Seattle, WA (November 7, 2018) – Climate Reality Leaders around the country are vowing to continue working to build public support for climate legislation like Washington State’s Initiative 1631, a monumental ballot initiative that would have created the United States’ first carbon fee via ballot initiative.
Washington State’s passage of Initiative 1631 would have made it the first state in the country to place a fee on carbon emissions via ballot initiative, a policy widely considered to be one of the most effective market solutions to the climate crisis. The ballot initiative was fiercely opposed by the fossil fuel industry, which raised around $30 million to derail I-1631’s passage. I-1631 was ultimately defeated in Tuesday’s midterm elections.
“The defeat of Initiative 1631 is disappointing, but we cannot let this setback slow the incredible progress Washington State is making toward its transition to clean energy,” said Ken Berlin, president and CEO of The Climate Reality Project. “The tireless work of Climate Reality Leaders and environmental activists in Washington State and around the country is an immense source of hope that we can and will solve this crisis, and I’m deeply inspired by the courage and climate ambition demonstrated by supporters of I-1631 during Tuesday’s elections.”
Beginning in 2020, Initiative 1631 would have placed a fee of $15 on each metric ton of carbon emitted into the atmosphere, in order to hold polluters accountable for their part in driving global climate change. The revenue created by the fee was expected to generate billions of dollars for the state, which were to be allocated towards local communities and projects to help speed up a statewide transition to a clean energy economy.
Working in coordination with the Yes on 1631 ballot committee, Climate Reality Leaders were a critical force behind building widespread support for Initiative 1631. On November 3, Climate Reality collaborated with the Yes on 1631 coalition to host a nationwide Day of Action in which over 85 Climate Reality Leaders participated in turning out voters in favor of I-1631, beginning the day by canvassing in seven local neighborhoods around the state of Washington. Climate Reality volunteers and local environmental activists also hosted an evening rally at City Hall. Rally attendees heard from Climate Reality Leaders and representatives from the Yes on 1631 coalition about the importance of passing this crucial ballot initiative and were joined by local indigenous peoples for a blessing of success.
Climate Reality’s global network of activists and volunteers is especially strong in Washington State, thanks to a 2017 Climate Reality Leadership Corps training held in Bellevue, Washington. At the training, more than 680 global activists gathered to be trained by former Vice President Al Gore, learning how to effectively communicate the urgency of the climate crisis and the viability of its solutions to their communities. Climate Reality has trained more than 17,000 activists around the world, who use their voices to organize around local, regional, and national environmental issues and help drive climate action at all levels of society.
For more information about The Climate Reality Project’s network of activists in Washington State, please contact Brittany Kimzey at or at (202) 567–6811.