2018 Highlights and Accomplishments

Climate Solutions worked hard throughout 2018 to make sure the Pacific Northwest is on a path to achieving a rapid, just transition to 100% Clean Energy.

Policy leadership in the 2018 Legislative Sessions  – With the Renew Oregon coalition, we built incredible momentum in 2018 for a Clean Energy Jobs bill that will be a major step toward transitioning Oregon to clean energy – by putting a hard limit on the largest sources of climate emissions, investing in clean energy solutions across the state, and supporting the communities most affected by climate change. After developing the program over many years, we now have commitments from legislative leadership and the Governor to finally pass Clean Energy Jobs in 2019.  In Washington, Climate Solutions actively led coalition efforts to advance strong climate policy in the 2018 session, including advocating for support for 100% fossil free electricity and a clean fuel standard as well as Governor Inslee’s carbon tax.  While lawmakers were not able to pass major climate and clean energy policies this session given more needed groundwork to be done ahead of the 2019 session, they did take a number of meaningful smaller steps in funding for clean energy, transportation electrification, efficiency, renewables, and grid modernization.  

Accelerating the transition to electric buses - Climate Solutions worked with the King County Council and key staff from King County Metro, the WA Department of Transportation, and the Executive Office to promote electrifying the county’s bus fleet. King County now plans to purchase 120 electric buses and phase out all fossil fuel vehicle purchases. It’s the largest such commitment in the United States, and serves as a model of practical zero-emissions transportation for other jurisdictions in the Northwest.

Climate Solutions worked with TriMet, the Portland metro region’s transit agency, to secure a commitment in September to transition to 100% diesel-free buses by 2040. Under the 2018 TriMet Non-Diesel Plan, the agency will buy 80 electric buses in the first 5 years and prioritize routes through low-income neighborhoods that bear disproportionate burdens of air pollution. Transportation makes up nearly 40% of Oregon’s climate emissions and TriMet is Oregon’s largest purchaser of diesel fuel, so TriMet’s move toward zero emission electric buses is a significant step for cleaner air, better health, and reduced climate pollution.

100% Clean Energy commitments - While the federal government has been embroiled in legal battles around environmental rollbacks, the Pacific Northwest continues to move forward towards 100% clean energy. We have helped the City of Portland and Multnomah County follow through on implementing their groundbreaking commitments to 100% clean energy, making a real difference for our climate and communities. The city and county’s resolutions have shifted major utility decisions towards clean energy, encouraged plans to generate renewable energy locally, and are inspiring other communities to follow suit.

Engaging the Electorate on Climate and Clean Energy at the Ballot

In Washington, Climate Solutions was an active member in the largest and most diverse coalitions in state history to working to pass Initiative 1631 on the statewide ballot this November.   If passed, it would have invested $1 billion n in clean energy, healthy forests and local job creation through a fee on the state’s worst polluters.  The oil industry spent a record-breaking $31 million against the initiative, and buying an outcome with I-1631 not passing the ballot.  Over 400 organizations including a majority of labor unions, communities of color, conservation groups, tribal nations, businesses large and small, health professionals, faith communities supported I-1631 and Climate Solutions worked closely with many from crafting the policy, signature gathering, fundraising, media outreach, volunteer recruitment and in person and online voter outreach.   The coalition and volunteers are ready to keep building a strong movement for meaningful climate action. 

In Oregon, we also supported the Portland Clean Energy Initiative, which voters passed in November, to support clean energy investments in organizations representing communities of color and low-income communities – a needed step on the path to achieving 100% clean in Portland.

100% clean energy at the local level - Cities across the Northwest have followed Portland and Multnomah County’s 100% clean energy lead. In 2018, Climate Solutions worked with several cities on 100% clean policies that can serve as models to be adapted by other communities. We provided model policy language to King County organizers and city officials, as well as to Eastern Washington communities including Spokane and Wenatchee. In June, Bellingham, WA adopted a 100% clean energy resolution, and Spokane, WA formally adopted 100% clean goals in August. Our model policy formed the basis of cooperative work with the City of Tacoma, WA. In October, Tacoma went further than any other city in Washington to commit to comprehensive climate policy action on a large scale. 

100% Clean for PNW - Climate Solutions is building a powerful political movement in the Pacific Northwest aligned to win a rapid and just transition to 100% Clean Energy. In Spring 2018, we worked with partner group Purpose to  launch a new “100% Clean for PNW” platform (www.100forpnw.org) to inspire more people to get involved, and helped produce a “100% Clean is 100% Possible” video on how the Northwest can become the first U.S. region to achieve 100% clean energy.

100% Fossil Free is Within Reach –Climate Solutions commissioned new research identifying pathways to phase out fossil fuels from our power sector in our region.  In September we released the resulting report, Within Reach: The Path to 100% Fossil-Free Electricity in the Pacific Northwest, which takes a deeper look at how Oregon and Washington can make an affordable, timely, and reliable transition to 100% clean energy by phasing out coal and gas and investing in renewable energy, energy storage, and energy efficiency. With the release timed at the start of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, we briefed reporters and editors and are continuing to host a series of briefings and webinars to help local officials, nonprofits, and other partners understand the results of our research and how practical and achievable a transition to 100% clean energy can be for their communities.

