Project Report:
Pricing Carbon Initiative
Purpose
- Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
- Investigates the effect of the global financial system and/or the monetary system in fostering a sustainable economy.
- Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
- Explores and develops market-based solutions.

Summary

The Karuna Center for Peacebuilding will continue to assist Pricing Carbon Initiative in building consensus around bipartisan policies and legislative solutions that price carbon, as it has in 2011, 2014 and 2015. Together we will continue to design, organize and facilitate dialogues with an expanding network of influential decision makes, support action-oriented initiatives, develop systems sharing and disseminating information.

Description

The Karuna Center for Peacebuilding Report to the Alex C. Walker Educational and Charitable Foundation on the Pricing Carbon Dialogues in June, September and December 2016

December 31, 2016
After five years of hosting quarterly off-the-record dialogues in Washington DC between a broad spectrum of advocates seeking bipartisan support for pricing carbon, the path for the Pricing Carbon Initiative (PCI) has certainly become more challenging. But our mission is now more compelling than ever as we set our sights proactively on the daunting new political landscape. And the level of participation from representatives of environmental, business, agriculture, social justice, consumer advocacy, and labor groups, as well as both conservative and progressive think thanks, continues to build, notwithstanding the recent elections. The Walker Foundation’s support has been critical to our success, beginning with the co-funding of our 2011 Garrison, New York, Summit on Pricing Carbon for Environmental Leaders. The summit created the foundation for the subsequent five years of Pricing Carbon Dialogues, substantially funded by the Walker Foundation in 2014, 2015 and 2016. This interim report on the $30,000 Walker grant summarizes this year’s June, September and December meetings. We start with the highlights of the most recent gathering that offer an overview of where we’ve been and where we’re headed:

On December 6th, 70 participants, representing the diversity of the stakeholders in our network, gathered at the World Resources Institute for a day-long Dialogue to take stock of the pricing carbon movement and to consider how to optimize our work over the coming year. The agenda featured a hard look at the implications of the election results as well as reports and commentary on the just-completed U.N. climate talks in Marrakesh; November’s carbon tax ballot initiative in the state of Washington; and other state, national and international pricing carbon initiatives. There was also a short presentation on the legal viability of the lawsuit by "Our Children's Trust", Juliana v. United States, that emphasized the legal substance, the significance and the overall importance of this inspired action.

The major takeaway from our concluding discussions was a shared conviction that, despite a prevailing sense of shell shock and an awareness of the considerable challenges involved in making headway with the new Administration and Congress, our role in the pricing carbon movement is now more important than ever, and our quarterly dialogues are all the more timely and needed. We were also encouraged to step up our collaboration with various sectors, with particular emphasis on center-right Republicans, business, and environmental justice; to further our engagement with state-based initiatives; and to disseminate useful information via the PCI website, which so far has been relatively dormant as most of our work has involved confidential meetings.

At our September 12th Dialogue at the U.N. Foundation, 62 PCI participants met for a half day to discuss international efforts to price carbon, U.S. election-year developments (from the perspectives of various stakeholders), and progress on moving businesses toward climate solutions that integrate pricing carbon. Several participants commented that they found the panel on business (which included presentations from Ceres, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and the Partnership for Responsible Growth) to be especially valuable. It set the framework for a sub-group meeting the following afternoon where participants discussed potential business-related projects and further collaboration.

Our June 22nd day-long Dialogue at Brookings Institution involved 80 participants, with an agenda that included review and discussion of international and U.S. climate actions, policy options, and political dynamics. We were also briefed on recent polling data about public concern for climate and pricing issues, on efforts to promote soil re-carbonization through sustainable farming practices, and on work analyzing the economic impact of ocean acidification (not currently factored into government and most academic metrics on the social cost of carbon). Following the day’s meeting, key participants met for an engaging dinner, also funded by the Walker grant.

As we will explain further in our full report, due on January 31, 2017, in addition to our quarterly DC-based dialogues (two half-day and two full-day dialogues per year), we are discussing other potential projects with our steering committee and other active participants that could include: 1) strengthening our connections with selected sectors, opinion leaders, and governments officials, especially Members on the Hill, 2) disseminating information via the PCI website (work has started on this, but much more is required for it to become a useful platform), and 3) non-Chatham House Rule events that could include public meetings, forums, conferences, briefings, etc. We can see value in all these ideas, but above all we are mindful of the value of our quarterly dialogues and do not wish to dilute the attention we now give them.

