- 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.
In 2021-22, the Pricing Carbon Initiative (PCI) will continue with its efforts, launched in 2011, to build support, by fostering understanding and cooperation between a wide range of organizations and opinion leaders, for bipartisan carbon pricing solutions designed to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. During the current pandemic, PCI is conducting the ongoing Pricing Carbon Dialogues in a virtual mode. Given how well this is working, the virtual meetings will likely continue even after our in-person meetings resume. PCI will also continue to organize related efforts designed to engage and encourage additional support, cooperation and participation.
This report covers five virtual Pricing Carbon Initiative (PCI) events that were substantially enabled by funds from the 2021 Walker Foundation grant in the July 2021-June 2022 timeframe. They included two public forums in July and September of 2021 (featuring Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman Scott Peters) and three confidential dialogues in December 2021 and March and May of 2022. PCI has also remained active with the Transforming the Conversation on Carbon Pricing project, which seeks greater understanding and alignment with environmental justice advocates. The project ended the first stage of its work (which took years) with a three-day summit in New Orleans, in November 2022.
Now in our eleventh year of holding Carbon Pricing Dialogues, the need for bipartisan carbon pricing is ever more urgent. But we are challenged by an ominous new degree of partisan rancor on Capitol Hill and in other political arenas across the country. That said, our confidentiality protocol continues to provide a comfortable setting for timely, candid, often revealing discussions between diverse stakeholders and opinion leaders. And notwithstanding the ideological crosswinds confronting us, we have made notable progress in engaging more Republican, conservative, and business interests while maintaining participants from the progressive side of the spectrum as well as with diverse environmental social justice groups. Although progress on viable climate solutions is definitely lagging in Washington, in state houses and on the international front, we remain focused on carbon pricing mechanisms and strategies that can meet common objectives for effectiveness, equity, and political viability.
Although we had hoped to host at least one in-person dialogue during this timeframe (with the venue that served us so well), lingering pandemic issues foreclosed that option. However, with a significant boost from our new virtual collaborators and co-host, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) the virtual attendance (especially in the public forums) and the level of participation was encouraging and rewarding (especially in the confidential dialogues).
Once again, given the politically challenging circumstances we continue to face, the ongoing positive feedback from our participants has been especially appreciated and reassuring.
The first public forum (in July 2021) involved a conversation between Christina DeConcini (PCI’s board chair) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse about the Save our Future Act, for which he was the lead sponsor. The bill features a significant price on carbon emissions and the use of revenue for front-line communities. It f had significant input from a broad range of stakeholders, especially from environmental justice advocates. The conversation and the panel discussion that followed on border carbon adjustments is recorded at this link: https://www.c2es.org/event/fireside-chat-senator-sheldon-whitehouse-d-ri-on-the-save-our-future-act/).
The second forum (in September 2021) featured a conversation between with Catrina Rorke (senior vice president for policy and research at the Climate Leadership Council) and Congressman Scott Peters (D-CA), who in July 2021 introduced the FAIR Transition and Competition Act (H.R. 4534), which aims to impose a border carbon adjustment on imported goods. Rep. Peters discussed how his bill can reduce emissions and how it correlates with other climate bills, bipartisanship, and ongoing budget discussions on the Hill. The conversation and the panel discussion that followed is recorded at this link: https://www.c2es.org/event/a-conversation-with-representative-scott-peters/
The three confidential dialogues included panels on
1) The intersection of environmental justice and climate policy: Legislative options for the 117th Congress and policy perspectives on equity, justice, effectiveness and political viability. (December 2021)
2) Achieving international climate policy goals in the face of the Russia-Ukraine war. (March 2022)
3) An in-house discussion, sharing thoughts and updates on what our diverse organizations are doing at this juncture. (May 2022)
As always, the Dialogues and related PCI events have helped make a difference by:
1) Engaging more organizations, sectors, and constituencies in discussing pricing carbon issues;
2) Furthering an understanding of policy solutions and the political dynamics involved in enacting them;
3) Providing opportunities for networking, meeting other stakeholders, and building new alliances; and
4) Helping organizations and other stakeholders stay abreast of what others in the climate movement are thinking and doing.
(Consistent with the Chatham House Rule, we mention no names of participants in the confidential dialogues in this report that is available to the public on the Walker Foundation website.)
Participants in the PCI network share a steadfast belief that correcting the price distortion that excludes the climatic and social costs of fossil fuels from their pricing is more timely and urgent than ever. Market-driven solutions are central to PCI's mission. PCI’s ongoing bi-partisan, multi-stakeholder dialogues continue to build consensus across party lines and with ideologically diverse interest groups.
The scope of this project is national, but given the continuing unfavorable political dynamics in Washington DC, we are also remaining attentive to international, state-based, and various legal initiatives that could be important forerunners of much-needed national pricing carbon solutions.
The Pricing Carbon Initiative public forums are recorded and available for public dissemination via the C2ES website (www.c2es.org).
For Pricing Carbon Dialogues that involve sharing confidential information between participants in our network, there can be no dissemination of content to the general public. Those discussions and findings are shared only with the designated representatives of the participating organizations. Since the Walker Foundation supports and participates in the Dialogues, we share that and other confidential information with the Foundation’s principals, but that cannot be posted on this or on any publicly accessible website.
(Check sent: 6/11/2021)