Networking local elected officials for clean energy - Climate Solutions leveraged our statewide expertise and resources to support local efforts by creating a network of city leaders that can share lessons and learn from one another. At a February gathering of the Association of Washington Cities, the Washington Clean Energy Climate Leaders network was born. This fall, two of the local elected leaders from Yakima and Tacoma garnered an op-ed in the Tacoma Weekly about the need for more city council members across the state to lead on climate. The Oregon Climate Cities network, founded in 2017, has continued to grow, with elected officials showing a hunger for state and local clean energy strategies at the League of Oregon Cities conference. These networks connect leaders across each state and provide them with information to help transition their communities to a clean energy future.

Grassroots support for 100% Clean in Washington – In addition to our work with local elected officials, Climate Solutions helps build grassroots community support for climate action. In 2018, Climate Solutions invested in deep organizing and community partnerships in Tacoma and East King County, with Audubon Washington and other partner doing additional work in the South King County cities of Auburn and Kent. In East King County communities such as Kirkland and Mercer Island, Climate Solutions worked with a newly formed grassroots network called People for Climate Action, advocating for city elected officials to adopt strong climate action plans. In Tacoma, Climate Solutions has started to cultivate partnerships  with local grassroots organizations  including Fuse Washington, and Citizens for a Healthy Bay to build support for local grassroots climate efforts   while building a constituency for state-level action.

Stopping coal export and oil transport – In 2018, the Power Past Coal and Stand Up to Oil campaigns continued to aggressively and successfully resist fossil fuel industry plans for expansion in the Northwest. Together with our partners we’ve generated unprecedented levels of public participation and advocacy. Because of our collective organizing, policy efforts, and legal work, several fossil fuel proposals were withdrawn and local efforts to block new fossil fuel infrastructure have gained traction. In January, WA Governor Jay Inslee rejected the permit for the largest oil-by-rail facility in the United States, proposed by Tesoro-Savage in Vancouver, WA. The administration determined that the project poses unacceptable risks to the health, safety, and sustainability of communities throughout the Northwest. The decision was a major victory for our region.

Celebrating 20 years - 2018 marks Climate Solutions’ 20th Anniversary, and we are excited to celebrate two decades of Northwest leadership on climate and clean energy as we move into a critical new stage in the movement for solutions.

At our 20th Annual Reception & 20th Anniversary Celebration in Olympia (April 19), we honored the founding of Climate Solutions and those who have been instrumental in shaping the organization over the past two decades. Climate Solutions was formed in 1998 when the Olympia, WA-based Atmosphere Alliance, founded by Rhys Roth, joined forces with the local Energy Outreach Center, led by Paul Horton. At the event, we presented our two co-founders with the Sam Garst Climate Champion Award and joined them for a lively discussion with a packed house of Climate Solutions’ friends and supporters.

At our 10th Annual Breakfast & 20th Anniversary Celebration in Seattle (May 9), we welcomed keynote speaker Gina McCarthy, former Administrator of the EPA and Director of Harvard Chan Center for Health and the Global Environment, who shared her scathing critique of the current federal administration and a fierce message of resistance and hope for the future, highlighting how regions like the Pacific Northwest continue to lead and clean energy is winning. Tonight, at our 10th Annual Dinner & 20th Anniversary Celebration in Portland (Nov. 29), we welcome keynote speaker and renewable energy visionary Hal Harvey, CEO of Energy Innovation.


2015 Highlights and Accomplishments

Leading the West Coast on Climate and Clean Energy Policy

Regional Leadership

  • Climate Solutions continued to play a key leadership role in each of our region’s top campaigns and across state lines, providing strategic leadership, field organizing, business engagement, and communications leadership to Renew Oregon and the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, the Power Past Coal and Stand Up to Oil coalitions, and several business-led networks working on climate change.
  • Climate Solutions’ Business Partnerships Program continued to catalyze Northwest business leadership for climate action by supporting the Oregon and Washington Business for Climate Action groups, businesses calling for state action on energy efficiency, investment in cleaner fuels, advancing renewable energy, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • In Oregon, we helped bring more than 450 signatories to the Oregon Business Climate Declaration. In Washington, more than 250 companies have now signed the Washington Business Climate Declaration. Climate Solutions hosted briefings and roundtables with top business leaders in both Oregon and Washington on state climate and energy policy, fossil fuel financing, clean tech, and other regional models for climate and energy policy.

Oregon Leadership

  • Climate Solutions and our nonprofit partners and allies fought hard to win implementation of the Oregon
  • Clean Fuels Program, ending the oil industry’s monopoly on fuel choices in Oregon, improving public
  • health, and reducing climate pollution.
  • With Renew Oregon, we have helped launch the largest climate campaign in Oregon history. Incredibly
  • diverse coalitions of communities of color, labor, faith, health and hundreds of businesses and community
  • organizations support our plans to advance statewide climate efforts to account for the cost of carbon
  • pollution that would have impact well beyond our borders.
  • Renew Oregon has filed citizen initiatives to transition coal out of Oregon’s fuel supply by 2030, and to
  • double the percentage of our power derived from clean renewable resources by 2040.

