Tag Archives: carbon tax

One more chance for WA’s “Green Wave”

…with inaction at the federal level, maybe a single state paving the way is our best hope for catalyzing broader action. Someone needs to lead. With lessons learned from this most recent failure, and more Democratic seats picked up in the state legislature — offering a firmer legislative route to passing a carbon tax — Inslee may yet be proved right in casting that leader as the state of Washington.

Column by Catherine Rampell, who covers the intersection between politics and economics for the Washington Post:


OCA endorses I-1631; time to gather signatures!

State initiative would put a fee on carbon and devote the proceeds to clean energy and climate protection

At its April 2018 monthly meeting, Olympic Climate Action (OCA) agreed by consensus to endorse I-1631, the Protect Washington Act initiative. OCA joins Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, Washington Audubon, a coalition of Native American tribes and 200 other statewide organizations in our endorsement.

We cannot continue to treat our atmosphere as a sewer without incurring a deadly cost, one much greater than the cost of an emissions fee.

We must collect 270,000 signatures statewide by the end of June to get this initiative on the ballot, and residents of the Olympic Peninsula must do our part. To help this signature-gathering campaign, contact:

Links for more information:

Climate/Energy bills in the State Leg

OCA’s Executive Committee just sent these messages to our 24th District state legislators; we suggest you contact them as well, on this and other issues still pending in the Legislature:

Rep. Mike Chapman: mike.chapman@leg.wa.gov 360-786-7916

Rep. Steve Tharinger: steve.tharinger@leg.wa.gov 360-786-7904

Sen. Kevin Van de Wege: kevin.vandewege@leg.wa.gov 360-786-7646

  • 3SHB 1144: OCA commends the State House for passing this bill which would revise the current state-mandated reduction limits to reflect current science concerning the level and rate of reduction that will be necessary to avoid catastrophic climate disruption.
  • SB 6203: OCA would support this carbon-tax bill if the tax were put back at $20/ton and exemptions were removed from the Transalta coal plant and other non-“Energy Intensive Trade-Exposed” (EITE) industries. We neither support nor oppose the current, watered-down version of this bill.
  • HB 2839:  OCA supported the original bill, which gives the Utilities and Transportation Commission authority to assess economic impacts associated with incremental increases in carbon dioxide emissions within a calendar year.
    • However, we do NOT support the added provision requiring that qualified biomass energy be considered a non-emitting resource. First, there is no question that burning material containing carbon will emit greenhouse gases, and even if in the long run the process were carbon neutral (which it is not), we face a climate crisis that is very much going to take place in the short run, and we need to reduce emissions as much as we can, as quickly as we can. Some argue that biofuel is carbon friendly because it displaces the burning of coal in power plants; this comparison is unfair because it compares to the most carbon-intensive energy source there is, rather than cleaner-energy sources. But even so, it is flawed to call biomass burning emissions-neutral. See the following links:


Letter to the Senate on carbon neutrality of forest biomass | Woods Hole Research Center



Legislators: enact a strong carbon tax

At our general membership meeting of 2/4/18, we agreed to send this letter to our state legislators urging action on a strong carbon tax. The time is now, and there is no time for half-measures or excuses. We urge individuals to write their own letters on this issue–your representatives need to hear from you!

Letter to 24th Dist. Leg. re carbon pricing 2018-02-04

Our legislators are facing many important issues, but frankly, none of these other issues will matter if we don’t get a handle on climate change. We need to change our current trajectory, strongly and swiftly, and with our federal government having abdicated responsibility for the future of human civilization, it’s up to the rest of us–states, Tribes, localities, businesses and individuals–to take matters into our own hands.
Please consider sending a letter of your own; your representatives need to hear from you!

Nature Conservancy considering carbon tax proposal for Washington State

“We’ve made a major financial commitment to do all the work that needs to be done,” she added, including gathering about 350,000 signatures to ensure the needed valid signatures.


