Project Report:
Building Grasstops Support for Carbon Pricing in 2020/2021
- 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 2020-21, 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 nine virtual Pricing Carbon Initiative events that were substantially enabled by funds from the 2020 Walker Foundation grant. They included six confidential dialogues in June, July, October, and December of 2020, and February and April 1st of 2021, along with three public forums in September, October, and December of 2020.

Now in our tenth year of holding dialogues, our confidentiality protocol continues to provide a comfortable setting for candid, often revealing discussions between diverse stakeholders and opinion leaders. Our network represents 120 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 virtual attendance for the dialogue was roughly 30% higher than when we met in person in Washington DC. The range was 85 to 115 participants. The Zoom meeting setup allowed us to maintain the dialogical ambiance that has been so critical to the success of the dialogues, even with these larger numbers. The Chat Box enabled many participants who would not have had the time to speak to offer their comments.

The dialogue panels included: climate policy & stimulus initiatives, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, a look at pre-election polling and politics at play, the post-election political landscape, and businesses stepping up to the plate. Fireside chats were conducted with public officials: a Congressman, a Senator, and two former Congressmen.

The public forums included a panel on green infrastructure and fireside chats with Congressman Sean Casten and Bob Litterman, a well-known financier and climate activist who favors carbon pricing. Being that these forums were public, they were recorded and remain available to watch on the Climate XChange website

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 the confidential dialogues in this report, which 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.

Information Dissemination

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 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, new public forums offer a useful role in generating information for public dissemination via the Climate XChange website (www. and elsewhere.

Amount Approved
$30,000.00 on 4/17/2020

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Mr. Thomas H Stokes
Director, Pricing Carbon Initiative

Posted 6/10/2020 12:02 PM
Updated   6/6/2021 3:48 PM

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