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Midterms Fallout: Climate Change

Posted on 2018.11.22 at 14:24
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Thank the Media in Part for Our Looming Climate Catastrophe

Climate change took a backseat to other issues in this year’s midterm elections, and humanity may end up paying the price. The majority of climate change-related ballot measures failed, many climate deniers in the Republican party won or kept their seats, and even Democratic winners were not pressed on their commitment to climate change legislation during their campaigns. In their minimal and skewed coverage of climate change issues, the media deserve a share of the blame for these losses.

The biggest failure was the defeat of Initiative I-1631 in Washington state by a margin of 56 percent to 44 percent. The ballot measure would have imposed a fee on emitters of greenhouse gasses, reinvesting the projected $1 billion annual revenues into renewable energy solutions, including clean energy projects, green jobs, and transition assistance to communities in “pollution and health action areas” affected by climate change. While I-1631 was derisively called a carbon tax by opponents, it would more accurately be described as a carbon fee—with revenues reserved for the aforementioned programs, rather than going to the general state revenue pot.

The initiative would have accomplished the first step of what many climate scientists and activists say is one of the most effective actions for mitigating climate change: putting a price on carbon dioxide. Prices on carbon ranging from $50–100 per ton have been put forth by the World Bank as reasonable for achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, while a figure of $220 per ton has been found to more accurately represent the actual social costs of carbon. While I-1631 would have priced carbon at only $15 per ton in 2020, with annual increases that would top it out at $55 per ton, it would nonetheless have been the first explicit and substantial statewide carbon pricing initiative in the United States.

Carbon-pricing initiatives are obviously a major threat to profits of big fossil fuel companies, who in the past have helped kill more comprehensive carbon-pricing initiatives in Washington state, like 2016’s I-732 ballot measure and Gov. Jay Inslee’s attempt to push legislation through the state’s Democratic senate earlier this year. To defeat I-1631 in the most recent election, the fossil fuel groups enlisted corporate media that were all too willing to join in their opposition campaign.

Full article here from TRUTHDIG.

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