Zero emissions bus in Seattle
Seattle's Proposition 1: Yes to transit!
To address the climate crisis, clean up our air, and protect our communities' health, we need more clean-energy transit.
Clean transportation

We all want clean, affordable, accessible, safe and efficient ways to get around.  Our transportation system is a crucial part of everyone’s life, enabling or restricting us from accessing essential services, job opportunities, or helping break the cycle of poverty. 

We all rely on our transportation system, yet transportation fuels are responsible for nearly half of our climate and harmful air pollution in the Pacific Northwest: 46% of Washington’s greenhouse gas emissions and 39% of Oregon’s.   Health professionals link this air pollution directly to asthma, lung cancer, and other respiratory diseases. Due to racist public policies like redlining, and inner-city highway construction, toxic concentrations of diesel pollution like the high amounts found in busy trucking corridors, bus depots, distribution hubs, and seaports disproportionately affect low-income and communities of color. Cleaning up transportation pollution will help cut climate pollution, improve public health while addressing environmental racism in our transportation system.

Transitioning to electricity as a fuel

Shifting to zero-emission vehicles that get their power from clean energy is one of the fastest ways we can clean our air and our transportation system.  Achieving this vision means electrifying vehicles economy-wide including but not limited to; personal vehicles, medium and heavy duty trucks, construction and agriculture equipment, buses and more.

Although heavy duty vehicles comprise 10 percent of all vehicles on the road, they account for nearly 25 percent of total U.S. climate pollution from transportation, and 45 percent of NOx emissions (nitrous oxide; a greenhouse gas roughly 300 times more harmful than carbon dioxide). This is why we need to prioritize every tool to clean up the delivery trucks, transit and school buses, big rigs and other vehicles that make up the medium and heavy-duty transportation sector. Getting zero-emission trucks on the road is a public health imperative and has been a decades-long priority of environmental justice advocates. Replacing dirty diesel-powered trucks with their zero-emission counterparts can clean the air we breathe, reduce climate emissions, and create green jobs.

Commercial aviation accounts for two percent of global carbon pollution, a figure projected to grow to between three and 4.7 percent by 2050 without concerted action to curb emissions. Accordingly, a comprehensive solution to the world’s climate predicament requires a strategy to reduce aviation’s carbon footprint. Industry leaders recognize this imperative and accordingly have set a goal of reducing the sector’s carbon emissions 50 percent by 2050.   In 2011, Climate Solutions facilitated the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest (SAFN), a process created by The Boeing Company, Alaska Airlines, Portland International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Spokane International Airport, Washington State University, and Climate Solutions to develop sustainable and economically viable aviation biofuels in the Northwest.

Marine vessels, long-haul trucks, and airplanes will likely need to rely on lower carbon liquid fuels for the foreseeable future to reduce their carbon pollution. Just as we are expanding our ability to produce clean electricity, we can source our biofuels from sustainable feedstocks, including used cooking oil, dairy manure, sewage treatment and other waste streams that would otherwise only increase our emissions.

Reducing How Much We Have to Travel, Increasing the Ways to Get Around

While shifting to electricity as a fuel is part of our solution, it doesn’t solve all of our other transportation related problems. For example, if all of our vehicles became electric overnight, we would still be stuck in traffic jams and we would continue to have a unacceptably high number of vehicle related deaths. While we need electric cars, trucks and buses, we also need to make it possible to get around safely, accessibly, affordably, and efficiently by walking, rolling, and taking transit.  Reducing the amount we need to drive to access our daily commutes and essential services like visiting the doctor or going to the grocery store not only reduces our carbon pollution, but also increases safety, cuts congestion, and increases our quality of life.  

Needed Solutions for Clean Transportation

There are many policy pathways to accelerate the transition to clean transportation, including changing how to fund transportation investments and shifting away from fossil fuels.   One key solution Climate Solutions has championed is a Clean Fuel Standard as it would require low carbon fuels including electricity.  West coast jurisdictions of California, Oregon and British Columbia already have Clean Fuel Standard policies to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation pollution. Clean Fuel Standards work by requiring oil refineries and importers to reduce the carbon intensity of their fuels, providing more low-carbon fuels and electricity to fuel our transportation system.  Leading public health organizations like the American Lung Association see a Clean Fuel Standard as one of the most important ways to improve public health and transition our transportation to cleaner sources. A recent study found that California’s Clean Fuel Standard could save $8.3 billion in avoided public health costs by 2025 because of fewer asthma attacks and hospitalizations, lower rates of lung cancer and heart attacks, and thousands of fewer lost workdays. Governor Brown recently doubled the Clean Fuel Standard in Oregon. Washington does not have a Clean Fuel Standard, and a similar policy in Washington could lead to the same public health benefits by cleaning up our air.

