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December 12, 2018 -
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The midterm elections saw mixed results for climate change initiatives. Voters in two states rejected ballot measures to curb climate change and increase renewable energy, while voters in Nevada approved a measure that increases the state’s renewable portfolio standard. In Washington, voters rejected a statewide initiative that would have made the state the first to implement a fee on carbon dioxide emissions. Voters in Seattle largely were in favor of the measure, but the rest of the state opposed it, resulting in its defeat, according to The Washington Post. Arizona voters rejected a measure that would have required utilities to generate at least 50 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2035. Arizona’s biggest public utility, Arizona Public Service, emerged as a strong opponent, claiming the proposal would raise the cost of energy and spending more than $30 million to defeat the measure. So Arizona will maintain its current renewable portfolio standard, under which utilities must generate 15 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2025. Nevada saved the day for initiatives aimed at mitigating climate change as voters passed an updated renewable portfolio standard. State utilities now must generate 50 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2030, though due to a procedural requirement, the ballot measure has to pass a second vote in 2020. Environmentalists received more good news a few days after election day when a U.S. federal judge blocked construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
Greg Zimmerman is executive editor of Building Operating Management. Read his cover story on how buildings are tackling climate change.