Our three most immediate projects are: 1) a comprehensive report that assesses our progress and our projected role and value added to the climate/pricing carbon movement over the coming months. To this end, we are currently conducting interviews by phone with about a hundred of our most active participants. We plan to complete the confidential report for our network participants by the end of January; 2) completing the legal work involved in obtaining PCI’s incorporation papers and tax-deductible status (we’ve grown beyond the point where it made sense to operate as an ad hoc association with fiscal sponsors); and 3) more broadly, moving forward on the work and challenges we’ve set for ourselves in the coming months in our ongoing effort to coalesce national support for the most effective, viable solution to climate disruption: a price on carbon emissions.

Our readiness to meet these challenges has been greatly enhanced by the generous support from the Walker Foundation, for which we are profoundly grateful.

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April 24, 2017
We complete our report to the Walker Foundation on the 2016 Pricing Carbon Initiative / Karuna Center grant with the following update:

PIC’s progress report, Report on the Pricing Carbon Dialogues: July 2011 through March 2017 and Beyond, was completed on April 12, 2017. The Report documents and evaluates the achievements of the Dialogues, and will help guide us in the coming months. It is also a reflection on the value of the Walker Foundation grants in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016 that has enabled PCI to convene two 3-day retreats, many of our quarterly Dialogues, and numerous smaller meetings, all of which have contributed to our success in helping to advance pricing carbon as a viable solution to climate change.

Given our Chatham House Rule confidentiality guidelines, the Report is only available to our Dialogue participants (which includes the Walker Foundation and several of our colleagues who have also received Walker Foundation funding). As stated above (on our 12/31/16 posting), we had planned to issue the Report at the end of January, 2017. But given the disruptive political turmoil in Washington DC, we decided instead to first have an additional Dialogue on March 2nd and a meeting of our Pricing Carbon Dialogue Steering Committee on March 3rd. The March dialogue focused on the Climate Leadership Council’s carbon tax plan, which is supported by a number of prominent Republicans. The Steering Committee reviewed the findings of the survey and the contents of the Report, which was still being drafted.

The Report summarized the results of our survey, which involved in-depth interviews with 44 of our active Dialogue participants. Although we had initially planned on about 100 interviews, as we proceeded we found that it was far more valuable to have fewer but in considerable more depth. Rather than conducting the interviews in the 15 to 20 minute we had projected, they averaged about 50 minutes. Our findings from the survey were consistent with feedback from our last two Dialogues (on December 6th and March 2nd) and from numerous other discussions with colleagues in our network. Just as confidentiality has been an important ingredient to the success of the Pricing Carbon Dialogues, the same guidelines apply to the survey and report. Hence, we are restricted here from including details covered in the Report. In general, the Report summarizes aspects of the Dialogues that work best for our participants, their suggestions on how to adjust and recalibrate, and which additional projects (including those mentioned above on 12/31/16) are of interest. Most importantly, we found strong affirmation for the value of the Dialogues and for their continuation, especially now, as we face daunting and uncertain political circumstances.

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Purpose

Participants in the PCI's network share a growing belief that correcting the price distortion that excludes the climate/social cost of fossil fuels from their pricing is more timely and urgent than ever. Market-driven solutions are central to PCI's mission. The ongoing bi-partisan, multi-stakeholder dialogues help PCI become more effective at conveying these concepts and building consensus across party lines and with ideologically diverse interest groups, as it garners widespread support from important decision makers, policy makers and key sectors of the public at large

Scope

While the scope of this project is national, we are also continuing to build on our efforts to foster better communication between state-based pricing carbon initiatives, who are the likely forerunners of much needed national legislative solutions. PCI is also attentive to international pricing initiatives, such as the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, spearheaded by the World Bank and the IMF, that are a growing influence in the aftermath of last December’s Paris Agreement.

Information Dissemination

Because the bulk of our current work involves confidential dialogues between stakeholders and opinion leaders seeking to advance pricing carbon policies we do not disseminate information to the public at large on results and findings. Our confidential Report on the Pricing Carbon Dialogues: July 2011 through March 2017, completed on April 12, 2017, is available to our
Dialogue participants.

Amount Approved
$30,000.00 on 5/31/2016 (Check sent: 6/7/2016)


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Attachments
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Contacts


Ms. Olivia Stokes Dreier
Executive Director, Karuna Center for Peacebuilding

Posted 4/1/2016 10:35 AM
Updated   4/24/2017 10:40 PM

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