Climate Action in Washington is Gaining Headlines

We’ll continue to post headlines and links to articles about this work below as we become aware of them.

Feb. 23, 2018 Update:

Associated Press, February 23, 2018

Washington Carbon Tax Bill Clears key fiscal committee

SEATTLE (AP) — A measure to tax carbon emissions from fossil fuels to fight climate change has cleared a key fiscal committee in Washington state.

Seattle times, February 23, 2018

Podcast: Why Should Washington IMpose Carbon Tax

Sightline’s Kristin Eberhard gives the arguments for a state carbon tax, and rejects the theory advanced by critics that Washington shouldn’t act alone in the absence of a national strategy.

Kitsap Daily News, February 23, 2018

Carbon tax plan advances in the senate

OLYMPIA - A tax on carbon emissions has taken a big step forward.

Columbia Basin Herald, February 22, 2018

Regional solutions Needed to deal with climate change

Long-time Quincy apple grower Jack Toevs urges climate action to address increasing drought and wildfires.

Seattle Times, February 21, 2018

See how Mt Rainier Glaciers Have Vanished Over Time

A series of panoramic photographs taken during the Great Depression is offering a new view of ecological change across the Pacific Northwest.

Wenatchee world, February 14, 2018

Editorial: weighing in on carbon tax

The Wenatchee World editorial board urges support for the Legislature's carbon tax proposal.

Wenatchee world, February 11, 2018

Guest Column: Proposed carbon tax may help NCW communities

North Central Washington could benefit from investment in the transition to clean energy. Now is the time.

Wenatchee world, February 11, 2018

Guest Column: Carbon Tax could benefit or harm pud ratepayers

Our analysis also indicates that what benefits you as a Chelan PUD customer-owner is also the least cost approach for consumers across the state. A price on carbon in the electric sector achieves more carbon reduction for less cost than alternative policies.

Seattle Times, February 5, 2018

Lawmakers should push forward on Carbon tax plan

The Seattle Times editorial board urged legislators to act on climate in a recent Opinion piece.

Seattle P-I.comm, February 3, 2018

Long-Stymied Carbon Plan Takes a Step forward

Joel Connelly writes: A Washington state Senate committee has passed legislation to impose a statewide carbon tax, the key component of Gov. Jay Inslee's program to combat climate change and make Washington the linchpin of a new, clean-energy economy.

Story quotes Washington State Director Mike Stevens


Members of Seattle City Fire Department, hose down hot-spots with foam at First Creek Fire along Lake Chelan.  A mobile home just out of picture was being protected.  Photo by John Marshall.

Feb. 2, 2018 Update:

Last night, Washington state took one step closer to addressing climate change as a state Senate committee advanced a bill to reduce carbon pollution and move to a clean-energy economy. The bill includes substantial investments in the health of our natural resources and rural economies, and represents the input of hundreds of stakeholders who have engaged in the development of a policy that will work for all of Washington.

Read all about it here:

Climate Change Policy Clears State Senate Committee

Public News Service, Feb. 2, 2018

Rural Washington Gets a Voice in Carbon-Pricing Legislation

Washington's SSB 6203, which advanced through a state Senate committee last night, would tax carbon polluters, with the funds used to speed up the state's transition to clean energy, and to invest in projects to manage water and forest resources. Hear from forest industry leaders Doug Reed and Russ Vaagen, and Yakima City Councilwoman Carmen Mendez, about potential benefits to rural Washington.


Sightline, Jan. 29, 2018

Washington Legislators Chance to Act On Climate

Washington’s foresters, fishers, farmers, and farmworkers have become painfully familiar with the impacts of climate chaos while American politicians have spent the decade kicking the climate change can down the road.....

Washington’s government is running out of time to price carbon on its own terms. With climate impacts more immediate than ever and the advocacy more united than ever, voters may take the matter into their own hands come November.

Public Radio Exchange, Jan. 24 2018

100 % for Climate Action: Threading the Legislative Needle

The tag line the environmental community is using to spur climate legislation is “100% for climate action”. It's one that's gaining support from a variety of stakeholders - business leaders and city council members from central Washington. They may not agree on the exact language in bills making their way through the legislature, but their show of support for carbon pricing could thread the legislative needle.

This story quotes Nature Conservancy government relations director Mo McBroom


E&E News Climate Wire, Jan. 22

Can Gov. Inslee deliver America's first carbon tax?

