Hello, CarbonWA friends: Happy holidays and read on for some climate action updates!
Carbon tax in Governor’s proposed 2017 budget
Governor Jay Inslee has released a proposed 2017-2019 Washington State budget that includes a capital gains tax, new funding for education and other priorities, and a $25 per ton carbon tax with a 3.5% annual increase. This budget would have to be passed by both the Democrat controlled State House and the Republican controlled State Senate to go into law, and a major education deficit still looms over the state, so there is good reason to believe this budget proposal will face significant challenges. Even so, we are excited to see climate action at the heart of the legislative discussion.
We are pleased to see a carbon tax in Governor Inslee‘s budget because it is urgent that we take action on climate change to protect future generations. While we need to see more details on his plan, we are prepared to support any and all effective, equitable, economically sound, and politically viable climate policies.
We especially want to explore how this proposal treats exported electricity, energy intensive trade exposed manufacturer’s, and low income households – but we also realize that no single policy can do everything. It is more important now than ever before that Washington State be a leader in tackling climate change.
You can read a policy overview about the Governor’s proposal here: http://ofm.wa.gov/budget17/highlights/201719_policybrief_CarbonPollution.pdf
Survey your legislator
As the legislative session gears up and a new climate plan is on the table (session begins on January 9th!) we need your help surveying the legislative landscape and measuring the climate support from legislators in both parties. Is your legislator a climate champion? A climate follower? A climate denier? What policies will they be willing to support? What are the obstacles? Here’s what we need you to do:
1. Email (OK), Call (good), or meet with (very good) your legislator and ask them some or all of the questions on our survey. You can find your legislators contact information here and keep in mind that the session starts on 1/9, so the end of December and early January may be a good time to get in touch with them.
2. Fill out our survey form based on what you learn from your meeting.
3. Be ready to take additional action to hold your legislators accountable when session gets underway.
And, if you are wondering whether these kind of meetings actually make a difference, read this guide called ‘indivisible’, written by democratic legislative staffers about the success of the tea party and outlining the most effective tactics to influence legislative bodies. Their top suggestions are to focus locally, have meetings, go to town halls, and use the local media to pressure your legislator. It will be tough to get the legislature to take action on climate change, but grassroots pressure will amplify the chances we have. Let’s get to work!
Give for Climate Action in 2017
We know that many, many of you have given to the level of your means already in 2016, and if that’s the case then thank you and we hope you will revisit CarbonWA in the New Year. If you have the capacity to give again as we approach the new year, we need to raise a few thousand dollars to close out 2016 (things like rent for our office, residual campaign expenses and staff salaries for some post-election transition work) and more importantly, we need to pull together a seed fund to be able to continue our work in 2017.
We are willing to bet that if you look around Washington, or even the nation, you won’t find another climate advocacy group that is as lean, aggressive, grassroots oriented, and as experienced as CarbonWA. If you want to see us working on 2017, please consider making a gift now or in the near future when you can. It helps us the most to donate directly through our website (or to mail a check to CarbonWA PO Box 85565, Seattle WA, 98145).
News and Readings
See the New York Times Editorial, States Will Lead on Climate In the Trump Era, which includes a shout out to Washington and a carbon tax. Also, CNBC reports on a new survey from Yale & George Mason Universities finding that two-thirds of all Americans, and nearly half of Republicans, would support a revenue-neutral carbon tax.
A group of Washington youths are headed back to court to argue that the state and Gov. Inslee aren’t doing enough to protect their constitutional rights to a stable climate. Judge Hollis Hill granted their request for a hearing “due to the emergent need for coordinated science based action by the state of Washington to address climate change before efforts to do so are too costly and too late.” At the same time, the Washington State Dept. of Ecology just recommended more stringent greenhouse gas emission limits to the WA Legislature in order to limit “global temperature increases to below 2°C, and preferably below 1.5°C”. The Dept now recommends the statutory limits be changed to 40% below 1990 levels by 2035, and 80% below by 2050. The Massachusetts Dept of Environmental Protection just issued new clean air regulations in response to a court ruling that the state was not doing enough to meet its similar GHG reduction target.
The MIT Energy Initiative just released a proposed roadmap for the redesign of the U.S. power grid to accommodate the new world of renewables and distributed generation.
Finally, the North Pole is soaring to 50 or so degrees above normal right now, and climate scientists are working to find out what the cause is.
Hope springs eternal!
Happy New Year from the whole Carbon Washington team.
Talk to your friends and neighbors about I-732