U.S. State Initiatives

Washington – I-732 (Proposed)

In their own words: I-732 was created by students, activists, academics, economists and concerned citizens who believe that reducing carbon pollution is among our most important tasks. We realized we couldn’t wait any longer for someone else to address climate change — that ordinary citizens need to act now. Our policy will promote cleaner energy and clearer skies (it’s worked elsewhere!) without making lower-income Washingtonians pay the bill. And it will get the job done without expensive new regulations and bureaucracies.

Here are the four pillars of our policy proposal: Institute a carbon tax of $25 per metric ton CO2 on fossil fuels consumed in the state of Washington. Reduce the state sales tax by one full percentage point. Fund the Working Families Rebate to provide up to $1500 a year for 400,000 low-income working households. Effectively eliminate the B&O business tax for manufacturers.

Carbon Washington is the organization we formed to gather signatures, collect donations and run our initiative campaign. More than 360,000 citizens signed our petition. Now I-732 is headed for the state legislature.

Learn more at yeson732.org

Oregon (Proposed)

The movement to price carbon in Oregon has been a major part of the over-arching fight for climate solutions in the State. There have been intense political conflicts over the state’s clean fuel standards, which have raised the public profile of carbon emissions and legislative options to address climate change.

OregonClimate, a student-led activist group has advocated in favor of a “cap and dividend” pricing solution to the challenge of climate change for many years. The group tracks bills that price carbon in the legislature, lending its support to two specific measures that are winding their way through the legislature’s current sitting.

RenewOregon is a coalition of Oregon businesses, non-profits, faith groups, community organizations, and individuals working to make Oregon a leader in the fight against climate change. It is running a campaign for a healthier, more prosperous Oregon. It has proposed a Healthy Climate Bill for the state, with a key requirement that government limits carbon pollution and create a market-based program to meet those limits. Actions coordinated by the coalition include a “Healthy Climate Lobby Day” at the Oregon Capitol.

New York – A8372 Cahil / S6037 Parker (Proposed)

New York has been a participating member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and so has been pricing carbon from its electricity-generating sector since 2008.

NYRenews is a coalition of environmental, labor, social justice and community groups all working toward a made-in-New-York solution to the climate challenge. They are fighting for policy that creates thousands of clean energy jobs, fosters the transition to renewable energy, protects workers, and supports low-income communities disproportionately hurt by climate change. For NYRenews, a “fee on polluters” is key to meeting the later demand. The coalition is currently developing a proposal detailing pricing and how the proceeds would be used.

A state-level carbon tax bill for New York was introduced by two legislators in September 2015. The bill (A8372 Cahil / S6037 Parker) taxes GHGs from sources such as coal, oil, natural gas and biofuels. The price starts out at $35 per ton and increases annually at the rate of  $15 per ton until such time as it hits the rate of $185 per ton. 60% of the revenues generated by the mechanism will be recycled back to low-income and moderate-income households, with the remaining funds invested in renewable energy, transportation and infrastructure. NYRenews has not taken a position on this bill to date.

Vermont – H.412 (Proposed)

Energy Independent Vermont (EIV), a coalition of environmental organizations, Vermont businesses and business associations, academic leaders, low-income advocates and Town Energy Committees is working toward one goal: addressing the problem of climate change by putting a price on pollution in Vermont. They advocate that the revenue generated from pricing carbon should be used to create an Energy Independence Fund which saves money on home heating and other energy costs. It would also reduce taxes for individuals and businesses, providing additional rebates for low income earners.

EIV is tracking two separate carbon pricing bills currently before the legislature. The first (Bill H.412) would establish an annual price of $10 per ton of GHGs, with an annual increase to $100 per ton in year ten.  90% of the revenues would be returned to taxpayers in the form of personal income tax rebates, business tax rebates and a reduction in the state’s sales tax.  The remaining 10% would go to an Energy Independence Fund with creates incentives for efficiency and renewable energy. The second is similar with a max of $150/ton and an 80%/20% split.

RGGI – Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (Existing)

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is the first market-based regulatory program in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. RGGI is a cooperative effort among the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont to cap and reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector. Following a comprehensive 2012 Program Review, the RGGI states implemented a new 2014 RGGI cap of 91 million short tons. The RGGI CO2 cap then declines 2.5 percent each year from 2015 to 2020. The RGGI CO2cap represents a regional budget for CO2 emissions from the power sector. See Program Overview for more information.

States sell nearly all emission allowances through auctions and invest proceeds in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other consumer benefit programs. These programs are spurring innovation in the clean energy economy and creating green jobs in the RGGI states.

California – AB 32 (Existing)

The passage of AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, marked a watershed moment in California’s history.  By requiring in law a sharp reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, California set the stage for its transition to a sustainable, low-carbon future.  AB 32 was the first program in the country to take a comprehensive, long-term approach to addressing climate change, and does so in a way that aims to improve the environment and natural resources while maintaining a robust economy.

AB 32 requires California to reduce its GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 — a reduction of approximately 15 percent below emissions expected under a ‘business as usual’ scenario. Pursuant to AB 32, ARB [California’s Air Resources Board] must adopt regulations to achieve the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective GHG emission reductions.  The full implementation of AB 32 will help mitigate risks associated with climate change, while improving energy efficiency, expanding the use of renewable energy resources, cleaner transportation, and reducing waste.