knew how to make italics, I’d have italicized that last statement. Mobilized activists throughout the state, as in: in virtually every Legislative District. This is shaping up to be year at all political levels where that counts for something. I really don’t see what the Alliance brings to the table that balances that.

    • Herb says:

      Where’s the Alliance “beef”?

      Back in the day we kids used to joke and say, “Let’s compromise and do it my way . . . .”

      • Steve Verhey says:

        Now that we’re grownups, we don’t take our toys and go home when we’re disappointed, we put it behind us and work together on important things.

  • Nick says:

    I agree with Hercules Mulligan.

    Deciding to create a complex carbon pricing policy AND smooth over the trust gap that lay between 732 and the Alliance is something that needed to happen a long time ago.

    The ball is in the Alliance’s court now. Either help I732 or keep whining and (continue) to do nothing.

    If you won’t help 732 because you think it’ll just be too hard to win than it’ll just be a self fulfilling prophecy. People thought we’d be lucky to get 50,000 signatures…

    I’m 25 years old and have spent a lot of time organizing at every college campus around puget sound/washington. Young people don’t give a shit about where the revenue- goes, they care that for once people are proposing solutions to this crises and DOING something. This is the initiative that young people already know about and are ready to vote on (once we register as many as possible). Political viability and donor-class be damned.

    This is generational abandonment on an epic scale.

    Or we could be courages and promote ACTION instead of INACTION. It will be the young that inherits this future, the old wont be around for it. I AM DESPERATE FOR ANYTHING so either help 732 or curl up as the world burns.

    Thanks 🙂

  • Daniel says:

    “Political viability and donor-class be damned.” That is reckless thinking.

    This must be more than an exercise in futility. It should clear the finish line first. Big Oil will have deep pockets to crush any effort. So I’m still stunned by Carbon WA choosing to reject working with others around the state who want to reduce carbon just as badly.

    I’m 29, and I do give a shit where the revenue goes. I want it in things that protect the environment and boost up clean energy. With every ounce of hope I have, I ask Carbon wa to reconsider.

    • Cindy says:

      Daniel, I have a son your age and I am working to get a carbon pricing proposal passed ASAP for you, him and all the other young people on the planet.

      So, here’s the dilemma – our state and country are divided (as you well know). Any carbon pricing proposal that has a chance of being adopted in WA (and in our country) needs to be a compromise between conservatives and progressives – I 732 is clearly that.

      The fact that it is revenue-neutral, reduces the sales tax by 1% and eliminates the B&O business tax for manufacturers will appeal to Republican voters and elected officials.

      The fact that I 732 uses part of the carbon tax revenue to fund the Working Families Rebate to provide up to $1500 a year for 400,000 low-income working households appeals to progressives.

      Republicans won’t vote for a proposal that spends more than it takes in – so the revenue-neutral factor is imperative.

      Having a price on carbon will encourage investment in clean energy and people’s buying habits will start to change toward goods and services that rely on renewables and not the more expensive carbon-intensive fuels. So, boosting clean energy will (automatically) happen without having to set up a government program to manage and monitor this effect (something Republicans also won’t tolerate).

      I 732 is the proposal that has the best chance of being accepted by both sides – the challenge is to educate voters and lobby the legislature – and we need EVERYONE on board to do this!

    • Larry Gussin says:

      From a Dec. 25th article in The Columbian: ““I am disappointed but not surprised,” said Alan Durning, executive director of the Sightline Institute, a Seattle think tank. “It’s hard for leaders to redirect the tide of hundreds of volunteers and supporters. Unfortunately, this decision by CarbonWa’s leaders will make it even more challenging to win a charge on carbon polluters in 2016.”

      Durning co-wrote Tax Shift with Yoram in 1998. Sightline’s 50 article “Cashing in our Carbon” series includes contributions by Yoram. Durning is positioned to see all the variables and he isn’t philosophically opposed to I-732. Carbonwa should take what he says to heart and not turn in the signatures.

      • Max Simeten says:

        Groups like Sightline, the Alliance, and Climate Solutions are perhaps more of a problem than a solution. They work hard to intertwine climate concerns with social concerns. But in doing so, they poison the well for bipartisan solutions, which in the end the only way our state and nation will make progress on climate change. There is a reason little progress in dealing with climate change and thinly veiled social justice groups claiming to be climate advocates is one of them. Please give Yoram and crew a chance and your support. They will succeed if you and others stick them…max

      • Ted Wolf says:

        Durning also said this, in the Seattle Weekly’s blog:

        “Sightline Institute executive director Alan Durning, who’s been “somewhat involved” in the negotiations, told us earlier this week, “I see it as an act of extraordinary courage and leadership in the Carbon WA executive committee to suggest at this point to their supporters that there might be a better path by not filing. It’s almost unthinkable. If you think about all the momentum that builds up…to suggest at this late date that it would be better to join forces with the Alliance on a different carbon action plan shows to me tremendous leadership.”

        Reached by text message, Durning responded to Bauman’s announcement. “My reaction: Carbon WA’s decision is disappointing. Not surprising but disappointing. A unified campaign now seems out of reach. And the obstacles to enacting a statewide climate law just got more daunting.”

