Fireplaces burning in the summer when it’s 90 degrees!

Yesterday in downtown Bellevue, I attended the Bellevue Arts Festival and popped into Lincoln Square South and other stores to cool off. I looked into the classy Hotel W and saw that they were running gas-powered fireplaces:

This is despite the fact that it was about 90 degrees outside.

I see other buildings in downtown Bellevue doing the same thing.

I suppose they do it for the mood. But what a waste!

I’m pro-life: in favor of Medicare for all, a healthy environment, and gun control

I’m pro-life for adults and for later-term fetuses, but I’m pro-choice for early-term fetuses.  However, it seems that many conservative Americans are pro-life only for fetuses but not so much for children and adults.

Real pro-life includes everyone, not just fetuses. So, I’m in favor of government-guaranteed medical care for everyone.  And I’m in favor of stringent environmental regulations.

Here are some links about how harmful auto and truck traffic are to human health.

Many daycare centers and schools are dangerously close to busy roads.
http://www.invw.org/series/exhausted-at-school/

Living near highways bad for lungs
http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/outdoor/air-pollution/highways.html

Living close to a major roadway could increase dementia, study says
http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/04/health/dementia-risk-living-near-major-road/index.html

Roads are harmful to pregnant women
http://envhealthcenters.usc.edu/infographics/infographic-living-near-busy-roads-or-traffic-pollution/references-living-near-busy-roads-or-traffic-pollution

Road pollution associated with increased breast cancer
https://nypost.com/2017/04/06/the-roads-you-live-near-affect-the-health-of-your-boobs/

Road pollution bad for heart health
https://news.heart.org/living-near-busy-roads-may-bad-heart-patients-health/

Then there are the indisputable negative effects of carbon pollution on the climate change.

The Arnold responds to the Donald, and the NY Times explains why the Repugs started denying climate change

BREAKING: Arnold Schwarzenegger has a blunt message for Donald Trump. #ParisAgreement

Posted by ATTN: Video on Thursday, June 1, 2017

In 2008 when John McCain ran for president, he ran a campaign ad that “sounded the alarm on global warming.” Since then virtually the entire GOP establishment have become climate change deniers. What happened?

Politics How G.O.P. Leaders Came to View Climate Change as Fake Science

“Those divisions did not happen by themselves. Republican lawmakers were moved along by a campaign carefully crafted by fossil fuel industry players, most notably Charles D. and David H. Koch, the Kansas-based billionaires who run a chain of refineries (which can process 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day) as well as a subsidiary that owns or operates 4,000 miles of pipelines that move crude oil.”

Supporting the Solar Incentive Bill HB2346 in Senate

The Solar Extension bill HB 2346 is alive and is now in the Senate.  It supports the Solar industry in Washington state by helping to make an installation more affordable up front.

The Bill will have a committee (Senate Energy, Environment and solar-panels-on-roof-3Telecommunications Committee)  hearing on Wednesday, February 24.  To get out of this committee and on to Ways and Means then Senate floor, we need to stress the jobs and good for the economy message.  Please contact your state senator and let them know you support the Solar Extension bill as it encourages this industry and will help create new jobs in Washington state.  You can call your senator/reps at  1-800-562-6000 and ask them to support HB2346.  You can also email by looking them up here:  http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/.

This weekend many reps and Senators are having Town Hall Discussions.  This is another great place to ask for support for great legislation such as HB2346.  The jobs and economy message will resonate with Senators more than an environmental message.  The bill passed the house with bipartisan support, so with the right encouragement there is a good chance it will also pass the senate.

Thank you for considering this action.  Please spread the word, constituent voices are very influential!

The terrorists in our midst

They live amongst us, pretending to be normal people.

But each year they kill over 35,000 Americans.

They poison our air and damage our health, causing asthma, lung disease, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

They finance ISIS and Al Qaeda.

They lead us to fight wars.

They cause catastrophic climate change.

They destroy the livability of our cities.

They lower our real estate values.

They waste our time.

Who are these domestic terrorists?

They’re car drivers, commuters, you and me (though I always commute by bike or bus).

Driving is like smoking in a nursery

The World Health Organization reports that every year there are about 7 million premature deaths due to air pollution.

The Union of Concerned Scientists says:

Nearly one half of all Americans—an estimated 150 million—live in areas that don’t meet federal air quality standards. Passenger vehicles and heavy-duty trucks are the main sources of this pollution, which includes ozone, particulate matter, and other smog-forming emissions.

