A state mostly run by liberal Democrats for years continues to dodge the tough work required for the economy to grow greener. For going on 40 years, Arctic crude has literally fueled the prosperous growth in this region. It’s easy to kayak around to symbolically protest an evil corporation. It’s easy to use the permitting process in a political manner, as Seattle Mayor Ed Murray just did. But it won’t do anything substantive about climate change.
So what is different with the revamped proposal? The changes are mostly with where the roughly $1.3 billion in biennial revenue in both versions would be allocated. instead of adding a few hundred million dollars to transportation projects, as Inslee originally wanted, the new version will reimburse fuel suppliers and distributors for their increased expenses in reducing carbon emissions and will upgrade economic support for the timber industry.
The port, Foss and Shell find themselves in a toxic stew of sentiments. There’s also a prevailing attitude, at least in officialdom, that the jobs generated at a place such as the port and by activities such as hosting an oil-drilling fleet, not to mention the people likely to fill such jobs, are increasingly unnecessary in the municipal vision of Seattle’s future.
The cost of residential electricity in the EU has soared 43 percent since 2006, while in the U.S. rates are only up 17 percent; customers in Europe spend more than twice as much as their American counterparts. That’s what the U.S. has to look forward to. Germany’s energy policies are so mixed up that in spite of huge investments in renewables and onerous efficiency mandates, carbon emissions in Germany have risen 5 percent-7 percent over the past two years.
Few of us would consciously choose the future we’ll get if we allow continuing expansion of fossil-fuel development — a future of unthinkable human suffering caused by climate chaos and unchecked domination of our democratic institutions by fossil-fuel interests. As the mayor said, “It’s time to turn the page. Things like oil trains and coal trains and oil-drilling rigs are the past. It’s time to focus on the economy of the future.”
Breakthrough Strategies & Solutions (along with Sightline and a team of messaging experts) has retested and updated the powerful climate change narrative first developed in 2012 that informed high-profile climate communications from the White House to local leaders across the US. It’s a clear, compelling narrative that cuts through these coal and oil industry tactics and frames global warming and energy solutions on our terms, not theirs.
When members of a city council committee unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday condemning the Port of Seattle’s two-year lease to host Arctic oil drilling equipment, Shell Oil was not in the room. As a result, Seattle council members were forced to defend their condemnation not to the multi-national fossil fuel producer, but to angry people they still clearly respect: Seattle’s working class.