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Governor’s bold move puts Washington on track for meaningful climate action

A joint statement from Climate Solutions, Washington Environmental Council, and Washington Conservation Voters

Today Governor Inslee announced bold action to address global warming, directing his administration to use its full authority under the Clean Air Act to enforce existing limits on carbon pollution.

“This is a big step forward for climate action in Washington,” said Becky Kelley, President of Washington Environmental Council. “As our state experiences the heat, drought, and fires that climate change causes, Governor Inslee is acting to protect our state. He is standing up for people across the state and enforcing the laws that have been on our books since 2008.”

Our organizations successfully advocated for limits on climate pollution adopted by the Legislature in 2008.  Now, the Governor will put the force of law behind the conclusions of science using his legal authority to enforce these limits.

This summer, our region has seen global warming impacts in a way we never have before. Children and elders are suffering the effects of asthma and heat-related illness. Forest fires, massive in number and in scale, rage across the region. Salmon and other fish are dying off as water temperatures rise in our rivers and snowpack disappears. Increasing ocean acidification threatens our fisheries and shellfish industry. These urgent dangers made today’s action by the Governor necessary.

A cap on carbon emissions is a good foundation for climate action—and marks a serious commitment to do the whole job.  At the same time we must address equity for Washington communities disproportionately harmed by climate pollution. We must ensure a just transition for workers in fossil fuel industries to a clean energy economy. As we cut carbon pollution, we must also stimulate investment in clean energy industry and sustainable jobs.

“The announcement by Governor Inslee is a critical step in making sure that Washington State enforces the laws on the books to reduce climate pollution,” said Gregg Small, Executive Director of Climate Solutions. “But there are limits to what the Governor can do with his existing authority. We are committed to working with a broad coalition, the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, that includes business, labor, communities of color, public health, faith and environmental groups, to make sure that we take every step, including this one, to make sure that Washington has an equitable climate policy that cuts carbon pollution and grows good, family-wage jobs in areas like renewable energy and energy efficiency that are the critical solutions to the problem.”

While pleased by today’s announcement, we are concerned that Governor Inslee postponed action on a clean fuels standard—a policy solution which would clean our air, protect the health of Washingtonians, and promote investment in regional industry and jobs. The powerful fossil fuel industry forced a false choice between clean fuels and funding for essential transportation projects—we need both, and we will continue to fight for both.

“The Governor’s step today is a meaningful response to Washingtonians’ unmistakable calls for action on climate,” said Shannon Murphy, President, Washington Conservation Voters. “Now we stand ready to work with many others to build on this foundation towards a shared and sustainable prosperity.”

As founding partners of the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, Climate Solutions, Washington Conservation Voters, and Washington Environmental Council are committed to working for climate action that is effective, equitable, and ensures a just transition to a clean energy future.


Climate Solutions is a Northwest-based clean energy economy nonprofit.  We have pioneered the vision and cultivated the political leadership in the Northwest for the proposition that clean energy and broadly shared economic prosperity can go hand-in-hand.  For over 15 years, we have led successful initiatives to deliver climate and clean energy policies, models, and partnerships that accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy. 

Washington Environmental Council drives positive change to address our state’s most critical environmental challenges. For more than 45 years, we’ve been pivotal to enacting our most important environmental protections.

Washington Conservation Voters is the statewide political voice for the environment. We work to elect environmentally responsible candidates to state and local offices. Working with our allies in the community, we advocate for strong environmental policies and hold our elected officials accountable both during and after the legislative session. Through our political work we are strengthening laws that safeguard the health of our communities, preserve the beauty of our state and protect our economic future.

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The article was written by Climate Solutions staff. Our individual bios can be found here.