Updated: In an email to supporters dated July 5th, 2016, 350 Seattle announced their intention to “unendorse” Initiative 732.
The recent string of ‘do not support’ announcements by environmental organizations with the some of the largest memberships in Washington State suggests, more and more, people are realizing Initiative 732 is a step in the wrong direction for effective climate justice. There is growing momentum against the proposal which provides no support for reducing dependence on fossil fuels or coping with pollution and climate impacts that hit communities of color first and worst.
In April, the Sierra Club, the Washington Environmental Council and Climate Solutions all made statements that they could not support the Initiative. The groups said the Initiative would stall real progress on climate which requires investment in the shift to cleaner energy and support for communities disproportionately impacted and least able to transition. The organizations also point to the $900+ million hole it would put in the state budget.
Climate change is not just an environmental issue, but a matter of economic, social and racial justice, and public health. We have learned that in order to pass and sustain transformational carbon pollution policy, we must work with a broad, politically-powerful coalition.
In sum, Sierra Club has chosen not to support I-732 because it does not meet key tests for an effective and equitable climate policy… Sierra Club will be very busy working for Washington’s clean energy future, but not for ballot I-732.
We know a policy cannot be a quest – rather it’s a tool to get us to where we need to go. And yet, not all tools are right to do the job effectively… While no one policy can do everything, we believe Initiative I-732 has significant flaws which combined would make it harder to achieve the goals of effectively and equitably tackling climate change and rapidly transitioning to clean energy.
Our reason [to “unendorse”], above all, is that we want to support our allies in people-of-color-led climate justice groups that represent those on the frontlines of climate change. These groups, as represented by Front & Centered, are strongly opposed to this particular ballot measure.
Without the backing of environmentalists, communities of color, democrats, or labor, and with its own polls showing voters don’t favor its approach, it’s difficult to see a path for I-732 to win. Reducing carbon pollution is urgent and these groups have made it clear they have no time to waste on a policy that will fail to contribute to a safer climate vital to communities on the frontlines, and to everyone.