Washington Leadership

  • During the Washington State Legislative session, Climate Solutions organized hundreds of people and many leading business leaders to testify in support of Governor Inslee’s Carbon Pollution Accountability Act. Supporting businesses included Virginia Mason, REI, Vulcan, and EDF Renewables.
  • Through Climate Solutions’ work with the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy we helped manage and recruit over 140 supporting organizations across the state and recruited more than 50 individual Climate Captains to coordinate for climate action.
  • With the Alliance, we organized several listening sessions, including events in Spokane and Bellevue, WA to engage labor and environmental stakeholders in a conversation about climate in their community.
  • We led the formation and rapid growth of the Washington BlueGreen Alliance, co-chaired by Climate Solutions’ KC Golden and State Labor Council President Jeff Johnson.
  • On July 28, 2015 Governor Inslee announced that his administration will use its full authority under the Clean Air Act to enforce existing limits on carbon pollution. Climate Solutions worked closely with the Governor’s office in 2015 to support this rulemaking and worked to ensure that Washington has effective and equitable climate policies.

Advancing Solutions for a Low-Carbon Future


New Energy Cities

  • In 2015, Climate Solutions worked closely with the King County-Cities Climate Collaboration (K4C), a voluntary coalition of King County, WA and 13 cities united in their goal to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030, as well as with the city of Tukwila, WA, on strategies to reduce fossil fuel consumption.
  • Climate Solutions produced three papers related to city-led clean energy innovation: the white paper Revolution Required: Meeting Current and Future Energy Challenges; a briefing paper on Breaking Barriers to Deep Residential Energy Efficiency; and The Urban Clean Energy Revolution.
  • New Energy Cities’ work with cities went global in 2015, including a presentation to a Finnish delegation; contributions to the US Climate Action Network’s Paris Opportunity Package; and a presentation at the Kühne Logistics Universität in Hamburg, Germany on how cities are meeting their energy challenges with clean energy solutions.

Sustainable Advanced Fuels

  • Climate Solutions organized a panel discussion for the Green Fleets Conference in Portland on the benefits to fleets of clean fuels and government policies mandating a reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels.
  • In October, Climate Solutions released Toward Sustainable Aviation: A Primer and State of the Industry, which details advances in the sustainable aviation fuels industry, and Moving Beyond Oil, a fact sheet ab out how to reduce oil use.

Building the Power of the Climate and Clean Energy Movement

  • We played a pivotal role in the Shell No campaign in Seattle, recruiting people to testify at Port meetings, working on the legal challenges, and bringing community leaders voices into the debate.
  • Climate Solutions continued to play a leadership role in the ever-growing Power Past Coal coalition to stop coal exports off the West Coast. As government agencies completed studies for public review in late 2015, we supported work throughout the region to continue educating the public about the impacts of coal transport hrough our region through workshops, earned media, and partnership work.
  • We deepened our relationship with our tribal partners working with the Lummi Nation on a series of events this year. As part of our Power Past Coal campaign, over 27,000 people commented in solidarity of the Lummi Nation asking for the Army Corps of Engineers to deny the permit for Cherry point based on violation of their treaty rights.
  • We joined the Stand Up to Oil campaign, leading its field campaign. We helped recruit thousands of Washington residents to attend hearings and public meetings in Grays Harbor, Clark County and Skagit County.
  • We led the successful effort to push the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a full environmental review of the proposed Tesoro Savage terminal in Vancouver, WA. Together with partner organizations,
  • We delivered 20,000 comments and mobilized support from key public officials, including US Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).
  • To move coal from Montana to ports in the Northwest, a connector railroad line – the proposed Tongue River Railroad – would need to be built to get the coal to the main rail line. The Power Past Coal campaign is engaged in the public processes with the goal of stopping these developments. We submitted 122,000 comments saying no to the Tongue River Railroad.

Raising Our Profile and Building Organizational Strength

Successful Signature Events

  • At our 17th Annual Reception in Olympia, WA, we honored the Lummi Nation for their heroic leadership in our region’s fossil fuel resistance movement, with our Sam Garst Climate Champion Award. 
  • In May 2015, we held our first ever “Week of Climate Champions” fund drive and met our audacious goal of raising $500,000 in five days to support our work for strong climate action. The week-long fundraising campaign included our Annual Breakfast; a generous donor also helped make our success possible with a $150,000 challenge grant.
  • Our 7th Annual Breakfast on May 4th featured Mindy S. Lubber, President of Ceres, who discussed the role of business in protecting the global environment, and the responsibility of business leaders to not only talk about climate change but also to advocate for specific policies. She announced that Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), a project of Ceres, officially endorsed both Washington’s Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy and Renew Oregon.

Donor Appreciation

  • Our 350 Club major donor appreciation receptions and telephone briefings gave Climate Solutions’ supporters opportunities to learn in greater depth about the problems and solutions we are working on, and the opportunity to hear directly from experts and compelling speakers.

Building Organizational Strength

  • We created an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion workgroup, performed an organizational assessment, and began a process of more formally incorporating an analysis of racial oppression into our work.
  • We grew our board of directors and welcomed new board members Nicole Vallestero Keenan, Director of the Fair Work Center in Seattle; Hanson Hosein, Director of the University of Washington’s Communication Leadership graduate program and President of HRH Media Group; and Lavinia Gordon, former Transportation Systems Groups Manager with the City of Portland.