Jay Inslee, Washington state's Democratic governor, is one of America's leading climate evangelists. Now, as he seeks to pass a major policy limiting emissions, he's facing perhaps the biggest political victory of his career, or his sharpest defeat….

With new Democratic majorities in the state House and Senate, the governor has resurrected his carbon tax proposal (Climatewire, Jan. 10). It would start at $20 per ton in the summer of 2019 and increase by 3.5 percent annually after adjusting for inflation. The majority of the revenue would be plowed into emissions-reduction programs and a transition fund to help low-income communities cope with rising gasoline and electricity prices.

E&E News Climate Wire, Jan. 22

Q&A: Inslee talks climate change and ‘biblical’ weather

For many Democratic governors, climate change is a line in their stump speech. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is different.

When Inslee stepped to the rostrum in Olympia for his annual State of the State address earlier this month, he dedicated most of his remarks to climate and his proposal to institute a carbon tax.

It's an ambitious undertaking, as Inslee knows all too well. No state has ever passed a carbon tax, and Washington has twice rejected the idea. … Inslee believes this time is different. Divisions among environmentalists, which helped sink the ballot measure, have been healed, and Democrats now boast legislative majorities in the state House and Senate. Republicans and portions of the business community are opposed, and the governor will need to win over Democratic lawmakers leery of supporting the controversial measure in an election year.

The Seattle Times, Jan. 21

The cost of carbon: Pay now or pay later

Jon Talton/Columnist

Doing nothing on climate change costs more than doing something, even Gov. Jay Inslee’s modest carbon tax, says columnist Jon Talton.

If you want less of something, tax it. This simple axiom informs Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposal for a tax on carbon in Washington state. Carbon emissions are the worst driver of human-caused climate change, which is already proving costly and disruptive. It’s only going to get worse.

Auburn Reporter, Jan 19, 2018

Ballot Initiative Threat has energy industry warming to Governor’s proposed carbon tax

By Josh Kelety/WNPA Olympia News Bureau

With environmental activists threatening a carbon tax ballot initiative, some manufacturing and energy companies are opting to work with lawmakers on Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s recently proposed tax rather than flat out oppose it.

On Jan. 9, Gov. Inslee rolled out a sweeping proposal to tax carbon emissions from power plants and transportation fuels at a rate of $20 per ton starting in July, 2019. The tax is estimated to raise $3.3 billion over three years, which would be reinvested in sustainable energy infrastructure, forestry, and assistance for low-income communities facing increased energy costs….

At a state Senate Energy, Environment, and Technology Committee hearing on Jan. 16, representatives from the Washington business and energy communities expressed tepid support for the proposal given the threat of a ballot initiative, but argued that they want to see the tax rate reduced and the industry exemptions clarified.

The Seattle Times, Jan 9

Gov. Inslee to release carbon tax proposal Tuesday

Gov. Jay Inslee Tuesday released an ambitious plan to tax fossil-fuel emissions in Washington state. But will the Washington Legislature approve it?

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee Tuesday urged Washington lawmakers to embrace his ambitious plan to tax fossil-fuel emissions in Washington state.

In his State of the State address, the governor implored legislators to cast aside their reservations and adopt a plan to tackle climate change in this year’s short, 60-day legislative session.

“It is time to step up,” Inslee told lawmakers at the Capitol. The impacts of climate change, he added, “will be carried by our children, our economy, our security and our quality of life.”

The Seattle Times, Jan. 4

Washington carbon policy should invest in landscapes, rural communities, state lands chief  says

As debate over a carbon policy for Washington heats up, the commissioner of public lands urges a strategy that invests in preservation and enhancement of forests, agricultural and aquatic lands, and rural economies.

This story quotes Nature Conservancy board member Doug Reed, and government relations director Mo McBroom:

Doug Reed, president of Green Diamond Resource Company, a fifth-generation family-owned timber business founded near Shelton, Mason County, in 1890: “At a certain price, carbon becomes more valuable than the tree,” Reed said. “People who own forests would love to feel there is some motivation to grow bigger, older trees, and would work hard to make it all work, at the same time being in the interest of shareholders.”

Mo McBroom, Washington government relations director for the Conservancy: “You can reduce carbon emissions if you are smart about how you invest in the natural environment. Whether agricultural soils, or sequestering carbon in trees, investing in the landscape is a critical piece of a comprehensive climate policy.”