What does today's election mean for the climate?

This is a post by Daisy Pistey-Lyhne, ACE's Policy Liaison and Regional Managing Educator in Washington, D.C.  

Today: Election Day. Voters are casting ballots all across the United States. Thousands of races at the national, state and local level will determine our climate and energy future! But, while these problems will hit young people the hardest, very few of you have the opportunity to vote, right? Here’s the latest info on what races to watch today, and how you can connect, regardless of your age.

Will Congress bring it on this year?

This election comes on the heels of a HOT summer! While Congress was out for much of the summer on recess (who knew adults got recess too?!), the world was hit by the the 4th hottest summer on record. When Congress returned for a short session this fall, hopes were high for a possible last minute attempt at a climate bill. But, nothing has happened yet.

Now - Congress is on recess again for election season. And once they come back, we'll see what can happen -- much is uncertain, however.

Because of this, many young people are watching the election intensely. And many have been getting involved in PowerVote - getting the word out about clean energy candidates and ballot measures in their local communities. Check out some stories from youth around the country about why they're out knocking on doors.

National races to watch

The outcome of today’s election will determine how likely Congress is to bring climate legislation forward in the next 2 years. The big hold-up on a climate bill last year was a Senate that did not have enough votes to pass a bill. According to climate bloggers, there are 6 Senate campaigns to really watch today that will likely determine the future of climate policy at the federal level. Depending on how these turn out, and what the make-up of the House is after tomorrow, there may no longer be the votes possible for a climate bill in the next 2 years. Keep your eye on the election returns tonight!

While federal climate legislation froze last year, states and cities have been getting to work, adopting climate and clean energy policies to fill in the green their communities and support green jobs and healthier cities. Raise the roof for your state if it appears on the map!

State and local action - under threat

With Congress unlikely to act, these state and city laws may be our best hope of curbing our country's emissions for now. However, in today's election, state regulations are under attack! In California, several Texas- and Kansas-based oil companies are spending millions of dollars on an attempt to overrule California’s groundbreaking climate legislation, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

Proposition 23 would pull the plug on California’s clean energy economy and leave Californians reliant on dirty fossil fuel energy. You can find out more information on this measure here. But, even better, WATCH THIS FUNNY VIDEO, starring an owl!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB1GFV-DpjU[/youtube]

With so much at stake, I bet you wish you had a vote, huh? Some adults have recently recognized just how many issues are at stake right now that will heavily impact the youngest generations - and climate change is top. The Washington Post even ran an opinion piece this summer calling on states to lower the voting age to 10 years of age - so that YOU and other youth can play a part in deciding what happens with your own future.

While this obviously won’t happen in time for today, you can still hold an on-campus election later this fall to let your administration and community members know how students feel about these issues. Check out our Clean Energy Election project in the Raise Your Voice track. It’s a great way to make your voice heard.

It's everybody's future at stack today, so keep an eye on the polls! Remind the over-18-year-olds in your life to vote, and keep your fingers crossed!