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No West Coast Climate Bloc

Had election results proved favorable in Oregon and Washington, UC Berkley Law Climate Program Director Ethan Elkind suggested that the two states could join California to form a West Coast Climate Bloc. Oregon came through, but not Washington.
November 7, 2018, 9am PST | Irvin Dawid
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Tracy Hunter

"California has largely been 'going it alone' on major climate policy, specifically the state’s carbon trading program through cap and trade," blogged Ethan Elkind, Director of the Climate Program at the UC Center for Law, Energy & the Environment, on Tuesday. "But the election today in Washington and Oregon could change that dynamic and possibly usher in a West Coast climate bloc of states willing to tackle carbon directly," writes Elkind.

At 9:26 pm (PST) on Tuesday night, reported that "Washington state’s carbon fee initiative [1631] will fall short of the needed votes to pass with just 43 percent of votes, according to early counts."

"Meanwhile, Oregon has a chance to enact its own cap-and-trade program next year, as I blogged this summer after attending a legislative gathering at the Oregon coast," adds Elkind.

But it hinges on the current governor, Kate Brown, winning re-election today against a tough Republican challenger, funded in part by Nike founder Phil Knight. If she wins and it passes next year, Oregon could potentially link their program to California’s.

Brown eked out a victory, winning 50 percent of the vote among the six gubernatorial candidates, reported The Oregonian at 8:21 pm. It now remains to be seen if the speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, Tina Kotek, advances a cap-and-trade (or “cap-and-invest” as they’re calling it) program.

Elkind concludes his blog by writing:

As the federal government experiences division and inaction in the face of the climate threat, multi-state coalitions like along the Pacific Coast could represent a promising step forward to achieve real national progress.

Hopefully, Oregon will be able to join California's carbon trading program. With the passage of HB 2017 last year, the Beaver State implemented a similar credit-trading program known as a clean fuel standard, the nation's second state to do so, after California.

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Published on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 in Ethan Elkind
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