U.S. State, Local Elections Signal New Momentum on Climate
Behind the marquee race in Virginia, where Democrat Ralph Northam’s win was widely read as a thumbs-down on the Donald Trump White House, this week’s state and local elections in the United States saw voters elect champions of climate action from Florida to Washington State.
“Americans across the country elected leaders pledged to address climate change despite—and even rebuking—the recalcitrant Trump administration,” Inside Climate News observes. “Newly-elected governors, mayors, and state legislators from the East Coast to the West won on platforms including carbon pricing and clean energy incentives that will bolster ongoing efforts at city, state, and regional levels to combat climate change.”
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The biggest gains are likely to come in expanding regional markets for carbon pricing and emission permit trading.
New Jersey Governor-Elect Phil Murphy promised to rejoin the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) after his now-immensely unpopular predecessor, Chris Christie, withdrew the state in 2011. In addition to toppling an avowed Trumpist, Ralph Northam also pledged to see through Virginia’s enrolment in RGGI, or another cap-and-trade marketplace. And in the state of Washington, “Democrats took control of the state Senate for the first time since 2012, advancing Gov. Jay Inslee’s plans to have Washington join California, Oregon, and Canadian provinces in a regional cap-and-trade program.”
The cities of Manchester, NH, Seattle, and Miami, meanwhile, all elected mayors who are committed to more assertive local action to adapt to climate change.