In addition to statewide policy solutions, we are working with local governments, transit districts, and utility providers to equitably accelerate transportation electrification by adopting medium and heavy duty zero-emission regulations, building more publicly accessible and affordable charging stations, promoting financial incentives for individual and fleet EV purchases, supporting transportation options and programs that are inclusive to community needs, encouraging transit agencies to buy zero-emission electric buses, and working in coalition to advocate for a clean and just transportation system.

 

Ten reasons Oregon needs clean fuels

The short answer: clean fuels will grow our regional economy, clean our air, and increase consumer choices. Here are ten almost-as-short answers.

Clean Fuel Standard: a solution for pollution

With nearly half of all carbon pollution coming from truck and car tailpipes, Big Oil is running out of reasons to maintain its monopoly on our roads.

Mt. Hood

One step closer

Oregon is on the cusp of implementing this powerful program. Now it’s up to the Oregon House to act.

KC Golden at Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup hearing - 2013

Oil companies want you to skip this

Oil companies think they can pollute our planet and our politics while leaving us no choice. Together, we can prove them wrong.  

"The Oregon Pioneer" atop the Oregon State Capitol

Testify! Oregon businesses, health advocates call for clean fuels

Better jobs, cleaner air, more choices: business and health leaders testify in support of Oregon's Clean Fuels Program.

Clean Fuel plan offers WA a triple win for climate, health and prosperity

Washington's Department of Ecology issued a draft Clean Fuel Standard this week. If a program here mirrors successes in other states, it will be a great boost for our clean energy economy, public health, and the climate.

EV charging station

Keep the wheels turning for Oregon’s clean economy

On February 2, the first day of the Oregon Legislature, the Senate Environment & Natural Resources committee will address clean fuels for our state’s transportation sector, a sector that is wel

Jim Houser - Hawthorne Auto Body

Oregon mechanic: clean fuels key to our future

Air quality, climate stability, and a better quality of life: Portland-based auto mechanic Jim Houser makes the case for clean fuels in Oregon.

ClimateCast Logo over Peabody Energy stock chart

Cheap crude hurts oil firms; clean energy unscathed

Germany stays on target in its transition to clean energy, U.S. poll shows half of Republicans and vast majorities of others want climate action, Peabody coal slashes its dividend, and more news of the week in clean energy solutions.

Solar installation near Oregon capitol

Super session in Salem starts today

Working together, we can make sure Oregon seizes the day. Here’s a rundown of several priorities and upcoming events in 2015.

The Seattle Go Green! Conference

The 7th annual GoGreen Seattle Conference, is a one-day, interactive learning experience featuring tactical how-tos, a solutions-centered deep dive into new ways of thinking, and a showcase of regional business leaders and their success stories. With a distinct platform of bringing together leaders from across industries, GoGreen builds viable networks and cross-pollinates sustainability best practices throughout the regional business community. 

From the Pacific to Paris and back

The Paris Agreement sets the stage for the immediate future of coordinated, international climate action. Much of the actual progress will depend on local and regional action; every Northwest oil terminal abandoned, ton of coal left in ground, and solar panel installed, fuels the ambition of the U.S., Canada, and therefore countries around the world to meet and exceed our carbon-reduction goals. 

 

Read More

Climate Change in the Context of the World Environmental Crisis

The Climate Action Team of University Unitarian Church is presenting a series of distinguished lecturers talking about how climate change will affect us locally, globally, and spiritually. On the first Tuesday of every month from October, 2015, through April, 2016, we will have the opportunity to hear an expert discussing a different aspect of climate change in our present and our future.

Oil versus Optimism

Tough legislative sessions in Washington and Oregon are over. But we, together with an inspiring coalition, are just getting started.

Read More

Oregon's curvy road toward clean energy

The 2015 Oregon legislative session concluded last week, and the outcomes for climate were decidedly mixed. With a clear win on clean fuels, there remains much to do to help transition our state from fossil fuels to clean energy.

Read More