Legislators: Put a price on carbon now

By unanimous agreement at our meeting of 5/7/2017, we have sent this letter to our state legislators:

Senator Kevin Van de Wege

Representative Steve Tharinger

Representative Mike Chapman

Washington State Legislature

Dear State Legislative representatives from District 24:

Olympic Climate Action maintains a membership of more than 600 members from the Olympic Peninsula through email and other social media. Our membership promotes action by government at all levels to both mitigate climate change and prepare adaptation measures. We believe that the single most urgent thing we need to do as a society is to put a price on carbon that reflects its true costs and provides a disincentive for its use. Our membership has been happy to see a number of proposed carbon tax bills under consideration by the state legislature. Each has its pros and cons. In urging your own consideration, we would like to underscore the following concepts:

  • Urgency: Scientists tell us that we have precious little time to waste on converting to a clean-energy economy, and therefore we urge action on a carbon-pricing bill NOW. Economists seem to converge on an initial price at $25 per ton of CO2.
  • Efficacy: Scientists such as James Hansen, former NASA lead climate scientist, also tell us that to set a target that doesn’t risk the safety and well-being of the next generation, we need to aim for 350 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere by the end of the century, and that to hit such a target, we need to reach a 91% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Our carbon pricing needs to aim for that target.
  • Support for mitigation: Use some of the proceeds to actively support the reduction of our carbon footprint through incentives, research, and infrastructure investment.  Explore the creation of a market for forest carbon sequestration.
  • Equity: Assure that those least able to deal with additional expenses in their budgets find relief; that poor communities least able to deal with cope with climate impacts are helped to achieve resiliency; and that workers in dislocated economic sectors are helped to find alternate employment.
  • Integrity: Construct the program in such a way that it does not lead to “leakage” of greenhouse-gas emissions to other states or countries.
  • Accountability and oversight: Ensure that taxpayers’ funds are spent both effectively and efficiently with broad benefits, including implementing the State’s Clean Air Rule.

In addition to carbon pricing, we also support these related initiatives:

  • Oil Transportation Safety (HB 1611) will help address a $3.6 million funding shortfall in state oil spill prevention programs, improve oil spill prevention for Puget Sound, and provide more public input on proposed oil pipeline projects. This is common-sense protection for our communities, and it comes under threat of vastly increased shipping in our waters.
  • The creation of an electric vehicle charging station loop around the Olympic Peninsula.  While such infrastructure will enhance our tourism business, it will also facilitate the conversion by local residents to electric vehicles.  We hope you will work with your colleagues to support General Fund investment in publicly-available electric vehicle charging stations, as well as the maximum allowable funding of EV chargers from the VW litigation settlement.

Please respond with your positions on these topics, or if you wish we’d be glad to meet with you to discuss these critical issues.


The members of Olympic Climate Action, adopted unanimously at our general membership meeting of May 7, 2017

“Occupy” endorses I-732

Occupy.com has posted a story about “6 ballot initiatives to watch in 2016.” Author Matt Stannard calls I-732 “absolutely the most important initiative in the country.”

From the story: “At the top of the list is the first and only carbon tax and rebate initiative in the United States, an idea championed by a variety of advocates across a wide ideological spectrum. Over a two-year period, Initiative 732 would institute a $25 per metric ton of CO2 consumed in the state. The proposal also reduces state sales taxes across the board by 1 percent; this makes sense because sales taxes are regressive for no socially defensible reason, while the carbon tax at least has a purpose. Even better, the proposal provides up to $1,500 per year in the form of a tax rebate to 400,000 of the lowest-income Washingtonians – the people most likely to fear a post-carbon transition for legitimate economic reasons.”


I-732 will benefit Clallam County $$$

In a presentation to the Dungeness River Management Team, CarbonWA executive board member Mike Massa made the case for the I-732 revenue-neutral carbon tax and refuted the statements that the Clallam County PUD had made opposing the initiative at a previous DRMT meeting.  Here are his slides in Powerpoint and PDF format.