Communicating What's at Stake

  • Climate Solutions helped pitch and shape media coverage during the legislative sessions in Oregon and Washington. We played a leading role with several rounds of rapid response to breaking policy and campaign news, as well as garnering stories to expose the oil industry’s influence in the legislative process.
  • Climate Solutions’ communications team worked with several coalition partners to develop a message guide for the West Coast Climate Campaign, including best leading messages, opposition pivot points, and stories. We also worked closely with partners to echo the launch of both Renew Oregon and the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy and maximize media outreach with those campaign efforts.
  • ClimateCast, our curated news service of the week’s most significant developments in climate and clean energy, continued to grow in popularity. Subscriptions increased 57% in 2015 and have more than doubled since August 2014.
  • We continued building our social media reach and engagement, more than doubling our number of Facebook followers over the past year, from 8,900 to 20,000.
  • Climate Solutions continued to produce and share “Solutions Stories” of the clean energy economy happening now. 2015, highlights included “Automotivated,” on an Oregon community college training a new generation of mechanics on clean fuels and electric vehicles, and “Something good lurking in the FOG: Gresham turns waste into watts, ” on how Gresham, OR is creating energy from fats, oils, and grease (“FOG”).

2014 Highlights and Accomplishments

Leading the West Coast on climate and clean energy policy

  • Climate Solutions and our allies launched a multi-year, west coast campaign for climate and clean energy action. We will build public support for and ultimately pass strong climate policies in Washington and Oregon, creating a regional bloc spanning from California to British Columbia, and inspiring bold action across the continent.
  • We helped launch the Oregon Business Climate Declaration, now signed by more than 250 businesses calling for state action on energy efficiency, investment in cleaner fuels, advancing renewable energy, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Climate Solutions also worked with Washington business leaders to launch the Washington Business Climate Declaration, with the support of more than 125 companies. The list of businesses signing on to both states' declarations continues to grow!
  • We are building broad coalitions in support of Clean Fuels Standards in both states, garnering support from business leaders and elected officials. Our portfolio of communications tools in this effort includes the website cleanfuelsjobs.org and two online videos on the climate, heath and economic benefits of clean fuels.
  • We helped launch Protect Our Energy Future, a campaign which successfully defended Oregon’s strong Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). We also fended off a record number of attacks on Washington’s RPS.
  • Climate Solutions helped organize a series of Risky Business events in Portland and Seattle featuring former US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.

Strategic Innovation: modeling solutions for a carbon-free future

  • Partnering with the King County-Cities Climate Collaboration, our New Energy Cities (NEC) program conducted two summits with elected leaders from King County and 13 cities to adopt ambitious but achievable carbon reduction goals and a shared set of climate commitments. NEC also developed roadmaps to achieve 50 percent carbon reduction by 2030 for the cities of Shoreline, Kirkland, and Issaquah, WA.
  • Our Northwest Biocarbon Initiative created new tools to improve biocarbon and carbon cycle literacy, including a biocarbon video that conveys the role of natural carbon storage in addressing the climate crisis, and opportunities in the Pacific Northwest to advance biocarbon solutions.
  • Our Sustainable Advanced Fuels program produced an in-depth study of the rationale for developing sustainable aviation fuels in Singapore, in collaboration with Amsterdam-based SkyNRG. The program also produced a briefing paper about and conducted a briefing on the economic and environmental benefits of a clean fuels standard.
  • We launched ClimateCast: The Week in Clean Energy Solutions, a curated weekly synopsis of significant developments in climate and clean energy  (www.climatesolutions.orgclimatecast), which has attracted more than 500 email subscribers. 

Building power through the climate and clean energy movement

  • Through our Power Past Coal coalition, we mobilized more than 600 businesses, 160 elected officials, and 3,000 health professionals to call for a full and thorough review of proposed coal export terminals in Oregon and Washington. Over the course of our campaign, our grassroots base submitted more than 410,000 comments expressing concern about coal exports, and nearly 17,000 attended hearings. As a result of our collective efforts, proposals in Grays Harbor, WA; Port of St. Helens, OR; and Coos Bay, OR were all shelved.
  • Working in coalition with 115 partner groups, Climate Solutions helped lead the charge urging Governor Kitzhaber's administration to deny permits for Ambre Energy's proposed coal export facility at the Port of Morrow. Some 86 elected officials from across the region signed a letter to the Governor requesting that a key permit be denied, echoing constituents who submitted more than 20,000 emails and petition signatures, and made more than 1,200 calls. On March 8th, more than 500 Portlanders gathered in the rain to urge Governor Kitzhaber to reject the proposed project. Governor Kitzhaber held firm on the issue and the Morrow project has been halted.
  • In October, Climate Solutions and partners helped to bring more than 1,000 people to oil-train safety hearings in Olympia and Spokane, expressing concerns about climate, public health and safety issues with fossil fuel transport.

Raising our profile and building organizational strength

  • Our 6th Annual Breakfast this spring in Seattle featured keynote remarks from David Gelber, co-creator of Showtime's Years of Living Dangerously, alongside remarks from Governor Jay Inslee.  WA State Representative Joe Fitzgibbon was our special guest speaker at our Annual Reception in Olympia.
  • Our 350 Club major donor appreciation receptions and telephone briefings featured experts and compelling speakers, giving our Giving Circles an opportunity to learn in more depth about the problems and solutions Climate Solutions is working on. 2014 events included our annual “State of the Union” discussion, updates on the West Coast Climate Campaign, and a first-hand recap of the People’s Climate March.
  • Climate Solutions' Washington State Director Jessica Finn Coven was honored as one of “Four Under Forty” top clean energy leaders by the NW Energy Coalition. The Blue Green Alliance Foundation is honoring Senior Policy Advisor KC Golden with a “Right Stuff" award for his work on building the nation’s 21st century energy infrastructure.

