Supporters of the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy
Supporters of the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy

Excit­ing news to share today: The Alliance for Jobs & Clean Ener­gy, of which NPI is a mem­ber, has announced that it will be launch­ing an ini­tia­tive to the peo­ple for 2016 to cap emis­sions of pol­lu­tants that have giv­en our plan­et an increas­ing­ly bad fever. The ini­tia­tive will appear on the Novem­ber 2016 statewide bal­lot in Washington.

Accord­ing to the Alliance, if enact­ed into law by the vot­ers of Wash­ing­ton, “the ini­tia­tive would build on the state’s recent­ly announced Clean Air Rule by enforc­ing exist­ing glob­al warm­ing pol­lu­tion reduc­tion tar­gets, charg­ing the largest emit­ters a fee for each ton of car­bon pol­lu­tion they emit. The funds will be invest­ed in accel­er­at­ing the tran­si­tion to a clean ener­gy econ­o­my and address­ing the impacts of car­bon pol­lu­tion on our air, land and people.”

“Wash­ing­ton has long been a nation­al leader on tech­nol­o­gy inno­va­tion, from air­planes and soft­ware, to ener­gy effi­cien­cy and renew­able ener­gy,” said Bren­na Davis, Chair of Wash­ing­ton Busi­ness for Cli­mate Action, dur­ing an Alliance press con­fer­ence today at EnWave Seat­tle. “Today we con­tin­ue in that spir­it of inno­va­tion, resolv­ing to accel­er­ate the tran­si­tion to a low-car­bon econ­o­my in a way that sup­ports affect­ed busi­ness­es and communities.”

The Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture con­sid­ered cap and trade leg­is­la­tion pro­posed by Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee this past ses­sion, but failed to make much progress due to Repub­li­cans’ unwill­ing­ness to act on pol­lu­tion account­abil­i­ty. Nei­ther cham­ber took a vote on Inslee’s leg­is­la­tion, though the Demo­c­ra­t­ic-run House gave it seri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion. (The Sen­ate, which is con­trolled by Repub­li­cans, did­n’t bother.)

Today’s announce­ment is great news for our region’s pro­gres­sive move­ment. It shows a seri­ous com­mit­ment to action. It means there will be a seri­ous, cred­i­ble cam­paign next year to get our pol­lu­tion prob­lem under control.

Wash­ing­ton needs to be a leader in reduc­ing emis­sions of car­bon diox­ide, methane, and oth­er cli­mate cri­sis-caus­ing air pol­lu­tants. If Wash­ing­ton’s elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives won’t act, vot­ers should be giv­en the chance to.

NPI strong­ly sup­ports the deci­sion to go to the statewide bal­lot in 2016. We’ve been call­ing for the Alliance to launch a 2016 ini­tia­tive for months, here on the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate and in oth­er forums. We’re very, very pleased that the Alliance is mov­ing for­ward, and we will be ful­ly sup­port­ing its efforts to devel­op a strong, robust ini­tia­tive that does not suf­fer from the fatal flaws of Car­bon­WA’s I‑732.

How we approach this prob­lem mat­ters, as our Alliance part­ners have noted.

“Because the impacts of cli­mate change are not dis­trib­uted even­ly, it’s cru­cial that the expe­ri­ence and knowl­edge of com­mu­ni­ties on the front­lines are now part of cre­at­ing the solu­tions,” said Peter Bloch Gar­cia, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of Lati­no Com­mu­ni­ty Fund. “Address­ing cli­mate change can also sup­port envi­ron­men­tal and eco­nom­ic equi­ty for com­mu­ni­ties of col­or and peo­ple with low­er incomes.”

From now until the new year, the Alliance’s ini­tia­tive pro­pos­al will be in the devel­op­ment phase. It is our hope that it will be devel­oped using an open source-style devel­op­ment mod­el, so Alliance mem­bers and inter­est­ed cit­i­zens can con­tribute to mak­ing the text as good as it can be.

When Jan­u­ary 2016 arrives, it’ll be time to file the final text with the Sec­re­tary of State, and then, soon after, there will be a kick­off event to launch the sig­na­ture dri­ve. Sig­na­tures will be due the Fri­day fol­low­ing Inde­pen­dence Day 2016. The Alliance will need to col­lect around 320,000 sig­na­tures to qual­i­fy for the ballot.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

Adjacent posts

6 replies on “Alliance for Jobs & Clean Energy will go to the ballot in 2016 with initiative to cap pollution”

  1. The cli­mate com­mu­ni­ty should be back­ing the car­bon tax ini­tia­tive (I732), which will cer­tain­ly get enough sig­na­tures to qual­i­ty. This blog post is incor­rect in say­ing I‑732 is flawed. It is not. And a sim­i­lar approach has worked very well in British Colum­bia. Cap and trade approach­es have failed every­where they have been tried (e.g., Europe). Fur­ther­more, an approach that is not rev­enue neu­tral will be unpop­u­lar in east­ern Wash­ing­ton and among more con­ser­v­a­tive folks. Why do some in the cli­mate com­mu­ni­ty insist in destroy­ing the poten­tial for real progress?