Note the projected economic impacts:

Continue reading

Raves for I-732 and putting a fair price on carbon

“If there was one thing I would like to see, it would be for us to be able to price the cost of carbon emissions.”

* That’s President Obama responding to a question from Thomas Friedman about the single most important thing we can do to solve climate change, from a forthcoming episode in the new season of Years of Living Dangerously, which will begin airing in October and which focuses on their new #PutAPriceOnIt campaign.  That episode will feature Carbon Washington and I-732.

More raves:

LOCAL I-732 events today!

Help bring a carbon tax to WA!

At 2:45 today at the Dungeness River Audubon Center, Mike Massa of the CarbonWA executive board will give a presentation on I-732 to the Dungeness River Management Team, refuting the misleading statements made by the Clallam County PUD in opposition to the initiative.  A public comment period will follow at the end of the meeting.  Please attend if you can, and say at least a few words in support at the end of the meeting, and help introduce Mike to local people after the meeting.

This evening, we’ll gather starting at 5:30 at the home of Brian Grad at 245 Jake Way in Carlsborg, for food, drink (feel free to bring potluck items), and strategizing about the local I-732 campaign.  Please attend this important meeting.

If not us, who?

If not now, when?

If not this, what?

In the spirit, Ed Chadd, Mike Massa, and Brian Grad

PUD Commissioners:  fulfill your mission and support I-732

“We are disappointed that the Clallam County PUD Board of Commissioners voted against supporting Initiative 732, a measure designed to accelerate the switch to affordable clean energy.”

In a guest opinion piece in the Sequim Gazette, OCA members collaborated on a response and appeal to the Clallam County Public Utility District Commissioners to rescind their opposition to the Carbon Tax Initiative, I-732.  The main points:

  • Most Clallam residents will keep more money in their pockets with I-732.
  • I-732 will help the PUD meet its state and federal regulatory mandates.
  • Most importantly, I-732 will curb fossil fuel pollution which contributes to climate change, a problem with serious social and economic consequences for Clallam County–winter floods, summer drought, wildfire, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification among them.

The piece concludes:  “We have a responsibility to protect our children and future generations from these dangerous and costly threats to our community. With I-732, we can reduce taxes while protecting the environment. We urge the Clallam PUD commissioners to support I-732 and fulfill their mission to provide reliable, efficient, safe and low cost utility services in a financially and environmentally responsible manner.”

Catastrophic weather events seem to capture more headlines with each passing year–including events which have cut off power or water to PUD customers.  The time for “business as usual” is past.  We will continue to educate the PUD Commissioners and PUD customers about the advantages of I-732 to our community, our state, our nation, and the world at large.  Climate change is not going away, and these issues aren’t either–in fact, they become more compelling with each passing day.

OCA responds to PUD misstatements about I-732

On May 9, members of OCA presented this statement to Clallam County PUD commissioners regarding their ill-considered opposition to I-732, the state carbon-tax initiative that will be on the ballot in November.

In spite of substantive refutations from OCA, OCA members, and a representative from the I-732 campaign, pointing out that I-732 will have very little economic impact on Clallam County and will help rather than hurt those most strapped to pay their electric bills, the PUD commissioners passed their anti-732 resolution anyway.

OCA will continue to educate the PUD commissioners and the public on these issues.  Sitting back and doing nothing will not make the climate crisis go away.

