Environment loses in US mid-term vote

| 07/11/2018 | 2 Comments
Cayman News Service

Solar panels on a house in Arizona

(CNS): Efforts by some American states to introduce conservation measures and protections were all defeated at the ballot Tuesday, making the environment a major loser despite recent warnings from dozens of scientists that the world has barely a decade to radically cut emissions of greenhouse gases before the planet reaches the point of no return. In Arizona, people voted no to speeding up a shift to renewable energy, even as one of the sunniest states in the US, where solar energy could help people save money as well as the planet. In Colorado, voters voted no to limit drilling or oil on state-owned land and in Washington, voters rejected a carbon-emissions tax. 

The failure of these environmental ballot measures was, according to US media reports, largely down to the money pouring in from special interests.

The Trump administration has hit international headlines for pulling out of the Paris climate deal but his Cabinet has also been busy expanding oil and gas drilling and rolling back Obama-era efforts to mitigate climate change. But Democratic lawmakers had placed their hopes in state and local governments countering the policies.

Several candidates who committed to taking action to address climate change were elected Tuesday, but the specific ballot measures aimed at direct action appear to have been far less successful.

“What we learned from this election, in states like Colorado, Arizona, and Washington, is that voters reject policies that would make energy more expensive and less reliable,” Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, an industry-backed, free-market advocacy group, told the Washington Post.

But Richard Newell, president of the non-partisan think-tank, Resources for the Future, was more hopeful, telling the Post that most significant state-level climate and renewable energy policies have been best navigated through a legislative process.

“I would not take this as a repudiation of public desire to address climate change, including through carbon pricing or clean energy standards, but rather that the details and who is engaged in the policy formulation matter, a lot.”

Since President Donald Trump took office, California has vowed to serve as a counterweight on energy and environmental policy to a president who frequently dismisses his own government’s findings on climate change or that human activity is warming the globe. That state is committed in law now to produce 100% of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045.

But Tuesday’s results reveal other states are less willing to follow California’s lead, especially when those opposed to the measures invested millions telling voters the measures would hit their wallets.

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Category: Energy, Science & Nature, USA, World News

Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Sounds right to me. The US is a leader in actually improving the environment as opposed to signing meaningless agreements that are immediately disregarded by most of the signees.

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