Hello carbon tax friends: Today is the last day to postmark or otherwise turn in your May signature pages—we’ll have totals at the end of the week—and BTW last week we posted our signature-gathering job posting online but forgot to include the link in the email blast, so please share the job posting with high school and college students looking for a summer job working on carbon taxes! Read on for an analysis of How We Will Win—the executive summary is that we will win by building on British Columbia’s success story, by making climate a bipartisan issue, by telling the truth, by building the grassroots climate movement, by forcing the issue in the state legislature, and by taking advantage of a “can’t-miss opportunity” in 2016—but before delving into that let’s go over ways that you can help as we head into June!
Just a reminder about small ways that you can help us continue to build momentum:
“We have a winner.” – The Economist
In 2008 a right-of-center government in British Columbia implemented a “textbook example” of what many economists consider to be the best climate policy in the world. That revenue-neutral carbon tax—the inspiration for our policy—has successfully reduced emissions in BC without hurting economic growth and is now supported by both major political parties in BC and by 64% of British Columbians.
“The most important thing is to normalize this issue [climate action] with Republicans… Anything that makes it more partisan makes it less likely that there will be legislation, until such time as Democrats take over the world. Which according to my watch, will not be happening anytime soon.” – Democratic strategist Mark Mellman, NY Times.
Climate change is not and should not be a partisan issue. Moderates and conservatives want to see action on climate change, but they are concerned that climate action will lead to bigger government. A revenue-neutral carbon tax is the way to reach across the aisle in Washington, D.C., and in Washington State, where support for our policy among GOP voters reaches almost 40%. The alternative—pushing for a Progressive Take-Over of the World by using carbon revenue to expand government—is a non-starter nationally and a likely dead-end here in Washington State, where voters have consistently said No to more taxes.
[T]he need to address climate change [is] a simple, believable message that is increasingly relevant to most voters’ lives… we don’t need to hide our real intent [with “clean energy will create jobs and is good for the economy”]… We are on solid ground when we take on climate change directly. And of course, the more we talk about climate change, the more salient, top-of-mind, and clear it will be in voters’ minds. – Andrew Maxfield, Harstad Strategic
Having a simple, transparent policy—a revenue-neutral carbon tax that makes the state tax system fairer and more sustainable—means that we can tell the truth to voters: climate change is an issue of vital importance and we can tackle it in a bipartisan way that makes sense for the environment and for the economy. We can tell the truth to households and businesses: they can use the UW carbon tax swap calculator to see that our policy makes sense for business and that most households will pay a few hundred dollars a year more for fossil fuels and a few hundred dollars a year less for everything else. We can tell the truth to progressives: by funding a 25% Working Families Rebate, our policy will be a huge step forward on social justice for the most regressive tax system in the country. We can tell the truth to conservatives: our policy will use the power of the free market—not government coercion—to reduce emissions and help low-income households.
Telling the truth means that we will be able to hang on to the 55% of voters who support our policy—that’s the number from a Gallatin Group poll earlier this year, and that’s the number from a poll conducted last year by FM3—and it means that we will be able to fight for undecided voters by using messengers and messages that resonate across the political spectrum (and also we hope by gaining support from editorial boards like the revenue-neutral proponents at the Seattle Times).
Climate is easily lost in the shuffle unless there is an active and vocal citizen presence willing to take matters into its own hands. That is what Carbon Washington has done. CarbonWA is doing this [by] working with local climate-oriented groups such as Climate Action Bainbridge [and] building new local groups where there are none. – Patrick Mazza, Cascadia Planet
From UU Churches around the state, to Citizens Climate Lobby—which has over a dozen chapters just in Washington State—to local groups like 350 Seattle and Climate Action Bainbridge and Resources, the grassroots climate movement is blowing up like an oil train. That’s great news because mountains of data show the power of voters talking to other voters. Carbon Washington is honored to have endorsements from these groups, and we intend to do our part to build the movement. Just like 1992 was the “year of the woman”, including a U.S. Senate campaign by Patty Murray that was initially “sneered at by many political insiders in Seattle”, 2016 will be the “year of climate action”.
The prospect of a blunt initiative [from Carbon Washington] rather than a more nuanced bill has prompted legislators to huddle about Inslee’s carbon emissions tax proposal, said [House environment committee chair Joe] Fitzgibbon. – John Stang, Crosscut
After we collect 315,000 signatures, our measure will go to the state legislature in January 2016. If they fail to act then our measure will go on the ballot in November 2016, but we have a strategy for victory in the state legislature and we intend to fight hard to convince legislators on both sides of the aisle to vote Yes.
In 2016 we will have a presidential election that will bring out two groups that don’t otherwise vote in large numbers: young voters, who specifically support the Carbon Washington proposal by an overwhelming 76.6%, and voters of color, who disproportionately support taking climate action. And, at the time, in 2016 we will have just experienced what is likely to be the hottest year on record globally, and Washington State will likely have just passed through a “global warming stress test” with “crazy warm temperatures” and “weather conditions that are stunningly close to those expected to be normal by the end of the century.”
This should be the time for all citizens concerned about climate change to come together to support a pragmatic, transparent, and equitable program to address our climate crisis. I-732 has captured the attention and commitment of hundreds of grassroots volunteers of all ages and backgrounds throughout our state because they know the time for action is now, right now. No more talk, no more delays. This is the solution we’ve been waiting for and we won’t settle for excuses. We can do this, we must do this, and we will do this. – Erika Shriner, Climate Action Bainbridge
As always comments are welcome on the blog, or via Facebook or Twitter, and please send your Tales from the Trails, good or bad, to me at [email protected] (please cc: [email protected] if you can), and for this week I’ll just leave you with this picture from Saturday night at Gasworks Park.
Talk to your friends and neighbors about I-732