        More daunting, perhaps. But not insurmountable.
        For some reason, it seems the Alliance discounted for months the grassroots momentum that CarbonWA built. Certainly they never publicly acknowledged it. The grassroots track record of the last nine months is reason enough for hope.

        • sharon says:

          What bipartisan support are you talking about? The one that carbonwa has failed to receive? Yeah, let’s continue to invest into that instead of finding a way to tackle these problems at their root – where there would have been more combined energy, passion and resources.

      • Robert Beekman says:

        Sorry, I don’t Alan Durning as the infallible pope of WA CO2 regulation politics.

        • Robert Beekman says:

          Oops! Missing verb after “don’t”. Choose one from the following to correct the sentence: “see,” “yield to,” “obsequiously kiss the ring of genius of” — or supply your own verb.

    • sharon says:

      It looks like Yoram and CarbonWA rejected the idea of working with a larger group early on. Seems there are a lot of bitter comments about big green throughout these comments. But it always seemed to me that if it really was big green – they would have done exactly what CarbonWA did & what had happened on other failed initiatives. Push a particular policy/agenda through quickly and then told everyone “get behind this or watch it sink”. I was impressed that that wasn’t the case with the alliance. It was a coalition of groups I never saw working together with some clear values guiding them. It’s clear they weren’t doing it just out of the kindness of their hearts but to have enough support built up to win… I wonder what will happen to it 🙁

      In addition, while the grassroots and the volunteers are impressive! Unfortunately, I did personally see a ton of carbonwa folks at alliance events. I wonder if they could have really pushed things through without the alliance & the money/time they invested. Knowing that, how can carbonwa possibly win this thing?

  • Cliff Mass says:

    We can win this…in the legislature…if we have enough confidence in ourselves and our large number of supporters. We first need to determine which legislators are with us. Then we have to work intensively on those on the fence, and then those that are against us. 350,000 + is a HUGE block of voters. Each legislator who is on the fence needs to be talked to and our arguments are strong. If that doesn’t work, we should make clear that they will lose our vote if they oppose I732. And the same for the Governor.

    The only poll that counts now is that of the legislature. And a year out poll for the initiative is of little value. The Alliance is a shell organization with no credibility supported by an out of state billionaire. They have proven how worthless they are by the shameless last minute maneuverings. Good for Yoram and our leadership for refusing to be stampeded…cliff mass

    • Baxter the Actor says:

      Cliff Mass – I urge you to stick with what you’re good at, which is predicting the weather. If you think Doug Ericksen is going to let a carbon price pass his committee then you’re truly clueless when it comes to politics.

      • Cindy says:

        Sen Erickson would be MUCH more likely to allow CarbonWA’s proposal to pass his committee than a proposal that brings in less $$ than it spends and sets up a new governmental program to pick and choose clean energy projects. Those are Republicans worst nightmares!

        Republicans will only support a carbon pricing scheme that is revenue-neutral and that allows the market to determine which energy source “wins” and “loses” as does I 732.

        The power of CarbonWA’s approach is that the rising cost of fossil-fuel based energy will “automatically” make clean energy projects more desirable to consumers and investors – with no new taxpayer-funded bureaucracy. And, as demonstrated in BC – this will drive down carbon emissions while providing a boost toward a clean-energy economy.

        Many Republicans actually are concerned that a carbon tax will be unfair to lower income working families – so it is not far-fetched to say that we can “sell” the progressive portion of I 732 to conservatives. And, I 732’s plan to fund the Working Families Rebate to provide up to $1500 a year for 400,000 low-income working households will appeal to progressives.

      • Hiram Landsing says:

        You really like to insult people don’t you?

        • Baxter the Actor says:

          Me, insulting? Ha! Try working on social justice for your entire life and then having Carbon WA people say their policy promotes social justice when the peeps who truly work on social justice are begging them to put the brakes on their policy and work together for a better one. Now that’s what I call an insult.

          • Steve Verhey says:

            Thanks to a helpful e-mail from a fellow reader, I finally found and read what is apparently a key part of the Alliance’s proposal (

            Let’s set aside whether CarbonWA should have thrown away 350K signatures and unprecedented momentum on such short notice, and that the linked initiative deliberately conflates “dangerous air pollutants” with greenhouse gases, and a number of other problems.

            Social justice advocates (I’m one too, hello) need to realize that the approach is riddled with unintended consequences. It directs the building of industrial-scale projects into areas that already suffer from the consequences of industrial-scale projects. The money wouldn’t be spent on happy things like new schools or permanent jobs, it would be spent on bulldozing neighborhoods to make room for projects with the inherently large footprints of things like solar and wind farms. And some — maybe even all — of these things would certainly end up being built in places where they cannot perform at peak efficiency.

            This isn’t the 20th Century any more, and there are already federal-level regulations covering “dangerous air pollutants.”

