Carbon pricing proponents in the U.S. saw their second defeat in two years in the same state when Washington voters soundly defeated I-1631, a carbon fee that would fund emission reductions. Unlike I-732 in 2016, environmentalists were unified.
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.
A dire report on climate change issued by a United Nations panel influenced Washington-based Microsoft to take a position on a controversial state carbon fee, Initiative 1631. Oil companies are fighting back, citing wide exemptions from the fee.
Two days after a Nobel prize was awarded to William Nordhaus for his work on carbon taxes to address climate change, the largest American oil and gas company announced a $1 million contribution to a group promoting a carbon fee and dividend plan.
Initiative 1631 takes up where Gov. Jay Inslee's carbon tax legislation ended in March after failing to attract enough supporters. The new initiative differs from I- 732 which was rejected by 59 percent of voters two years ago.