OCA sponsoring events in support of I-732

Promoting the CarbonWA carbon-tax initiative to bring clean energy to WA

OCA is sponsoring several events centered around the effort to enact a revenue-neutral tax swap which will tax “bads” (fossil fuels) instead of “goods” (sales, business activities, and working families):
  • July 30, 1:05 PM:  KONP Radio 1450’s (and FM 101.7) Todd Ortloff will interview Yoram Bauman about climate change, pricing carbon, and the I-732 CarbonWA initiative.
  • Aug. 2, 6:30-8:30:  “Climate Change–It’s No Joke:  An Evening of Fun, Fossil-Fuel Fungibility, and Fundraising with Yoram Bauman.”  Yoram (yur-AHM), the world’s only stand-up Ph.D. economist and principal author of I-732, will explain in a light-hearted way why economics is so basically funny and why I-732 is so important to our future and our community.  Refreshments, socializing, Q&A, signature-gatherer signups, and unabashed fundraising will also roll out.  Elwha Klallam Heritage Center.  Doors open at 6:30 for refreshments and socializing, then Yoram will step up to the plate at 7–and we don’t mean the dessert plate!  Poster
  • Aug. 3, 12-1:  Yoram will speak to the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce on “Why a Carbon Tax Will Be Good for Our Community:  Let Us Count the Ways.”  Red Lion Hotel, upstairs banquet room.  Lunch $15, drinks-only $3.

Support CarbonWA and WAmend initiatives for a healthy future

In spite of Governor Inslee’s attempt to pass a carbon cap-and-trade bill to limit carbon pollution and help fund our underfunded education system, it has become clear that no significant carbon-reduction legislation will be passed in this session of the Legislature, where even the Democratic-controlled State House will not put cap-and-trade on the floor.

Once again, then, the people must speak from the grassroots and take the reigns of leadership when the legislature won’t.  We are lucky to have an enlightened and energetic group of activists at the state level who have filed the CarbonWA initiative for a state carbon tax, similar to the highly-successful carbon tax in British Columbia.  (See below, and also our Links page for more details.)

Olympic Climate Action has endorsed the CarbonWA campaign, and the signature drive has begun.  We will have petitions available at our next meeting, April 12 from 3-5 pm at the Elwha Heritage Center.

OCA has also endorsed the WAmend initiative campaign for a constitutional amendment stating that corporations aren’t people and money isn’t speech, to limit the power of wealthy individuals and corporations to buy elections.  We are hoping you will go out collecting signatures on both petitions.

How lucky we are to live in a democracy where the people can take the Initiative–literally–into our own hands.

A Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax Ballot Measure Campaign for Washington State

After many days of labor by our legal team and others, we are delighted to announce the birth of Initiative to the Legislature #732!

Ballot language

Our official ballot title (the 30-word summary that will appear on the ballot) is: Initiative Measure No. 732 concerns taxes. This measure would impose a carbon emission tax on certain fossil fuels and fossil-fuel-generated electricity, reduce the sales tax by one percentage point and increase a low-income exemption, and reduce certain manufacturing taxes. Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ].

For more details see the plain language and annotated legal language on our website, or read the whole measure yourself.


If you want some petitions so that you can begin collecting signatures, please email duncan@carbonwa.org with your address and phone number and he’ll work on getting you some.

  • Other upcoming events here.

3656 Francis Ave N #B
Seattle WA 98103 United States

Join the CarbonWA initiative signature drive

The goal is 300,000 signatures by December–can you help?

Our friends at CarbonWA have eloquently made the case for a revenue-neutral carbon tax that would be offset by reductions in the Sales Tax and Business & Occupations Tax, along with a tax credit for the working poor.  Led by Ph.D. economist Yoram Bauman and advised by a host of heavy hitters in the political, legal, and energy worlds, this carefully-crafted initiative could help Washington State join similar market-mechanism efforts in California, Oregon and British Columbia to make the West Coast a regional leader in climate action.

OCA has endorsed CarbonWA and joined as a local chapter.  Please help by making a signature gathering pledge for yourself or your group.