The health risks of air pollution are extremely serious. Poor air quality increases respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis, heightens the risk of life-threatening conditions like cancer, and burdens our health care system with substantial medical costs. Particulate matter is singlehandedly responsible for up to 30,000 premature deaths each year.

Passenger vehicles are a major pollution contributor, producing significant amounts of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and other pollution. In 2013, transportation contributed more than half of the carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, and almost a quarter of the hydrocarbons emitted into our air.

Fewer than 5000 people have died due to terrorism in America since the 1960s. But each year seven times as many people die in car crashes.

The U.S. has more than three times the road fatality rate per capita as the United Kingdom (11.6 deaths per 100,000 people versus 3.5) and more than  twice the road fatality rate per vehicle (13.6 per 100,000  vehicles versus 6.2).   “In the 1990s, the United Kingdom dropped its road fatalities by 34 percent. The United States managed a 6.5% reduction. Why the difference? It was mostly speed …. While the United Kingdom was introducing speed cameras, the United States was resisting cameras and raising speed limits.” [Traffic — Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), by Tom Vanderbilt, 2008]

 

Hey Drivers, Your filth fouls my lungs. Take a bus or carpool.

Admittedly, for some drivers there’s no feasible alternative to traveling by car.  But for many of the people on our road, carpooling or riding the bus is quite feasible and would allow them to read, nap, and avoid stress.  But people want to drive because of the convenience and because it saves them some time.  But at what cost to our health, our economy, our foreign policy, and the quality of our lives?

Successful Climate Justice Activism

Look what we have accomplished together! (see the media roundup below)
Paddle In Seattle
Together we were:

Paddle in Seattle Stranger CoverLed by the beauty and spirit of the moment,

Emboldened by the drums and wise words of the Duwamish and Native Canoe families and the voices of those on the front-lines of the climate crisis,

D
riven by a moral obligation to take principled and bold action in service of a habitable planet and younger generations.

300+ people (and countless others on land) took to the water, paddling straight to Shell’s Arctic destroyer to demand climate justice.

It is in these moments that we solidify the courage to act upon our convictions. The Paddle In Seattle has seized headlines across the world and has inspired others to join the movements for climate justice.

Thank you for sharing in our vision and for striving to manifest it. Collectively we have done something truly beautiful and powerful.

Kayaktivists confront artic destructionNow, we must use this momentum and spotlight to push onward.

Right now, we are resuming kayaktivist trainings and organizing a rapid response network for when Shell dares to leave for the Arctic. We’re also connecting the solar powered People’s Platform with upcoming night-time paddle actions.

 

 

Media Round-Up:

Chief Seattle is Watching banner at Jack Block with Native      Canoes by Alex GarlandThe news from the weekend made national and global headlines in addition to completely saturating Seattle media (best- KOMO 4 TV, KIRO 7 TV, Q13 Fox TV, Stranger, Seattle PI, West Seattle Herald) This has completely changed the conversation around Arctic drilling and rocketed it to being a top national and even international issue. Even Obama found himself extolling the virtues of protecting the Arctic at a USCG Academy commencement address.

Here are a few highlights: on Saturday, the protest was #3 on BBC World News (right beneath the ISIS raid and Morsi’s death sentence, to give you perspective). The Guardian went wild with coverage as well (here, here, here, and here) and it even reached Australia!

The Associated Press story was picked up in nearly every major paper across the country from Atlanta to Minneapolis to Dallas and on ABC and Yahoo news.

The coverage from the NBC affiliate, King 5 TV, was picked up nationally.

The photos were particularly well-traveled with even Leonardo Dicaprio posting the aerial kayak photos on his Instagram.
Paddle In Seattle
Here is a roundup of the photos from Grist.

The speeches all came from native and impacted people telling us powerful truths. In fact, after traveling to Seattle from the North Slope, Mae Hank and Faith Gemmill-Fredson – founder and executive director of the grassroots indigenous network REDOIL- confronted Shell at the AGM meeting in London. Faith spoke directly to Shell shareholders saying “The moral and financial burden of the irresponsible decision to drill in the Arctic is too risky to consider.”

Paddle In SeattleArctic drilling dominated the coverage of the meeting, casting serious investor doubt on the project.

Earlier in the week, Kayaktivists were live on MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, followed by an amazing segment on Rachel Maddow during which she spent several minutes reading out-loud the riveting and terrifying piece “The Wreck of the Kulluk.”

