Based on the final presidential debate and the conversations that have been going in the media, this year’s presidential elections will be largely influenced by climate change. While the presidential candidates alone may not give you a clear picture of where the nation stands on clean energy and climate change, keeping your eyes on local ballot measures will.
From Alaska’s oil tax to Denver’s climate tax, these measures will show us what the American people think about climate change. Unfortunately, the measures representing climate issues have fallen short this year, owing to the strain caused by the pandemic. For example, in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo pulled a $3 billion emissions bond off the ballot, saying that it is not the right time. “The financial situation is unstable. I don’t think it would be financially prudent to do it at this time.” Cuomo told reporters.
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Even though some critical measures have been left off of ballots in 2020, there are still several that stand out and are worth keeping an eye on.
In Alaska, Measure 1 on the ballot could quadruple the taxes collected from oil companies if passed. In Denver, Colorado, Measure 2A seeks to raise local sales taxes and redirect the funds to greenhouse gas reduction programs. Similar to Denver, Long Beach, California has introduced Measure US, which would increase the tax on local oil production with the aim of raising $1.6 million annually. The money would be channeled to youth programs and a climate action plan.
California has other climate-related measures on the ballot, including Berkeley’s Measure HH, which targets a 2.5% gas and electricity utility tax increase. The money would go toward combating carbon emissions. Another, Measure DD in Albany, California, also proposes an increase in electricity and gas utility taxes, with the funds going toward reducing pollution.
Other issues showing up on ballots include the Columbus, Ohio Issue 1 and the Nevada Question 6. Issue 1 would “establish an Electric Aggregation Program, which would allow the city to aggregate the retail electrical load of customers within the city’s boundaries, and allowing customers to opt-out of the program.” On the other hand, Question 6 asks voters whether the state should provide half their electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
The outcome of these issues will be vital in indicating the thoughts of Americans about climate change and defining our collective response to the climate crisis. Keep an eye out for the results on these proposed measures, and if you haven’t already — vote!
Image via Tiffany Tertipes