Why I’m Voting for I-1631

Initiative 1631 puts a fee on the carbon pollution that is disrupting our climate, and would direct the approximately $1 billion it raises each year to investments that reduce carbon pollution.  I’m voting for it, because the climate crisis is coming home.

Here around Lake Union, it hits us in many ways.  When Lake Union water levels dropped unexpectedly a few years back due to lack of rainfall, it threatened houseboat integrity. That was a climate impact.

The smokes that have obscured our skies the last two summers came from a documented increase in wildfires.  The top three record wildfire years in Washington state took place in 2014, 2015, and 2017.  (They’re still assembling 2018 statistics.)

Seattle in recent years has experienced wild swings in climate extremes. The wettest winter on record in 2016-17 was followed by the hottest, driest summer, with the longest number of days without rain in Seattle history. This July was the hottest on record, with the May-July period the driest for those months.

I-1631 would pay for investments that reduce fossil fuel use and the carbon pollution that comes with it. I-1631 would pay for energy efficiency retrofits, improved transit, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and more solar and wind power. It would also support investments in farms and forests to improve the capacity of natural resources to soak and absorb carbon from the atmosphere.

The opposition to I-1631 tells us everything: $25 million in money almost purely from the oil industry. They have tapped former State Attorney General Rob McKenna to be the face of the opposition, without revealing that he currently works for Chevron. The ads talk about exemptions, and there are some to preserve working class jobs. The ads don’t mention that the tax will fall on the biggest polluters, the oil companies paying for the ads. They claim bloated cost impacts on people, and totally ignore the costs climate chaos is imposing on our world, and our children’s future. Look at the destruction in Florida, the deluges in the Carolinas, or the massive fires in the west, to see a picture of a world facing radical climate change.

I-1631 is a practical measure with broad support.  See here for more. It will invest in clean energy options that will ultimately reduce costs for all of us. But it’s also a moral choice. In the final analysis, this is an investment in our children’s future, in them having a world that is not so ravaged by climate chaos that they can no longer cope with the impacts.  Vote yes on I-1631.