            There is no doubt that low-income and communities of color have now and certainly have had in the past unfair experiences, but this approach to improving the situation will actually make things worse for all communities: the ones where projects are sited will have to deal with the tax and the projects, and the ones where projects are not sited will still have to pay the increased tax.

          • Ian James says:

            Maybe you should stick to social justice and not try to co-opt climate change for your own agenda? Instead of insulting people, can you please explain the Alliance proposal (still imaginary) is better for social justice? Can someone PLEASE post link to this “proposal” ?
            Finally, why are you Alliance people always hiding behind pseudonyms? That shows a lack of integrity, and a lack of courage.

  • Roger Tawning says:

    The great irony is that the plans of the Alliance and other revenue-positive advocates are highly REGRESSIVE, as noted above. You tax gas from poor people and instead of giving it back to them with a reduced sales tax, you spend most of it on green-energy project. Like more plug-ins for expensive electric cars and more solar arrays. The Alliance and folks not only wont put out a concrete plans but their general ideas don’t make sense in their own world.

    • Robert Beekman says:

      Good point, Roger. I would add that state green energy projects come with their own opportunities for problematic ethics — and thus for political “optics” — in ways that I-732 does not. See this very recent news story — .

      • Brian Anderson says:

        This article posted by Robert is a great example of the dangers of having a state agency decide on clean energy investments vs. raising the price of polluting technologies and letting the market take it from there. And this in a state which has mostly clean government. One of the biggest benefits of implementing a successful carbon pricing policy in WA, a state with relatively low carbon emissions, is the example it can set for other states and the federal government. I can only imagine the corruption that would be involved in distributing clean energy investments in a place like my home state of Illinois, and probably most states around the country.

  • Steve Verhey says:

    Now that I have learned more about the Alliance’s proposal, I am more concerned than ever about the role of Climate Solutions in all this. The proposal I have read (referenced above in response to Baxter the Bitter), has CS’s history of saying what their audience wants to hear, regardless of reality, baked in.

    In my opinion, Climate Solutions has made various climate-related situations worse in Washington. I could give examples going back nearly 10 years. Here’s one that’s still ongoing.

    No doubt CS’s cheerleading in favor of aviation biofuels has resulted in big checks from Boeing, Alaska Airlines, and others, but it is irresponsible to the point of being unethical.

    CS knows (or should know/have known a long time ago) that air travel must begin a rapid decline. They should really be telling Boeing to retool to make efficient ground transportation systems, instead of giving them the false hope they have so eagerly paid for.

    This is an old modus operandi for Climate Solutions: acquire money or influence by telling the (temporarily, sometimes) deep-pocketed or influential whatever it is they want to hear, then pursue schemes that are fatally flawed from the get-go. It is not hard to imagine how communities of color fell for this, and it’s no disgrace: plenty of others, from state government to billionaires, have too.

  • Roger Tawning says:

    Steve…what you are saying is very important. Can you give us more examples? The false promises and tactics of some of the climate advocacy groups is a big part of the problem….Roger

  • Steve Verhey says:

    My response to Baxter the Bitter is awaiting moderation, probably because it contains a link. To find a key part of the Alliance’s approach, search the google for initiatives/FinalText_887.pdf , and click on the link from the WA Secretary of State’s office.

    As in the present example, Climate Solutions’ blindness to unintended consequences often results from ignorance of the area in which they are meddling, or to placing more emphasis on acquiring money and influence than to thinking through their proposals.

    Another example? This one is a personal pet peeve, because it affected Eastern Washington. Climate Solutions championed a renewable fuels standard that was adopted in early 2006. The bill required 2% of the fuel used in the state to be biodiesel (for compression-ignition engines) or ethanol (for spark-ignition engines).

    Within two weeks of the signing of the bill in Moses Lake (I have shaky video, if anyone’s interested), Imperium Renewables secured major capital financing by virtue of the fact that they had a guaranteed market for their biodiesel. Needless to say, the company was a supporter of Climate Solutions.

    In this case, Climate Solutions scored a hat-trick of sorts: they fooled (and caused damage to) a group of clean-tech investors, the state legislature and Governor, and many in the agricultural community.

    The reality was that, even in the then-real environment of high energy prices, Washington farmers had higher-value crops to choose instead of energy crops. The bill called for a study of Washington canola production capacity, so I wrote one pro bono (it is available at my website), and Climate Solutions ignored it.

    After flirting with the use of palm oil from Indonesia, Imperium mostly used canola oil from Canada (grown in places where no higher-value crops can be grown) as they struggled toward the inevitable end. In early 2013 Imperium resorted to proposing to use their heated storage as part of a rail pipeline crude oil export terminal.

    None of that needed to happen, but it did, because of Climate Solutions’s action. Only the first step was really their fault, of course, but they set the rest in motion because they pursued it for the wrong reasons, with incomplete information, and didn’t try very hard to educate themselves.

    • Steve Verhey says:

      To provide a bit of closure to what I wrote above, today there’s news in the Seattle Times that the company that bought the remains of Imperium Renewables is dropping plans to ship crude oil from the facility.

  • Steve Verhey says:

    Not sure what I said to deserve to have all my comments moderated….

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