- 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 2019, the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding will continue to assist the Pricing Carbon Initiative, as it has done in 2011 and 2014 through 2018, in building consensus around policies and bipartisan legislative solutions that price carbon. Together, we will continue to design, organize and facilitate dialogues with an expanding network of influential decision makers; support action-oriented initiatives; and develop systems for sharing and disseminating information.
Project Title: Building Support in 2019 for Pricing Carbon
• 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: In 2019, the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding will continue to assist the Pricing Carbon Initiative, as it has done in 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, in building consensus around policies and bipartisan legislative solutions that price carbon. Together we will continue to design, organize and facilitate dialogues with an expanding network of influential decision makers, support action-oriented initiatives, and develop systems for sharing and disseminating information.
This report covers four Pricing Carbon Dialogues in Washington DC that were substantially enabled by funds from the 2019 Walker Foundation Grant. The Dialogues took place in May and October of 2019 and in January and May of 2020. Due to the pandemic, the last of these was held virtually. We are now in our ninth year of holding quarterly half and full-day dialogues in Washington DC, and now virtually, where our confidentiality protocol provides a comfortable setting for candid, often revealing discussions between diverse stakeholders and opinion leaders. Our network represents 106 environmental, business, and other issue-oriented organizations, as well as conservative and progressive think tanks. Notwithstanding the polarization that currently pervades much of Capitol Hill, we remain focused on bipartisanship. Increasing participation of Republican-leaning factions in discussions with environmentalists on carbon pricing mechanisms and strategies that can meet common objectives for effectiveness, equity and political viability has been notable and encouraging.
The Dialogue on May 20, 2019, themed “Building Bipartisan Support for National Carbon Pricing Legislation,” was six hours at the United Nations Foundation. It featured presentations from conservative and progressive opinions leaders, reports from Capitol Hill staff with updates on what key committees were up to, and a “fireside chat” with Rep. Francis Rooney, the Republican cosponsor of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, the Green Real Deal and other climate initiatives.
On October 2, 2019, we convened at the Brookings Institution for another six hours. The Dialogue had the following theme: “With public demand for climate action surging and the number of new bills and campaign platforms featuring pricing mechanisms proliferating, are we approaching a watershed pivot toward pricing policies? How is the complementary relationship between pricing, spending, and regulatory policies factoring into this potential or actual pivot?” It featured analysis by key PCI participants of recent climate bills; a further Committee/Legislative update on Capitol Hill bills; updates on the global and U.S. political landscape; and a panel that examined different mechanisms for carbon pricing revenue treatment.
On January 24th, 2020, we convened again for six hours. This time it was at the Akin Gump law offices. The Dialogue was themed “How fast is carbon pricing gaining traction?” We started with an overview of carbon pricing developments, with a look at the global, Canadian and U.S. political landscape. This was followed by another committee/legislative update on Capitol Hill. We concluded with an analysis of and tribute to the work of Martin Weitzman and Frank Ackerman, two remarkable economists whose projections on the social cost of carbon fundamentally differed from the more conservative mainstream. As with the previous two Dialogues, all the participants (which averaged 70) were served lunch.
Finally, on May 20, 2020 we convened virtually for two hours, from 12 to 2pm. Panel I explored the question: Given the current pandemic and its potential ramifications, is it timely, from a fiscal/budget/tax perspective, to be advocating for pricing carbon? Alex Flint, Robert Shapiro and Bob Inglis each offered their perspectives on this question. For Panel II, our theme was: A political reality check on what is happening and not happening on the Hill and in the states, and on the prospects for 2021 in those arenas. Catrina Rorke, Christina DeConcini and Barry Rabe each offered their observations on these questions. Finally in a plenary dialogue, participants offered further perspectives and also made suggestions about future Dialogue subjects. One significant advantage to holding the Dialogue virtually via Zoom was the availability of the Chat Box, which enabled many participants who would not have had the time to speak to offer their comments.
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.
Given the politically challenging circumstances we continue to face, the ongoing positive feedback from our participants has been especially appreciated and reassuring.
(Consistent with the Chatham House Rule, we mention no names of participants in this report, which is available to the public on the Walker Foundation website. Confidential information with particulars about the Dialogues’ agenda and participants is shared with the Foundation principals.)
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 legal initiatives that are could be important forerunners of much-needed national pricing carbon solutions.
Describe how you will disseminate information on the results and findings?
Since this phase of PCI’s work is focused on sharing confidential information between participants in our network, there can be no dissemination of information to the general public on the results and findings of this project. Information about the Dialogues and related projects is shared only with the designated representatives of the participating organizations. Since the Walker Foundation both supports and participates in the Dialogues, we share this and other confidential information with the Foundation’s principals, but it cannot be posted on this or any publicly accessible website.
That said, PCI is making plans to have the capacity in 2020, especially with onset our new virtual dialogues for a useful role in generating information for public dissemination, via our website and elsewhere, as we have done in the past.
(Check sent: 6/14/2019)