Climate change officials are seeing a new trend across America; local governments are taking charge of climate change efforts in their own cities to help curb carbon emissions and reduce their climate footprints. On November 3, citizens of Denver, CO, and Key Biscayne, FL passed new local laws to fight climate change.
Denver – Measure 2A
Residents of Denver, CO voted yes on 2A, a new measure that will raise Denver’s sales tax t to raise tens-of-millions of dollars each year to fund green initiatives. Measure 2A was formed at the recommendation of Colorado’s recently formed Climate Action Task Force and was passed alongside Measure 2B, which will also slightly raise sales taxes in Denver to help people experiencing homelessness. Each bill was passed with over 64 percent of the public vote. Together, the bills will result in a 0.25 percent increase in sales tax and will raise tens of millions of dollars for each of the two issues.
Key Biscayne – General Obligation Bonds
Voters in Key Biscayne, FL voted to pass legislation allowing the village to use $100 million+ worth of general obligation bonds to fight local effects of climate change. According to an August town hall meeting, $40 million will likely go towards counteracting the flooding caused by rising sea levels, $23 million towards cleaning and protecting the local shoreline, and an additional $40 million+ towards renovating the city’s infrastructure to better withstand tropical storms. This referendum is a “blank check” measure, however, meaning that the funds could be used for a wide variety of green initiatives.
A Nonpartisan Issue
Historically, climate change has been framed as a political issue, but with mounting evidence like the over 8 million acres of American soil scorched by wildfires so far in 2020 and the record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season that is also currently ongoing, more Americans are supporting climate change legislature, regardless of party. A recent poll conducted by Public Agenda, USA TODAY, and Ipsos found that 86 percent of registered Democrats, 55 percent of registered Republicans, and 78 percent of Independents all support the implementation of legislative action to fight climate change.
This movement is especially gaining ground with young voters. A 2019 survey from the United States Conference of Mayors revealed that nearly three-quarters of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 want state and local governments to take climate change legislation into their own hands. As the younger generations turn 18 and can take part in local and state elections, this trend is likely to continue and we may start to see more cities passing their own climate change legislation.
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