Project Report:
Building Engaged, Informed, and Connected Grasstops for 2023 and Beyond
- 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.


With this project, the Pricing Carbon Initiative (PCI) will continue with the mission launched in 2011 to build support for bipartisan carbon pricing solutions, designed to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, by fostering understanding and cooperation between a wide range of organizations and opinion leaders. ( This request was amended on 4/24/23 to include added funding for a 2-day retreat this May on current opportunities to promote Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanisms (CBAMs).


This report covers Pricing Carbon Initiative (PCI) projects that were substantially enabled by the $40,000 Alex C. Walker Foundation grant, approved on April 29, 2022. Of this, $10,000 was earmarked for PCI’s CBAM project; the rest was for general support. The funding covers work undertaken and completed between May 1, 2023 and December 31, 2023. The projects included:
1. The PCI CBAM project
2. PCI’s Chatham House Rule virtual dialogues.
3. PCI’s public forums
4. Capacity Building
5. Identifying and engaging additional funding sources.

The PCI CBAM Project
Responding to widespread interest in Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanisms (CBAMs), that emerged from PCI’s in-person, day-long Dialogue in January 2023 (funded by the Walker Foundation’s previous grant cycle), we launched this project. To help us reach our objectives, we retained Alden Meyer, a principal at Performance Partners and a long-time leader within the PCI network.

The project has so far had two phases, both of which involved landscape analyses. In this intensive process, we interviewed 15 individuals representing 10 groups that are well connected and influential within the policy space of carbon border adjustments/measures. In the first phase, we shared our analysis with those individuals and used their input to inform the agenda for an invitation-only, Chatham House Rule 2-day retreat at the Claggett Center, MD, May 15-16. Several of the groups were further engaged in the planning of the retreat, to increase their investment, and better craft the retreat contents to the needs of the moment. The purpose of this retreat was to focus potential support for border adjustments using that focus as a way of building further bonds of bipartisan trust and collaboration between our diverse grasstops PCI participants, especially those focused on bipartisan and center-right policies.
To complete the first phase, we conducted follow-up interviews with key players, where it emerged that high-level discussions on carbon border measures are rather siloed, and that PCI could play a useful role as a so-called “convener of conveners.” That is, to bring together those groups that are themselves at the center of a network of influential organizations, to share research, insights, and political considerations across those silos for further dissemination to their respective networks.

With this mandate, we commenced the second phase with another landscape analysis of key groups, which is nearing completion. The next step is to plan and execute an in-person half-day meeting on January 25th.

Pricing Carbon Dialogues
1) On September 13, we held a Chatham House Rule (CHR) dialogue on state initiatives featuring Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State. Those remarks were followed by a panel discussion with experts.

2) On October 31, building on the momentum of September 13, we hosted a second CHR dialogue on state initiatives. This dialogue featured an interview with California Energy Commission Chair David Hochschild that was also followed by a panel discussion with experts.

3) On December 19, with the usual input from our Dialogue steering committee, we combined international and domestic policy elements for a CHR dialogue focused on international developments at the just-completed COP28 and how they interact with domestic legislation at the federal level.

Public Forums
1) On May 18, two days after our retreat focused on carbon border measures, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse participated in a public forum where he provided comments on his border-focused Clean Competition Act (which also reflects a domestic carbon price) as well as the wider politics in this policy space. His remarks were followed by a panel discussion with experts who both commented on his remarks and offered their own insights. This event was co-hosted by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES).

2) We initiated plans for additional public forums in 2024, in collaboration with C2ES, with whom we concluded a memorandum of understanding on this point.

Capacity Building
To a large extent, our capacity building was tied to Danny Richter’s work as Co-Director of PCI. For the previous 9 years, while leading the research and policy agendas for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), he was an active participant in PCI’s dialogues. This background of participation with PCI along with his experience as CCL’s Vice President of Government Affairs, his expertise on climate science and carbon pricing, his experience in organizing bipartisan legislative support, and his dedication to the cause, have made him an ideal fit for PCI. His work in broadening our network of stakeholders and in enhancing the engagement of participants at our dialogues has been invaluable. He has consolidated our lists into a single source for enhanced participant engagement and has professionally managed the user experience on Zoom for our virtual CHR dialogues. Public speaking on carbon pricing is another role he has taken on, both at events hosted by organizations within our network, and in classroom settings (at Cornell University and Bates College). In an effort to get more people committed to carbon pricing policies, he has begun a series of 4 blogs that explores a wider policy set than covered by carbon taxes and cap-and-trade systems, while staying true to the spirit of those policies, and to the discussions hosted by PCI over the past decade. Earlier this year, he updated the website, working in tandem with a web designer, Darren Roth, adding the blog and other content that includes online donation functionality.

Additional Funding
We have had success in leveraging the Walker foundation grant into additional funding. To help towards this end we have retained Sam Connor, of the Sam Connor group. His advice has also been helpful in capacity building.
In particular, the Walker grant helped leverage funding from Roger Sant and the F Felix Foundation. Both had contributed to PCI once in the past, but it had ceased and the Walker Foundation’s ongoing support was an incentive for each to contribute $25,000 in 2024. For the Felix Foundation this was the first half of a two-year commitment. We are aggressively researching other potential funders in our capacity-building efforts.

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 only mention selected names of participants in the confidential dialogues in this report, because is available to the public on the Walker Foundation website.)

All of PCI’s progress has been made possible by the steady, ongoing support from the Walker Foundation, for which we are most grateful.


1) We focus on policies to correct the economic distortions resulting from the free dumping of carbon pollution into Earth's atmosphere and oceans.
2) While focusing on U.S. domestic legislation, we address design elements that transparently link with a global carbon pricing system and foster global economic sustainability.
3) A robust economic consensus suggests the need to price in the externalities associated with fossil fuel burning. Otherwise, the costs of climate change threaten to undermine and destroy global economic stability.
4) Policies to price carbon pollution will take advantage of existing energy markets to correct price signals in the use of fossil fuels that ignore the social costs of carbon. Negative externalities not included in prevailing models, such as the acidification of oceans, must be included in the mix. Pricing carbon emissions can correct the distortion in energy markets whereby fossil fuels are favored over low-carbon alternatives.


The scope of this project is national, but given the ongoing 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.

Amount Approved
$40,000.00 on 4/29/2003 (Check sent: 5/3/2023)

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South Lee, MA 01260

(413) 717-8211


Mr. Thomas H Stokes
Director, Pricing Carbon Initiative

Posted 3/31/2023 8:19 AM
Updated   1/16/2024 12:59 PM

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