Hello, CarbonWA friends: There is no way around it — the results for climate action this election were mixed. Read on for our take on I-1631, the results from CarbonWA’s efforts to elect climate champions, and the future for climate action in Washington. Thank you to the hundreds of volunteers who worked on the initiative and volunteered for our legislative climate champions. You inspire us to continue.
Climate Champions Win Legislative Seats!
We embarked on a new effort this year to elect a climate majority to the state legislature. Our work culminated in the first ever Climate Voters’ Guide and a program of active campaigning in key legislative races. We are thrilled that 5 out of the 7 key climate races we campaigned in are trending our way!
Climate champions Sharon Shewmake, Jared Mead and Debra Entenman are poised to unseat climate do-nothings in the House. In the Senate, Emily Randall is narrowly ahead. Moderate Republican Mark Miloscia lost his Senate seat, but his challenger Claire Wilson is also a climate champion who earned our endorsement.
Overall, CarbonWA-supported candidates won over half of their races. The state legislature will be more pragmatic and smartly focused on climate than ever before. We have a lot of work to do to capitalize on this opportunity, and thanks to your support we have hope of making progress in Olympia.
Initiative 1631 Falls Short
We applaud the immense effort made by 1631 campaign volunteers and staff. However, the initiative has fallen short of passing. Here is our statement on the result:
There is mounting evidence that a growing majority of Americans are concerned about climate change and support climate action. While Initiative 1631 failed to attract majority support, that does not change the fact that Yale University’s extensive research shows 70 percent of Washington voters believe global warming is happening and would support regulations on carbon emissions. Voters are demanding a solution, even if they didn’t accept this one. I-1631 deserves praise for attracting a broad coalition of support, including from Carbon Washington. Yet the policy failed to attract bipartisan support and contained elements that caused concern, as we highlighted in our analysis of the proposal. Opponents argued a better proposal was needed. They must now stand by their word in calling for a better proposal.
Carbon Washington will continue to advocate for solutions that bridge our deep partisan divides, not enlarge them, and that are effective, equitable and economically sound. But, we cannot do this work alone. We urge everyone, Republicans and Democrats, energy companies and community activists, opponents and proponents of 1631, to join us in the spirit of compromise to find solutions that fulfill our duty to protect our common home. Read our full statement here.
We’ll continue to analyze the results and look for insights. However, one supporter created this chart comparing I-732 to the first round of results from I-1631.
The Future of Climate Action
The climate movement needs solutions that can bring people together across regional, political, and economic divides. Strategies that hinge on ‘overwhelming’ the other side cannot be counted on to succeed. At CarbonWA, we will continue to advocate for a price on carbon because it is the most efficient tool we have to reduce carbon emissions. A campaign outcome doesn’t change that reality. We will invite the traditional opponents of climate action to join the discussion to shape the path forward. We will pursue other climate policies in the upcoming legislative session as well. Our work on land-use climate solutions, like carbon sequestration and biochar, will continue. We support efforts for a low carbon fuel standard regionally and in the legislature. Some of our partners are pushing for 100% clean energy, and we will look for cost-effective ways we can decarbonize our electricity system toward that goal. Stay tuned and expect to hear about opportunities to support our ambitious legislative campaigns.
If you want to be a part of this work, please let us know. We need talented, engaged volunteers to join our legislative committee, communications team, and fundraising committee.
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— The CarbonWA Team