    1. We dis­agree, Cliff. I‑732 is an ini­tia­tive NPI has care­ful­ly eval­u­at­ed. We believe it’s fatal­ly flawed, and we can­not sup­port it. 

      Cred­i­ble research by the Alliance shows that con­ser­v­a­tive vot­ers are unwill­ing to sup­port I‑732. Alien­at­ing pro­gres­sive vot­ers in an attempt to gain sup­port from con­ser­v­a­tive vot­ers who have no inter­est in tak­ing action to com­bat the cli­mate cri­sis is a fool’s errand. It’s bad strategy.

      And British Colum­bia is not the leader on cli­mate you sug­gest it is. British Columbi­a’s car­bon tax isn’t work­ing well at all:

      If you live in British Colum­bia you might think that our province is a cli­mate cham­pi­on, because you heard it from our gov­ern­ment. Last month, for exam­ple, the provin­cial gov­ern­ment sent out a bold press release tout­ing B.C. as a world leader in cli­mate action. The release high­light­ed B.C.’s car­bon tax and the accom­plish­ment of “meet­ing our 2012 GHG reduc­tion target.”

      How­ev­er, just a few days lat­er, the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment released its lat­est green­house gas emis­sions data show­ing that B.C.’s emis­sions actu­al­ly increased by 2.4 per cent in 2013 (to 63 mil­lion tons of green­house gas­es, from 61.5 in 2012. This is a big deal, because the threat of glob­al warm­ing has reached a point at which we can­not afford our annu­al emis­sions to con­tin­ue to increase.

      Empha­sis is mine. The full blog post is here.

      I’ve been to British Colum­bia, and I’ve talked with pro­gres­sive activists there, and young pro­gres­sive lead­ers like David Eby, who is now an MLA (Mem­ber of the B.C. Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly). Christy Clark and the Lib­er­als are some of the biggest green­wash­ers in his­to­ry. They’re not envi­ron­men­tal leaders. 

      Rather than emu­lat­ing B.C., we should be work­ing in tan­dem with Cal­i­for­nia, which has been imple­ment­ing a robust cap and trade sys­tem. We are look­ing for­ward to being part of the effort to launch a seri­ous, cred­i­ble pol­lu­tion account­abil­i­ty ini­tia­tive cam­paign for Wash­ing­ton State as part of the Alliance for Jobs & Clean Energy.

  2. I like Cliff Mass and appre­ci­ate his weath­er com­men­tary, but I don’t agree with him that I‑732 is a good idea. We should join forces with oth­er states that are doing cap and trade. The Alliance, unlike Car­bon­WA, has built a huge coali­tion that is going to reach out to all the diverse con­stituen­cies of our state. The Alliance’s ini­tia­tive is going to be the one worth putting time and mon­ey into.

  3. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the Alliance has not released any of the resullts of the polling it did on how well its pro­pos­al to tie doing some­thing about cli­mate to a siz­able tax increase appeals to vot­ers. (I find it hard to believe that makes it more attrac­tive to Washin­gon vot­ers over­all than a pro­pos­al tied to equal tax cuts.)

    The claim that a one year increase in BC’s emis­sions, between 2012 and 2013, shows that “it isn’t work­ing well at all” is about as sophis­ti­cat­ed an analy­sis as say­ing that hav­ing it be cold­er this year than it was last year shows that the plan­et isn’t warming.

    I did­n’t mind that the Alliance and its sup­port­ers think rais­ing rev­enue is a polit­i­cal­ly viable route to get­ting car­bon pric­ing. I do mind their mak­ing a joint state­ment with Car­bon WA last May 5th say­ing “in par­tic­u­lar we are com­mit­ted to avoid­ing two com­pet­ing car­bon pol­lu­tion-pric­ing mea­sures on the bal­lot in Novem­ber 2016” and then announc­ing their new plan to try to put a com­pet­ing car­bon pol­lu­tion pric­ing mea­sure on the bal­lot next Novem­ber this week, when it became clear that Car­bon WA’s mea­sure was head­ed for success.

    And I mind the shaky argu­ments like this they’ve resort­ed to over the past few months in try­ing to per­suade pro­gres­sives not to sup­port I‑732. (Espe­cial­ly the ongo­ing claim that it does­n’t do enough for social jus­tice, when I‑732 actu­al­ly would pro­vide almost 30% more sup­port for low-income com­mu­ni­ties than the Gov­er­nor’s first pro­pos­al in the Leg­is­la­ture, which the Allaince sup­port­ed enthusiastically.)

  4. Every­one should throw their sup­port behind the Alliance’s plan. It may not be fleshed out yet, but when it is, it’s going to be sol­id. They’re start­ing from the prop­er place. 

Comments are closed.