Campaign News

Hello carbon tax friends: Lots of activity in Olympia this week: our first hearing in the State Senate, an op-ed in The Olympian… and RSVP for Lobby Day for Tuesday Feb 23! (You can also try out our snazzy new form to contact your legislator directly.)

Tuesday’s Senate hearing on I-732

We had a respectful and thoughtful reception during our first hearing in Olympia on Tuesday, in the Senate committee chaired by Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale)… and it was great to see so many CarbonWA supporters turn out to enthusiastically support I-732! You can watch the full 2-hour video on TVW, or if that’s too much for you then here are some media highlights: “Carbon Washington Gets Its First Senate Hearing” by Sara Bernard in the Seattle Weekly; “Washington Lawmakers Consider Putting A Price On Carbon” by Ken Christensen on KCTS9/EarthFix (make sure to check out the pretty awesome video on “Carbon pricing, explained with chickens”!); news radio 560 KPQ in Wenatchee had “Lawmakers Look at “Revenue Neutral” Carbon Tax”; Deanna Duff of the Bellingham Business Journal has “Pollution measure calls for paying more at pump, less at register“; and supporter Art Johnson came with his video camera and produced this video.

We expect more hearings in the weeks ahead (and in fact we believe there will be hearing in the House finance committee at 8am on F Feb 19, email duncan@carbonwa.org for more info), so stay tuned and please RSVP here for Lobby Day on Tuesday February 23!

Updated website: Yeson732.org

The CarbonWA.org website now automatically forwards to Yeson732.org, our snazzy new website. Check out all the updates (including the intro video and an updated FAQ page), please send feedback to duncan@carbonwa.org, and thanks to Duncan and our “communications QB” Bill Boyd (and to web designer Warren Curkendall) for pushing this forward!

In the news

I had an op-ed in the Olympian that summarizes our concerns about the OFM fiscal note: “State fiscal office miscalculates carbon initiative’s revenue stream”. Washington State Wire has a somewhat confusing editorial on “A Pontification on 732, Plan B?” that concludes with this: “The reason I-732 may pass is not its genius, its policy or its tax. It may pass because politics and public policy abhors a vacuum and will fill it. The vacuum caused by this legislature is so strong it could suck I-732 into the law books in a heartbeat.”

Elsewhere, the Journal of Economic Perspectives has a sobering article on “Will We Ever Stop Using Fossil Fuels?” Key quotes: “[T]he world is likely to be awash in fossil fuels for decades and perhaps even centuries to come.” Also this: “Thus, we are driven to the conclusion that activist and aggressive policy choices are necessary to drive reductions in the consumption of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions.” Paul Krugman has a related but more optimistic view in the NYT, writing that “really dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are well within reach, requiring only moderate incentives rather than a complete teardown of the existing system”. A thought-provoking article on what those incentives might be comes from Mark Jaccard, who played a key role in the development of the BC carbon tax and writes “Want an effective climate policy? Heed the evidence”: “Carbon taxes and caps may be most effective in economic theory, but smart regulation will produce better climate policy for our political reality.” He might be right, but the risks of that approach were evident in the U.S. Supreme Court decision to temporarily block Obama’s Clean Power Plan pending legal review, and that prompts Chris Mooney in the Washington Post to write that “there is really only one policy that both sides can accept in the long run — a carbon tax that is “revenue neutral””. Also CNN’s Fareed Zakaria had a good piece on his weekly podcast (in the third segment, at about minute 20:00) about revenue-neutral carbon taxes… and the Christian Science Monitor has “Effects of carbon emissions could last 10,000 years, study finds”.

Regards, and please RSVP here for Lobby Day on Tuesday February 23!