Communicating what's at stake

  • This summer we launched a new and improved climatesolutions.org website to better highlight our campaign and program priorities. We also brought new energy to our outreach via social media channels; "likes" on our Facebook page reached 5,000 in February and are on track to pass 10,000 by the end of this year.
  • Our Solutions Stories project delivered the good news—engaging engaged new partners, offered program guidance to national groups, organized storytelling events and spreading the word about clean energy innovators in our region. Standout stories this year include A Clean Burn, Sunnyside Up!, and
  • This year, we garnered key news coverage of fossil fuel industries on the run. We generated regional and national coverage of communities on the frontlines of the battle against coal export in the Northwest, the economic uncertainty of coal, and the growing danger of oil transport by rail. Climate Solutions analysis, perspectives and voices were reflected in regional and national newspaper coverage, radio, television and documentary film.
  • We elevated our core narrative – We Can, We Must, We Will – to top audiences In 2014, we successfully placed worked hard to make sure that our voices were amplified in key regional opinion media, with information on climate impacts as well as advocacy for clean energy solutions.

2013 Highlights and Accomplishments

Leading the Northwest in Climate and Clean Energy Policy

  • ƒƒWorked with allies to successfully amend one of Oregon’s foundational climate policies – the Emissions Performance Standard – to limit any new significant commitments to coal generation by Oregon utilities.
  • ƒƒOrganized business support for Oregon’s Clean Fuels program during the legislative session. While the legislature failed to lift the sunset this year, we helped build a strong coalition in support of carbon reduction in Oregon’s transportation fuel.
  • ƒƒHelped drive adoption of the first-ever carbon emission performance standards for new power plants at the federal level. This national standard, modeled after and inspired by our ground-breaking emission performance standards in Oregon, Washington and California, effectively precludes development of new coal-fired power plants.
  • ƒƒWorked with Washington Governor Inslee to help pass his climate action bill, which will produce a plan for the state to meet its emissions reduction commitments. Generated statewide participation in the Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup (CLEW) hearings around Washington.
  • ƒƒSuccessfully advocated for $92 million dollars of investment in clean energy programs in the WA state capitol budget.
  • The very successful Jobs Now grants for public building energy-efficiency projects received $32 million, creating jobs while saving energy and money for our schools. The Clean Energy Fund is a $40 million investment to open up new capital for innovative and proven clean energy technologies across the state.

Making the Clean Energy Economy Real

  • ƒƒLaunched a broader Sustainable Advanced Fuels initiative with a strong plan to accelerate the development of sustainable, low carbon alternatives to petroleum fuels in the Northwest, with specific focus on industries that need liquid, high-energy-density fuels. Played a key role in a stakeholder process to create a roadmap for sustainable aviation biofuels for Brazil. Selected, along with SkyNRG, to conduct a focused study on the feasibility of sustainable jet fuel for Singapore.
  • ƒƒReleased “Natural Infrastructure: A Climate-Smart Solution” – a new report that takes a close look at the role natural infrastructure can play in reducing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, which we must do in addition to reducing carbon emissions, to ensure long-term climate stability.
  • ƒƒConducted New Energy City workshops with resulting action plans in Hillsboro, Oregon and Boise, Idaho. Created energy maps and carbon wedge analyses for small- to medium sized cities to help them develop sustainable energy strategies for attaining ambitious greenhouse gas emissions goals over the next 20-30 years.
  • ƒƒFacilitated dialogue among the Northwest’s most important biocarbon innovators and thought leaders. The Seattle Town Hall Enlisting Nature to Stem Climate Change featured Chad Kruger, Director of WSU’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources and Nancy Rottle, UW Associate Professor in Landscape Architecture.
  • ƒƒOrganized the 1st Northwest Biocarbon Summit, allowing the bicarbon community the opportunity to come together and advance the biocarbon leadership role for the Northwest. David R. Montgomery, McArthur grantee, University of Washington geomorphology professor, and author of Dirt: the Erosion of Civilizations, keynoted the summit.

