The Pricing Carbon Initiative (PCI) grew out of a three-day retreat in July 2011 in Garrison, New York where fifty leaders from a broad spectrum of national environmental, social justice and business organizations met to seek common ground on the need to price carbon emissions. Prior to this summit, several of us had organized pricing carbon forums in Washington DC and this conference at Wesleyan University in 2010. Those discussions have continued with PCI now serving as the coordinator of a network of about 200 people representing 80 advocacy groups, conservative and progressive think tanks, and other associations for off-the-record discussions about the policy and politics of pricing carbon emissions.
Over the past 4 years, we have hosted 18 dialogues – most are half-day; some are day-long – in Washington, DC. With 40 to 60 participants we explore how pricing CO2 emissions might be included in broader tax and fiscal reform and attract bipartisan support. Since a number of the parties involved have remained unwilling to publicly acknowledge their interest in pricing carbon, confidentiality has been an important ingredient to the success of these candid and often revealing discussions.
These dialogues have reflected our growing sense of finding strength and common cause in our diversity, especially between progressives and conservatives. Notwithstanding our differences on some fundamental issues, we focus on pricing carbon mechanisms that we can concur on as politically viable, conducive to tax reform, and effective in containing carbon emissions. Increasingly that focus is on:
- International pricing efforts and mechanisms that could be key to achieving the UN goals set in Paris,
- State-based pricing initiatives that will lead to compliance with the Obama EPA Clean Power Plan and set precedents for national policy,
- Opportunities that may arise in the 114th Congress and beyond, and
- Expanding our participation with constituents representing business, faith-based, and millennial sectors.