The Monday following the actions, there was even more national coverage. Here are just a few of the highlights: USA Today, NPR, Slate.

Lastly, #ShellNo and “Arctic drilling” were trending on Twitter and Facebook, respectively!

Floating Banner Defend The Arctic Climate Justice Now

New Kayaktivism Training Dates:

 

 

WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!

Donate online HERE or send checks to PO BOX 278, Vashon, WA 98070

Carbon WA news

Legislative language on the home stretch: One of our winter deliverables was to finalize our legal language, so here’s an annotated copy of another new draft following our legal team meeting earlier this week. The tweaks from the previous version were fairly minor, so we expect the ballot title to be similar to the ballot title that just arrived from the Secretary of State’s office for our previous version: Initiative Measure No. 1397 concerns taxes. This measure would impose a tax on certain fossil fuels and electricity generated by fossil fuels, phase in a one-percentage-point sales tax reduction, reduce certain business taxes, and increase a sales tax exemption. Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]. More generally, we are making good progress towards being able to file a final version on March 11, the first day that we can file our Initiative to the Legislature. The Secretary of State’s process takes about a month, so signature-gathering will begin in early/mid April.

Bellingham: Kyle Murphy and Ben Silesky will be in Bellingham this Friday and Saturday, so if you are located in/near Bellingham and want to connect, email Kyle@carbonwa.org to set up a time! Also check out the pretty hilarious post I wrote last year for Sightline about whether the BC carbon tax is successful because all the Canadians are filling up their tanks in Bellingham. (The short answer is No.)

Other events: I’ll be part of CityClub’s March Civic Cocktail on W March 4, and Duncan and Kyle are scheduled to be part of an event at Bainbridge Art Museum that same evening. Then the CCL Greater Pacific Northwest Regional Conference is coming up March 7-8 in Seattle; CarbonWA will be tabling and I’ll be doing my comedy-and-carbon-taxes routine on Saturday March 7. Earlier that day Ben Silesky will be at the South Sound Sustainability Expo in Tacoma. Cliff Mass will be at Seattle Town Hall on W March 11, and I’ll be at Town Hall on M March 16 for a panel on “Putting a price on Washington’s climate pollution” with KC Golden, Todd Myers, and Nicole Keenan. Further afield it looks like I’ll be in Spokane around April 15, Whidbey Island around April 22, Bremerton on April 25, and Bainbridge Island around April 29, so email me if you want to organize events or a house party while I’m in town! Details on most upcoming events are here.

Readings: Our friends at Oregon Climate have a nifty new 5-minute video, so check it out on the Oregon Climate homepage, or watch here:

Also Todd Myers of the Washington Policy Center has a video describing cap-and-trade (and why he’s against it, all in less than 2 minutes!). Ian Adams of R Street has a post that should be especially thought-provoking for CCL folks: “The difference between wanting a carbon tax and getting one.” Somehow that dynamic seems to be missing from the state transportation discussion, where Senate Republicans introduced a “poison pill” that eliminates funding for transit, pedestrians, and bicyclists if Governor Inslee introduces a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) via executive order. Richard Davis also argues against the LCFS in the Seattle Times, and in doing so he has nice things to say about how the CarbonWA carbon tax would be better than an LCFS… but so far the oil companies can’t manage to translate their theoretical support for carbon pricing into practical support. Elsewhere, “Sea-Tac Airport tells of need for expansion”, and Clean Energy Canada has a report based on BC’s experience called “How to adopt a winning carbon price”; they have a handy summary in “How B.C. brought in a carbon tax without tears”.

CarbonWA is hiring! Our campaign co-directors Kyle Murphy and Duncan Clauson are assembling a team of talented organizers to help us build a strong volunteer network, get the word out about CarbonWA, and collect signatures. We are open to candidates across the state, but we are especially interested in hiring in the greater Puget Sound region. More details in this job posting (PDF), please share widely! Applications and inquires can be directed to Kyle@carbonwa.org.

As always comments welcome on the blog or via Facebook and Twitter.

News from CarbonWA

Campaign co-directors: We are delighted to announce that Kyle Murphy and Duncan Clauson will be starting on February 1 as campaign co-directors! Kyle, who worked last year as Field Director for the Yes for Seattle Transit campaign, will focus on Organizing; Duncan, who has an MPA from the UW Evans School of Public Affairs, will focus on Operations. Both have already been working hard on the campaign as volunteers, and as full-time paid staff they will follow in the footsteps of our previous stellar staffers Claire Meints and Kristy Royce. You can reach Kyle and Duncan at kyle@carbonwa.org and duncan@carbonwa.org, but please note that they don’t start full-time until the first of February!