Building the Power of the Climate and Clean Energy Movement

  • ƒƒExpanded on our work as a central player in the ever-growing Power Past Coal coalition to stop coal exports off the West Coast. We established consistent engagement on the scoping comment periods for proposed terminals at Cherry Point and Longview, generating over 124,000 comments and 165,000 comments respectively. Our coalition saw two of the proposals (both in Oregon) taken off the table, generated over 10,000 comments to OR DEQ on the proposed terminal at Boardman, saw the WA Dept. of Ecology call for a very broad review of the impacts related to the Cherry Point coal terminal if built and turned out over 3,000 people at five public hearings in the Fall of 2013.
  • ƒƒ Helped lead the effort to generate media around the declining demand for coal abroad with groups including Sightline Institute and Greenpeace, garnering news coverage in many business outlets in-region and across the country.
  • ƒƒContinued to bring business leaders across the West Coast into the clean energy policy discussion. Provided policy briefings for our business leaders network in Oregon and Washington and strengthened relationships with, and engagement from, our growing network via participation in local and regional public forums and in preparation for the 2014 legislative sessions.
  • ƒƒLed efforts to engage the military in clean economy issues and brought clean economy and military leaders together on several different occasions to share information, network, and work together to accomplish shared goals.
  • Additionally, we have engaged with military leadership in Puget Sound and Oregon to identify the best ways for cleantech companies to work with the military to explore business opportunities.
  • ƒƒGarnered key coverage of climate change and clean energy issues. In 2013, we generated top stories for our priority issues and audiences, with many national outlets covering coal export off the West Coast including Bloomberg News, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Mother Jones. Regional outlets covered the release of our Northwest Biocarbon Initiative’s report Natural Infrastructure: A Climate-Smart Solution, photo features on our Solutions Stories project, covered public hearings and press conferences. Generated timely opinions pieces on our program and policy priorities in Puget Sound Business Journal, Sustainable Business Oregon and Seattle Times.

Received recognition:

  • ƒƒRhys Roth, our co-founder and former Director of Strategic Innovation, was honored with Sustainable Path Foundation’s “Sustainability Trailblazer Award” for his impact on improving the health of our region though innovative and trailblazing efforts.
  • ƒƒSavitha Reddy Pathi, our Development Director, was selected by the Puget Sound Business Journal as one of the “40 Under 40” top non-profit or business leaders in the region.
  • ƒƒHeadlined top leadership. Tom Steyer, Co-Founder, Next Generation was featured at both our 5th Annual Breakfast in Seattle with remarks from Governor Jay Inslee and our 5th Annual Dinner in Portland with remarks from Governor John Kitzhaber. Tom is a national advocate for investing in clean energy solutions to address climate change, and he and his team are involved in our West Coast strategy. Dr. Nalini Nadkarni was featured at our Annual Reception in Olympia as we said farewell to Climate Solutions’ retiring co-founder, Rhys Roth.

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2012 Highlights and Accomplishments

Leading the Northwest in Climate and Clean Energy Policy

  • Supported Oregon Governor Kitzhaber’s strong plans for energy effciency while calling on him to be more explicit about climate and the need to continue our transition off of coal generation.Convened, coordinated and coalesced with public interest allies and the business community around the development and release of the Governor Kitzhaber’s draft 10 Year Energy Action Plan.
  • Worked with a coalition of clean energy advocates to preserve the integrity of Washington State’s Clean Energy Initiative, I-937, during the 2012 legislative session, as well as holding off other anti-climate efforts like elimination of the State Energy Office and greenhouse gas reporting program.
  • Helped drive adoption of the first-ever carbon emission performance standards for new power plants at the federal level. This national standard, modeled after and inspired by our ground-breaking emission performance standards in Oregon, Washington and California, effectively precludes development of new coal-fired power plants.
  • Advanced sustainable aviation fuels with the passage of a bill to continue the diverse stakeholder group originally convened by Climate Solutions and provide easier access to capital for producing sustainable aviation fuels in Washington. We are continuing to build support and momentum for appropriate policy at the state and federal level.
  • Helped win new national standards that will double the fuel economy of new passenger vehicles by 2025. The adoption of these national standards was part of a coordinated, long-term national strategy that included building momentum with Clean Car laws in the states, and supporting adoption of federal standards under existing administrative authority.

Making the Clean Energy Economy Real

  • Launched an ongoing program to support development of renewable and low carbon jet fuels following very strong response to the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest (SAFNW) report of 2011, and a continued support from industry, nonprofit and governmental stakeholders. We’ve gone global with our Sustainable Aviation Fuels efforts, participating in advanced biofuel “roadmapping” projects from Brazil to Scandinavia. In partnership with Boeing, Climate Solutions is engaging with other leading aviation biofuel industry development processes, sharing lessons learned and gaining new perspectives.
  • Released a new report on 34 small- to medium-sized US communities pioneering a wide range of innovative clean energy solutions. Publication of Powering the New Energy Future from the Ground Up: Profiles in City-Led Clean Energy Innovation followed an 11-month study of city-led clean energy innovation. 
  • Conducted New Energy City workshops with resulting action plans in Hillsboro, Oregon and Boise, Idaho.
  • Coordinated the Northwest Biocarbon Initiative (NBI), in partnership with several leading conservation groups, to highlight the essential role that nature can play in reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, an urgent need in addition to the rapid transition from fossil fuels. We recruited over thirty Innovation Partners who are pioneering biocarbon best practices on farmlands, forests, and in our communities, exemplifying the key principle that the best biocarbon practices have multiple benefits. Microsoft invited the NBI team to be an advisor to its program to achieve carbon neutrality in its business operations.
  • Built support across bipartisan divides for clean energy tax credits, including the federal Production Tax Credit for wind energy.

