This story was produced in collaboration with InvestigateWest.
A decade ago climate activist Eileen Quigley found herself in deep despair. Washington, Oregon, and the Canadian province of British Columbia had set ambitious plans to control climate-warming greenhouse gases, but misinformation campaigns by fossil fuel lobbies and a global financial meltdown unnerved legislators, blocking measures to drive the states’ climate plans.
Shut down in Salem and Olympia, the Seattle-based environmentalist and her allies saw their hopes dashed again in Washington, D.C., in 2010. Despite an ascendant Democratic president and a Democratic majority in Congress, a sweeping climate bill died in the Senate and Republicans opposed to climate action took control of the House.
And in B.C., after a bruising provincial election in 2009, a pathbreaking tax on atmospheric pollution, and other climate protections were barely hanging on.
“It was bleak,” Quigley recalled in a recent interview. “There was a lot of anger and definitely frustration and disappointment.”
The result: A region billed as “ecotopia” last century came up way short on the biggest environmenta... Read more