Media and readings: One of our eight winter deliverables is to become part of the conversation, and as evidence that we’re succeeding note that our carbon tax effort was highlighted in the first question of this Grist interview with Governor Inslee. The governor took a little jab at carbon taxes—“Don’t bring a feather to a knife fight”—and as we build momentum we can expect more jabs. (See here and here and here for additional examples, the last two being responses to pieces like “How B.C. does climate policy right” from Matt Horne of Pembina and the amazing editorial on “Why Stephen Harper should love carbon taxes” in the Globe and Mail: “Aspiring politicians outside of BC, book yourself a plane ticket, and go visit your future.”)

Now, it’s not for CarbonWA to get into a back-and-forth with the governor about carbon taxes v. cap-and-trade—CarbonWA is the relief pitcher, and the relief pitcher doesn’t criticize the starting pitcher!—but we will provide evidence supporting the effectiveness of our policy, so if you’re interested please check out my two new research posts: “Carbon taxes are better than you think (Part I: Transportation)” and “Carbon taxes are even better than you think (Part II: Electricity)”.

Other readings for the week include Cliff Mass’s “What should Governor Inslee do about climate change?”, Sara Cate’s “Saturday Soapbox” in the Yakima Herald, Sustainable West Seattle’s Andy Silber on an “Alternative approach to climate change negotiations”, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer’s “Raise the gas tax. A lot” in the Washington Post, and these three pieces from carbon pricing advocates in Oregon. Also, Governor Inslee’s bill has been officially introduced as SB 5283 / HB 1314… and the state Senate voted in a rule change that apparently requires a two-thirds supermajority in the Senate to pass the governor’s proposal.

Materials: Another one of our eight winter deliverables is to update our website and materials. This is something that Duncan will be spearheading when he comes on board full-time, but for now I want to post (and encourage feedback on) this PPT presentation (based on my UW panel presentation last week) and on our 2-page brochure (which as you’ll see is intended to be printed and folded in half).

Endorsements: We are delighted to announce endorsements from the Washingotn State UU Voices for Justice and from Climate Action Bainbridge (formerly Coal Free Bainbridge). They join other endorsers like Olympic Climate Action, whose annual membership event is coming up Feb 8 in Port Angeles. Some of these groups have endorsed both CarbonWA and the governor’s effort and we think that’s terrific and are excited to pick up additional endorsements in the weeks ahead!

Events: I (Yoram Bauman) will be at the Earth Care Summit in Portland this weekend and am tentatively meeting folks in Vancouver WA this Sunday, so email me (yoram@carbonwa.org) if you want to join in! In Olympia, CarbonWA’s Akua Asare-Konadu and Thad Curtz will be presenting on Saturday Jan 31 as part of a Carbon Fee Forum co-sponsored by Olympia FOR’s Climate Group and Climate Solutions. And for folks in Bellingham, I know that CarbonWA’s Ben Silesky is planning a visit on T night Jan 27, so email him (ben@carbonwa.org) for details. As for Seattle, I have presentations on W Jan 28 (I’ll be doing my comedy-and-carbon-tax talk as part of Climate Week at the UU Church) and other talks in the weeks ahead at Seward Park Audubon and Pinchot University, plus the UW panel discussion I was part of last week was so successful that it’s going to be repeated at Town Hall on M March 16. Details on all our events here! And if you want to support Governor Inslee’s bill then there’s a hearing in Olympia on T Jan 27 at 1:30pm; details and more info from Climate Solutions or EPC.

As always comments welcome on the blog or via Facebook and Twitter.

Thoughts on Governor Inslee's climate proposal… and UW forum on Jan 14

The past week has been dominated by Governor Inslee’s climate proposal (and by the Seattle Times editorial board arguing for a revenue-neutral alternative!), so here are some thoughts, with a preface that Divest UW and Green Evans are organizing a climate policy forum for Wednesday night Jan 14 featuring KC Golden from Climate Solutions, yours truly, and hopefully others. Details TBD!