Building the Power of the Climate and Clean Energy Movement

  • Said NO to coal exports from Northwest ports. We continued our work as a central partner in the Power Past Coal effort to stop coal export off the West Coast. The proposed Grays Harbor proposal was shelved and not a single permit has been issued on the other five. We helped organize 40 Coal Hard Truth forums along the rail lines in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. More than 28 local government entities, 560 health providers, nearly 600 business leaders and 200 faith leaders have sent leaders to decision makers expressing concerns or requesting some kind of action in relation to these proposals.
  • Continued to bring business leaders across the region into the clean energy policy discussion. In Oregon, we provided briefings for business leaders on the Governor’s 10 Year Energy Plan and engaged business leaders in participating in the comment period. Additionally, we provided policy briefings for our business leaders network in both Oregon and Washington and strengthened relationships with our growing network of business leaders as preparation for the 2013 legislative sessions.
  • Led an effort to engage the military in clean economy issues and brought clean economy and military leaders together on several different occasions to share information, network, and work together to accomplish our mutual goals. Additionally, we have engaged with military leadership in Puget Sound and Oregon to identify the best ways for cleantech companies to work with the military to explore business opportunities.
  • Garnered key coverage of climate change and clean energy issues. In 2012, we generated a lot of top news stories for our priority issues, notably many national outlets covering coal export off the West Coast including TIME magazine and The Seattle Times running an opinion piece by KC Golden and former EPA Administrator Bill Ruckelshaus, and Puget Sound Business Journal running an opinion piece by Swedish Hospital’s Lee Brei and our own Ross Macfarlane. Outlets across the country and closer to home covered the release of our New Energy Cities program’s Powering the New Energy Future from the Ground Up report. Huffington Post covered mileage-based insurance and several outlets including Wall Street Journal Market Watch and Think Progress wrote about our Solutions Stories.

Received national recognition:

--KC Golden, our Policy Director, was awarded the Heinz Award for Public Policy for his lifetime achievement as a climate advocate and policy architect.

--Jabe Blumenthal, our Board co-chair, received the Microsoft Alumni Foundation Integral Fellows Award.

--Climate Solutions was selected by Guidestar’s Philanthropedia as one of the nation’s 18 high-impact nonprofits working in the field of climate change, and the only regional organization on the list.

Headlined top leadership. Our 4th Annual Breakfast in Seattle featured Lisa P. Jackson, EPA Administrator and our 4th Annual Dinner in Portland featured David Bragdon, NYC Mayor Bloomberg Administration.

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2011 Highlights and Accomplishments

Public Policy Leadership

  • Worked with a broad coalition to end the use of coal for electricity in Washington: We successfully negotiated an  agreement and legislation to phase out Washington’s only large coal-fired power plant in Centralia and were active in the direct negotiations with the plant’s owners and workers. We worked closely with the community to develop broadly endorsed transition plans and community investments.
  • Defended key financing for clean energy in Oregon:  We brought together a diverse coalition of clean-energy partners to defend clean-energy financing in Oregon and successfully preserved a key part of the Business Energy Tax Credit in the 2011 legislative session.   
  • Protected the regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act:  In Oregon we built political support for the Oregon federal delegation to defend the EPA and the Clean Air Act. In Montana, we developed historic inroads and partnerships between labor and businesses working together to protect this keystone law. We also launched a significant effort to engage Montana business leaders to submit opinion pieces to media across the state, attend public events and to call and email the state’s two senators to encourage them to remain strong.
  • Held the line on Washington’s clean-energy initiative:  We worked with a coalition of clean-energy advocates to preserve the integrity of Washington State’s Clean Energy Initiative, I-937, during the 2011 legislative session.

Making the Clean-Energy Economy Real

  • Advanced Pioneer Cities in the Northwest:  New Energy Cities’ continuing partnership with the Town of Jackson saw the town install Wyoming’s largest solar system on its wastewater treatment facility and receive over $450,000 from the local utility for its energy-saving measures. In Edmonds, WA, we helped catalyze the city to purchase four electric vehicle charging stations; host a community solar project; and launch an Energy Independence Campaign on July 4, 2011. We also helped the City of Albany, OR, monetize over $200,000 in Business Energy Tax Credits to ensure that the city’s local transit service for low-income, elderly and disabled citizens was not disrupted.
  • Partnered with multicultural businesses in the clean economy:  In partnership with the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, we hosted a successful forum for small and diverse businesses, attended by over 100 people. It focused on opportunities for leadership in the clean-energy economy and identified ways to increase participation and engagement from these kinds of businesses.  
  • Furthered investments in rural clean-energy projects:  We formed partnerships in Idaho and Montana to increase these states’ success rates in attracting Rural Energy for America Program grants from the USDA. We assisted 15 farmers and rural businesses with evaluating their opportunities to build renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Eleven went forward with application, and 100% were funded for a total of $133,000 in grants, leveraging over $500,000 in project costs.
  • Engaged rural leaders:  We organized the 11th annual Harvesting Clean Energy conference in Boise, ID, attended by over 300 ranchers, farmers, students and rural business leaders. Idaho Governor Butch Otter kicked off the conference as the keynote speaker. The panels and presenters emphasized that a wide variety of clean-energy solutions can benefit our rural communities, and that these profitable solutions bring people together across partisan and geographic divides. 
  • Mapped a flight-path for sustainable aviation fuels:  We successfully completed a major stakeholder report with Boeing, Alaska Airlines, the Ports of Portland, Seattle and Spokane, and Washington State University with recommendations for creating sustainable and practical alternatives to petroleum fuels for this critical industry segment. The report was the first of its kind in the country, and has been widely recognized as a global model for this sector.   
  • Identified the need for a second solution to climate change:  In 2011, Climate Solutions partnered with several of the Northwest’s leading conservation organizations to launch the Northwest Biocarbon Initiative. Strengthening natural systems is a second vital solution to the climate crisis, along with job #1 of phasing out fossil fuels.
  • Established a Business Leader Advisory Council:  We formed a high-level advisory council to guide our Business Partnership program and reflect the involvement of top companies and executives in our efforts. There are over 30 members in our inaugural advisory council including representatives of many of the Northwest’s top companies and most recognized clean-energy leaders such as Microsoft, Nike, Starbucks, McKinstry and Gerding Edlen. We now have over 1,100 members in our business partnership network, including close to 500 in WA, over 275 in OR and over 250 in MT.

