Press Release: What I-732’s defeat means

The following statement was released to the press after media organizations projected that I-732 would lose.

I-732 lost because the strategy was wrong, not the mission

The defeat of I-732, the carbon tax, should not cause anyone to question the depth and breadth of support for action to combat climate change among Washington voters.  As has been widely noted, the solution embodied by I-732 divided a community that is otherwise united in its commitment to developing policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Even if I-732 had passed, it would have been just one measure among a portfolio of measures that will be necessary for Washington to do its part in meeting the global goal of restraining global warming to no more than 2 degrees centigrade.  While carbon pricing may yet have a role to play, additional and simultaneous progress needs to be made on at least four other fronts:

  • Accelerating development of new, clean renewable energy resources and technologies. As quickly as solar and wind generation of electricity are growing and storage technologies are being developed, they can’t replace fossil fuel generation unless policy levers and new investments are used to accelerate the process.
  • Increasing energy efficiency.  Many analyses show that the least expensive and most effective means of reducing carbon emissions is by reducing demand through efficiency upgrades to building and homes along with enhancements to the electric grid. More needs to be done to create the necessary incentives for customers and utilities to take action.
  • Constructing new infrastructure and upgrading existing assets. Developments such as distributed renewable generation and the electrification of transportation will create the need for new infrastructure and will require collaboration between utilities, private industry, and government at all levels.
  • Sharing the costs and benefits of the transition to new, clean renewable energy equitably.  The marketplace alone cannot be relied upon to ensure equity or to adequately address the social consequences of change.  That’s why, as we make new policy and support new investments, it’s essential that all parties, especially low-income people and communities of color that are often the most disadvantaged, be at the table to help design our strategy to address climate change.

Nancy Hirsh, executive director of the NW Energy Coalition says the need for action on these complementary policies is urgent.

“The NW Energy Coalition looks forward to partnering with other organizations, including the backers of I-732, to develop and promote policies that advance these imperatives.”