Carbon Washington’s position in brief: As we noted in our open letter to the environmental community, we think a bipartisan approach is a more promising path to climate action than pursuing what we called the Progressive Take-Over of the World. Consequently, while Carbon Washington is certainly not opposed to the Governor’s proposal, we agree with the Seattle Times editorial board when they write that “A revenue-neutral approach — one that would mitigate consumer’s costs of a carbon tax — would be both less financially risky and more politically viable in the divided Legislature.”

Additional thoughts:

Some policy details and analysis. The governor’s climate policy covers a lot of ground, but the focal point is carbon pricing, and his carbon pricing proposal is essentially a California-style cap-and-trade system, with auctioned permit revenue mostly going to education, transportation, and social justice. (It will also almost certainly include linking with California, although I’m not sure if that’s explicitly mentioned.) For all the details see this info from the Governor’s office; in particular scroll down to the policy briefs for the Carbon Pollution Accountability Act, which is the proposal relating to carbon pricing. For an enthusiastic analysis see Kristin Eberhard’s Sightline blog post, which includes this terrific revenue graphic. For a not-enthusiastic analysis see the blog posts from Todd Myers at the Washington Policy Center.

Think of it as a clever “Christmas tree”. It’s a Christmas tree because it’s got lots of ornaments: there’s a California-style cap-and-trade bil, there’s money for education, there’s money for transportation, there’s money for social justice… and that’s just one part of the Governor’s proposal. (See the links above for details about electric vehicles, clean fuels, etc.) And it’s clever because it makes for a compelling legislative strategy given the challengs that lie ahead: having different ornaments allows the governor to reach out to a variety of different interest groups for support and to claim (even if the bills don’t pass) that he tried to make progress on their priorities.

The expert consensus is that the governor’s proposal is unlikely to pass in the legislature. This is not intended to be a downer (and, for the record, unlikely doesn’t mean impossible, so if you want to contact your legislator then read this from Washington Environmental Council) but it is intended to be a reality check. There was an election last month, and as the Seattle Times wrote the day after the election, “The results mean it will be harder for Gov. Jay Inslee to act on an aggressive plan to reduce carbon emissions in the state, or to pass legislation that’s been a priority for Democrats including education and transportation funding.” And the story in last week’s paper was similar: “A tougher crowd waits in Olympia.” The truth is that the governor has introduced a bold plan that faces a very steep uphill battle in the legislature, especially the Republican-controlled state Senate.

Comparison with the latest iteration of our Carbon Washington proposal. The governor’s proposal is a California-style cap-and-trade system, with permit prices estimated to start at about $12 per ton CO2 and then grow over time at a rate determined by supply and demand and by minimum bid requirements for the permit auctions; our Carbon Washington proposal is a BC-style carbon tax with a tax rate of $15 per ton CO2 in the first year and $25 in the second year, increasing thereafter at about 5.5% per year in order to maintain revenue neutrality. The governor’s carbon price covers about 90% of greenhouse gas emissions in the state, with the major exceptions being agriculture and waste managment; our Carbon Washington proposal covers about 84% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the state, with the major exceptions being agriculture, public transportation, and emissions of non-fossil-fuel GHGs. The bulk of the revenue from the governor’s proposal goes to fund education and transportation (see Sightline’s terrific revenue graphic
How Washington will spend the carbon revenue in 2017, in millions of dollars
).

The bulk of the revenue from the Carbon Washington proposal goes to fund a one-percentage-point reduction in the state sales tax. The governor’s proposal includes funding for the Working Families Tax Exemption (a state-level bump-up of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit) sufficient to provide a 10% bump-up of the federal EITC for low-income working families; our Carbon Washington proposal includes funding for a 25% bump-up of the federal EITC. The governor’s proposal includes a small chunk of money ($20m a year) to address impacts on manufacturers; our Carbon Washington proposal allocates a much larger chunk of money (closer to $200m a year) to effectively eliminate the B&O tax for manufacturers.

“Tax” versus “Fee” versus “Revenue”. Discussion of the governor’s proposal will be a good test-case for looking at the kind of language that gets used in public discussion. The governor is steering away from calling his proposal a tax (or even a cap-and-trade system) but the public discussion may go elsewhere; for an extreme example see the San Juan Islander, which flat-out calls it a “carbon tax”. Polling suggests that language differences may not matter all that much anyway—the recent G-Squared poll has carbon tax outpolling cap-and-trade—but in any case the weeks ahead will be instructive for learning about who gets to determine what language gets used and how much it matters.

As always comments welcome on the blog or via Facebook and Twitter.