OCA endorses CarbonWA’s revenue-neutral carbon tax proposal

The recent election did not prove favorable to climate action in the Washington State Legislature.  It is time for the people to bring the issue forward and do what our gridlocked legislative bodies won’t do on their own.  It is time for our state (and governments around the world) to turn the engines of capitalism in the direction of saving the planet rather than destroying it.  Therefore, OCA has endorsed CarbonWA’s effort to bring forward carbon-tax legislation, if necessary by means of an initiative.  Here’s how they describe it:

Why Washington State Needs Environmental Tax Reform

Environmental tax reform will improve Washington’s economy and reduce Washington’s carbon pollution.  It is a win/win for those of us who want to help spur economic growth and improve air quality by reducing pollution.

Environmental tax reform would:

  • Improve air quality and reduce airborne toxins
  • Help slow ocean acidity and sea level rise
  • Reduce the state sales tax by a full percentage point
  • Fund the Working Families Sales Tax Rebate to help working families
  • Eliminate the Business and Occupation (B&O) tax for manufacturers
  • Pay for these tax reductions with a carbon tax of $25 per ton of CO2

Our goal is to bring environmental tax reform to Washington State, but we can’t do it without your help. Please join us!

To find out more about our draft proposal, please go to our Policy page.

OCA writes Clallam PUD objecting to their opposition to a carbon tax

Here is the letter that OCA wrote to the Clallam County Public Utility District (PUD) objecting to their letter to the Energy Northwest power suppliers’ consortium opposing the idea of a carbon tax.  This PUD position was taken without public input, and the letter was sent without public notice.  It is a great disservice to the power users and voters who elected this board, and it represents neither the truth nor the input of the PUD’s constituency.  We expect better of our elected officials.

To PUD Board re opposition to carbon tax legislation

Why we need a carbon tax now

OCA is affiliated with the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a national organization lobbying for national carbon fee-and-dividend legislation.  Here is an editorial from the Wenatchee World written by two fellow CCL members:  Carbon tax commentary.

OCA is communicating with U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer to urge him to co-sponsor carbon-tax legislation.  We urge letters to Rep. Kilmer on this subject:  Representative Derek Kilmer, Kilmer District Office, 345 6th Street, Suite 500, Bremerton, WA  98337.  Or submit your comments at his website:  https://kilmer.house.gov/contact/email-me.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby workshop Sunday, June 29

Sunday, 6/29/2014, 3-5 pm, Elwha Heritage Center (socializing at 2:30)

OCA has joined the Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), a nationwide, non-partisan organization working to create the political will for a livable world.

Personal changes to reduce carbon footprints are very important, but if we are going to halt global warming, we need systemic change. CCL is asking Congress to pass a gradually increasing national tax on carbon with dividends returned to households. With all the revenue from the carbon fees returned to consumers, the power of the free market would help us transition to a safer, more stable, clean energy economy.

CCL is now six years old and has expanded to over 170 chapters in the US and Canada, including seven in Washington State. CCL chapters meet monthly to listen to an international conference call with a speaker discussing legislation, science, economics, communication, leadership, and more, to practice talking points, to write letters and to plan steps to develop a successful working relationship with our local editors and producers of news and our members of Congress (MOC). The approach is positive, respectful and inclusive.

OCA has joined CCL, and to kick off the relationship, a new chapter starts with a workshop that includes inspiring and provocative presentations, group and paired discussions, and communication practice using scientifically proven techniques. We will help each other develop into expert presenters and lobbyists to persuade our elected officials to become champions for a livable world.

Every year, CCL members meet in Washington DC to update their training and to meet with members of Congress and their aides. There are congressional aides in DC who are expert in different fields. Meeting them and helping them get the information they need to accurately advise the elected officials is a critical step in getting legislation passed.

Last year Congressman Kilmer met with a few members of CCL and was very positive about carbon pricing but made it clear that he would not co-sponsor legislation for a carbon fee and dividend, unless he heard from many of his constituents that it was a priority for them.

Please join the thousands of CCL members who are expanding the social mandate for a strong economy, healthy climate and better future.  The workshop will be led by CCL’s leader in Washington state, Louise Stonington.  We will gather to socialize at 2:30 and the workshop will start at 3.