Republicans are trying to snuff out climate embers around the country

By Jordan Wolman, Marie J. French, Zi-Ann Lum | 04/24/2024 06:54 AM EDT

Conservatives are aggressively targeting efforts to reduce carbon emissions across the continent.

A photo collage shows smoke stacks with smoke coming out and an image of a $100 bill in the background.

Illustration by Claudine Hellmuth/POLITICO (source images via iStock)

Leaders across the continent who have embraced aggressive climate policies are facing a political backlash as the programs drive up the cost of electricity, home heating and even ordinary goods.

In New York, Washington, Pennsylvania and California — and even Canada — concerns about the costs of curbing greenhouse gas emissions are fueling voter revolts and prompting some liberals to scale back or reframe their own climate ambitions.

Take Washington, where the state’s year-old program is facing a November ballot initiative that would halt the effort, which aims to reduce the state’s net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. The ballot initiative is backed by a conservative hedge fund manager.


Washington’s cap-and-trade program “doesn’t do anything other than make gasoline and groceries and eating more expensive,” Brian Heywood, the ballot measure’s sponsor, said in an interview. “I call it the, ‘Hey, just buy a Tesla, bro,’ mentality.”