Nov 9, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Climate change was on the ballot in California and New York. Here’s what happened

Voters cast their ballots at a polling station during early voting at the Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn.

Voters cast their ballots at a polling station during early voting at the Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn. Photo: Lokman Vural Elibol/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

New York and California voters had different stances on climate-related ballot measures in the midterm elections this year.

Why it matters: New York will have more than $4 billion in new climate change-related funding after approving its proposal, whereas California won't move to tax the rich to increase funds for environmentally-friendly production.

New York voters approved a proposal that would immediately pump funds into environmental infrastructure in New York, per the Times Union.

  • The measure, New York’s Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Bond Act of 2022, was designed to add 100,000 jobs and protect clean drinking water in the Empire State, Kate Kurera, deputy director of Environmental Advocates NY, tells Axios.
  • It will allocate $4.2 billion in obligation funds to environmental, national resources, water infrastructure and climate change mitigation projects.
  • Critics argue the bill will put New York into more debt, Kurera said, but it will also “help prepare and provide clean drinking water, which is a message that really resonates strongly with New Yorkers.”

California voters rejected a proposal that would have taxed the rich in order to help the environment.

  • California’s Proposition 30 proposal looked to increase taxes by 1.75% for those making more than $2 million annually and allocate that revenue toward zero-emission vehicle subsidies and zero-emission vehicle production, as well as to fight and prevent future wildfires.
  • According to the proposal, this would have immediately pumped extra cash into the environmental infrastructure.
  • California could see an additional $3.5 billion to $5 billion added to help with environmental infrastructure, per Grist.

The big picture: The plan comes as California — as well as much of the Western United States — has had to battle massive wildfires due to climate change. Homes in California face some of the biggest risk to wildfires over the next three decades.

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