By now you’ve probably heard that I-1631, which would have been the country’s first carbon fee, did not pass. Big oil spent an unprecedented amount of money—over $31 million—to defeat us. It was a punch-in-the-gut reminder that we are up against the most profitable industry in the country, and they will do whatever it takes to protect their bottom line even if it threatens our health, communities and future.
We are still unpacking the results, waiting for all ballots to be counted, and convening with our partners. For now, we want to celebrate the work of our incredible leaders and say thank you to everyone who supported this initiative. Whether you made calls from across the country, donated money, knocked doors, or cheered us on from afar, you helped strengthen the national movement for polluter accountability.
Our Climate’s student leaders mobilized their campuses in support of I-1631. We stormed the dorms, talked with thousands of students (occasionally in costume), made class raps, and printed hundreds of replacement ballots for students who had misplaced theirs. We knocked over 5,000 doors, called 2,200 voters, sent more than 20,000 texts, and held over 30 outreach events in communities across Washington.
The students we engaged were enthusiastic, informed and eager to vote for bold climate policy. They shared their stories via campus newspaper articles, letters to the editor, our blog, and social media. The young leaders—in Washington and across the country—who gave their all to pass I-1631 are not going away. They are fired up and eager to go to bat against the fossil fuel industry again.
While big oil may have won this round, together we took a giant step forward. This fierce, well funded opposition reminds me that what we are fighting for—a strong and equitable price on greenhouse gas pollution—is powerful. It will not be easy to win. It will require perseverance, creativity, and working together. While we had hoped for a different result on Tuesday night, we are better positioned than ever to push lawmakers to stand up to big oil and put a price on carbon.
Thank you for being in this fight with us. Let’s keep going.
Page & the Our Climate team