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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.
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Carbon tax friends, be proud of what we’ve accomplished 

Together, we accomplished something historic by putting the nation’s first statewide carbon tax before the voters. We showed that there is a strong desire for common-sense climate action in Washington State, and we influenced the national conversation on climate policy. We ran an honest, transparent, and positive campaign focused on addressing the climate and equity problems facing our society. We did all of that thanks to you.

The votes are still being counted, but we’re on track to get well over 1 million votes in support of a policy that would have created one of the strongest carbon prices in the world and been the biggest improvement in the fairness of our state’s tax system in 40 years. We led the biggest voter education effort on climate change ever in the state. We knocked on over 100,000 doors, made over 1 million phone calls, and published more than 140 letters to the editor in every type of media outlet. Our campaign raised more than $1.5 million from thousands of donors with a median donation of $50.

We formed a terrific partnership with Audubon Washington and with grassroots organizations across the state, especially chapters of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (both in Washington State and as far away as Hawaii!); regional climate action groups like Climate Action Bainbridge, Cascadia Climate Action, Olympic Climate Action, Oregon Climate (now Our Climate), and Divest UW; faith organizations including the Climate Action Ministry at Eastshore Unitarian, Interfaith Works, and Washington UU Voices; clean energy groups like Seattle Electric Vehicles, Seattle Transit Blog, and Solar Installers of Washington; and many others, including Carbon Tax CenterConservation Hawks, the American Sustainable Business Council, AIA Seattle, and the American Planning Association’s Washington Chapter (more…)

YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY is back for another must-see season. In the video posted here, Don Cheadle, Nikki Reed, Ian Somerhalder (who have all endorsed I-732) and others make the case to “Put a Price on Carbon.”

Watch YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on the National Geographic channel. Each YOLD correspondent – including top Hollywood stars recognized for their commitment to spotlighting and acting on the biggest issues of our time – delves into a different impact of climate change. In the show’s second season, they cross the globe not only to discover the devastating impacts climate change is already having, but to also find the solutions that can solve the crisis.

Famed environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., has weighed in on I-732. Writing in EcoWatch, Kennedy says “Washington state voters have a profound duty to support Initiative 732, our nation’s first carbon tax.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Supports Initiative 732, carbon tax in Washington

“By making Washington the premier American government to place a price on carbon, Evergreen voters will pioneer the trail away from our deadly carbon addiction and its murderous offspring: climate chaos . . .”

Kennedy also emphasizes the national importance of I-732: “By voting yes on I-732, Washingtonians will not just preserve the environment for children. They will pave the way for a national transition to the clean energy future.

“I hope Washington voters will step up and show the federal government that the visionary, idealistic, can-do leadership is alive and well in America and it’s living in Washington state.”

Read his complete column in EcoWatch. (You can also help share the article via Facebook and Twitter.) (more…)

Conaway, Tam and Nelson refute claims of I-732's opponentsThroughout the campaign, opponents of Initiative 732 have recycled the same arguments — that the tax swap will reduce revenue to the state, lead to a loss of jobs, and create an “unjust transition” to a clean-energy economy. This video explores each of those issues, and shows how — in each case — I-732 will accomplish the opposite of what opponents claim. (more…)

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Closing in on the $20k match for “Nod Yes on 732” TV ad

Since Tuesday we’ve had 80 donations totaling $14,827 towards our final $20k matching challenge to fund the awesome “Nod Yes on 732” TV ad. (Our partners at Audubon Washington are also doing ad buys, so we’re all trying to do our part!) Thank you for your contributions, and if you haven’t yet donated you can do so — DONATE.  (more…)

Ramez Naam

The Stranger, Seattle’s popular alternative newspaper, recently endorsed Initiative 732. Then four members of the committee that makes the endorsements published a dissenting view.

Interestingly, one of the four, Sydney Brownstone, wrote an article last year underscoring the importance of dealing with climate change now. “If we do nothing,” she wrote, “the neighborhoods of South Park and Georgetown — including Boeing Field — will be flooding daily by 2104, according to scientific projections.”  (more…)

The R Street Institute — a non-profit, non-partisan, public policy research organization that promotes free markets and limited, effective government — calls a carbon tax a “bargain for conservatives.”

In a policy study written by Catrina Rorke, R Street’s director of energy policy, the institute says even a modest carbon tax will bring big results: “The price doesn’t have to be large. If the necessary steps are taken to remove government-imposed obstacles to innovation and wealth generation, a relatively modest price will reshape economic decision-making. A modest carbon price of about $20 per ton would reduce emissions 8 percent below business as usual . . .” (I-732 imposes a price of $15 a ton in the first year and $25 in the second, with annual adjustments.)

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We’re hitting our fundraising targets

Thanks to everyone who helped us meet our $57k matching challenge! Between your generosity and the generosity of the donors who put up the match, we raised $116,782 from 355 donors between the start of our challenge on Sept 24 and the close of our challenge on Sunday. Great work (!) and if you missed out, well, it’s not too late to donate 🙂 Your contributions enable us to drive the biggest voter education on climate change the state has ever seen, and underscores that our most single most important priority is saving the planet!

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PRESS RELEASE

UW scientists “deeply concerned about the consequences of man-made climate change” call I-732 “a major step in the right direction.”

SEATTLE, October 10, 2016 – More than fifty climate scientists from the University of Washington signed an open letter advocating their support for Initiative 732 (www.yeson732.org), a revenue neutral carbon tax swap that will be on the ballot in Washington State this November. These scientists are world-leaders in the study of climate change and the profound impacts of rising levels of greenhouse gases, such as CO2, in the atmosphere.

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