Environmental Stewardship and Peace Working Group
Focus issues for 2018:
- Support a carbon tax proposal, in particular the initiative still being drafted by the Alliance for Jobs & Clean Energy (jobscleanenergywa.com). When this initiative is submitted in January, we recommend asking Quaker Voice to endorse it and to encourage individuals to gather signatures. This proposal is preferred over other options because of it’s broad inclusion of stakeholders – environmentalists, labor, organizations representing communities of color and ethnic/religious minorities, business groups. It is also possible that the bill introduced last year, HB 1646 will be reintroduced and we would support that as an alternative to an initiative.
- Support both an oil transportation safety bill and a bill to prevent oil spills and provide income for clean up.
- Urge passage of the Capital Budget early in the session. Absence of funds for a capital budget is holding up numerous projects statewide including winter weatherization programs for low income residents. These projects need to move forward now as winter approaches because they significantly improve efficient energy use.
Background for a carbon tax proposal. In 2017, the Clean Energy Transition Act was developed by the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy and submitted as HB 1646 by Representative Joe Fitzgibbon. It would make significant investment in clean energy, healthy forests and water infrastructure and also bolster economic stability and equity during the transition. The funds would come from an initial emissions tax of $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent and would have a performance based escalator to keep the state on track to reduce emissions. There are many provisions in this complicated bill that would protect low income residents and workers in energy intensive industries
Friends have long supported efforts to slow the negative effects of GHG emissions on climate disruption, what is also called climate change or global warming. Our testimony to care for the earth by exercising environmental stewardship leads us to do all we can to effect reductions in carbon pollution. Currently California and 9 states in the northeast and mid-Atlantic region have GHG emissions programs based on a “cap and trade” carbon emissions pricing system. British Columbia currently has a carbon tax program in place that is similar to what HB 1646 proposed. None of these entities have experienced economic hardship due to pricing carbon emissions. In fact, one can argue that the costs of doing nothing are far greater, certainly health care costs from pollution exacerbated diseases are on the rise. This is a global problem, and Washington state can have a role as a leader for positive change in energy use. Certainly it is time for Washington to join other states and become a leader in alternative energy use with much lower carbon emissions levels.
Longer Term Goals:
- Maintain the environmental balance that supports the needs of all living creatures while also protecting public health and providing an improved quality of life
- Ensure an improved economic future by not wasting or compromising our environmental resources
- Provide local control over state assets to increase state resources