Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Guardian author Oliver Milman is worried that despite solid assurances of commitment to climate action, Democrats are failing to deliver the climate measures greens expect of them.
Climate change tightens grip on US west coast despite progressive aspirations
California, Washington and Oregon have led criticism of Trump’s climate policies, but change hasn’t been easier closer to home
“The states are struggling to fill the gap for the federal government on climate change,” said Nives Dolsak, of the school of marine and environmental affairs at the University of Washington.
“In Washington, we are holding a very good policy hostage because it’s not perfect. Inclusion and equity concerns means we are losing momentum and public support on climate change.”
Last week, an effort to introduce the first straight tax on carbon dioxide emissions failed in Washington state, with governor Jay Inslee admitting it couldn’t pass the Democrat-controlled senate. “On the arc of history, we’re not quite far along enough on the arc,” said Inslee, a Democrat and vocal proponent of action on climate change. “That day will come, but it wasn’t quite here yet.”
The tax, which would’ve started at $20 per ton CO2 emitted, faced criticism it would increase the cost of energy or, conversely, that it wouldn’t generate sufficient money for clean energy programs. Meanwhile, in Oregon, another state dominated by elected Democrats, lawmakers failed to agree on a cap on greenhouse gases and will instead revisit the issue in 2019.
The stuttering progress of climate change policies sits awkwardly with international assurances from the broad coalition opposed to Trump that the US has not given up on tackling dangerous global warming.
I suspect what we are seeing is the collapse of the green lie that climate policies help the economy. Even California sees the occasional Democrat mutiny over the introduction of job destroying green policies.
As President Trump’s initiatives drive up national economic growth, at least in states which care about jobs and prosperity, politicians in green states will face increasingly difficult questions from angry voters demanding to know why their state is being left behind.