Election Wins Give Climate Action a Boost

The wave of state and local success for Democrats across the country during Tuesday's election also brought a surge of good news for climate and clean energy.

New Jersey Democrat Phil Murphy, who vowed that his state will rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and made aggressive renewable energy targets part of his campaign platform, was easily elected governor. In Virginia, voters held off Koch-funded Republican Ed Gillespie's gubernatorial bid, rejecting his campaign rhetoric to bolster offshore drilling and keep states from fulfilling the Paris agreement.

And in Seattle, Democrat Manka Dhingra looks poised to win the 45th District state Senate seat. A win for Dhingra would tip Washington's GOP-controlled state Senate to Democratic control, creating a Democratic stronghold on the entire West Coast and paving the way for Gov. Jay Inslee's ambitions on a multi-state carbon pricing plan and other climate actions.

Climatewire reported that "Inslee has had difficulty overcoming Republican opposition to his climate agenda. The governor turned to an executive order capping carbon emissions from the state's largest polluters after failing to garner support for a cap-and-trade program."

"We recognize having Democrats controlling the legislature could make a difference for the governor's priorities, including climate change and clean energy," Tara Lee, an Inslee spokeswoman, told Climatewire.

As the International Business Times reported Monday before Gillespie's loss to Ralph Northam in Virginia:

"Gillespie's campaign released a seven-page plan for addressing rising sea levels and increased flooding on Virginia's coast. But the plan didn't contain the term 'climate change' and didn't address the reason why sea levels are rising. By addressing the dangers posed by climate change without acknowledging its existence, Gillespie is walking a fine line: demonstrating concern for state voters in flood-prone areas, while not crossing fossil-fuel backers like the Koch brothers, whose Koch Industries has given $20,000 directly to his campaign and whose Americans for Prosperity is supporting him with $2.6 million worth of ads."

For a deeper dive:

General elections: Washington Post. New Jersey: Observer, NJ Spotlight. Gillespie: International Business Times, Washington Post. Dhingra: Seattle Times, Seattle PI, New York Times, Huffington Post, Climatewire

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

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