Building the Power of the Climate and Clean Energy Movement

  • Said NO to coal exports from Northwest ports:  Climate Solutions continued its work as a central partner in the Power Past Coal effort to stop coal export off the West Coast. We forced Ambre Energy to pull their permit application for a proposed coal export facility in Longview, WA, and the coalition exposed Ambre Energy’s attempt to hide the true size of the planned facility. We also helped organize 11 Coal Hard Truth forums along the rail lines in OR and WA. All had packed houses and resulted in ongoing organizing in each of these communities. More than seven local government entities have sent letters to the Washington Governor expressing concerns or requesting some kind of action in relation to these proposals, and at least five major Northwest newspapers have raised concerns or expressed outright opposition.  
  • Showcased real solutions:  We launched the Solutions Stories project to capture and communicate stories that demonstrate the clean-energy economy happening now. Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) joined the effort as a founding sponsor, and energyNOW, America’s only television news magazine focused on energy and climate issues, agreed to be a media sponsor. We’ve produced five videos and built a story bank of 50+ story prospects. Through work with our partners, we’ve promoted the videos to over 6,000 people via email and 34,000 via social media with over 3,300 people viewing them at events. 
  • Headlined top leadership:  We hosted our 3rd Annual Breakfast, featuring a rare conversation with Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The event attracted nearly 1200 guests and was live-streamed at Grist.org.
  • Expanded our reach in the Northwest:  We strengthened our Oregon presence with new Portland-based staff and board members. 
  • Strengthened infrastructure:  Climate Solutions board and staff completed a year-long formalized strategic planning process and created a 2011-2013 Strategic Plan to guide the organization as we move forward.

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2010 Highlights and Accomplishments

Advocating for Strong Climate and Clean Energy Policy

  • Worked to build support for federal action on a climate bill:  Coordinated the campaign to ensure Northwest Senate leadership worked to pass a federal climate  and clean-energy bill. Led national groups on a “72 Hours for Clean Power” call-in with the goal of flooding the Senate with calls for immediate progress on climate legislation. Over 300,000 activists called our U.S. Senators.
  • Engaged Montana business leader support for the federal climate bill:  Organized and accompanied two delegations made up of members of Montana Business Leaders for Clean Energy and Montana electric co-ops to Washington D.C. to request Senator Baucus (D-MT) and Senator Tester’s (D-MT) support for a federal climate bill. Delivered a statewide business leader sign-on letter to our Montana Senators with over 101 business leader names asking for strong comprehensive climate and energy legislation. Since delivery,  another 150 business leaders have added their names to the letter.  
  • Increased support for energy efficiency:  Developed a campaign to support policies in Oregon that increase consumer knowledge of statewide reporting, incentives and financing for energy efficiency.  The Oregon Legislature will consider these policies in 2011.
  • Built support for clean energy financing:  Co-organized the Coalition for Clean Energy Financing to support continued state investment in clean energy in Oregon. The coalition includes clean-energy consultants, energy efficiency providers, green builders, smart grid professionals, clean car experts, mainstream businesses, and labor, forestry and environmental groups.
  • Organized local communities to oppose coal export to Asia:  Organized activists to testify at coal export hearing in Longview, Washington. Climate Solutions and the coalition garnered dozens of media hits -- the AP story ran across the country, including The Washington Post, MSN, Los Angeles Times and salon.com. As Climate Solutions Policy Director, KC Golden stated in the press: “We’ve got the specter of standing at the mouth of the Columbia River—the main artery of the Great Pacific Northwest — watching ships sailing out full of coal, passing ships sailing in full of solar panels and manufactured goods and lithium-ion batteries.” 
  • Held the line on Washington’s clean energy initiative:  Worked with a coalition of clean energy advocates to preserve the integrity of Washington State’s Clean Energy Initiative, I-937, during the 2010 legislative session.
  • Preserved financial support for wind power:  Maintained critical tax credits for wind energy projects in Washington to ensure that the state does not lose job creating clean-energy development.
  • Sparked bi-partisan support in Idaho:  Secured Senator Crapo (R-ID) as the lead signator on the Senate member letter calling for continued funding for the Rural Energy for America Program in the Farm Bill.
  • Joined fishing communities to call attention to the Gulf Disaster: Partnered with people in Louisiana, Alaska and the Pacific Northwest fishing industries to call attention to the impacts of oil spills on the fishing community, and the need to a federal bill to reduce our reliance on oil.

Supporting the Clean Energy Economy – Our Programs

Business Leaders for Climate Solutions

  • Continued rapid growth of our Business Leaders for Climate Solutions in Oregon and Washington and Montana Business Leaders for Clean Energy networks to nearly 1000 businesses, executives, investors and entrepreneurs. 
  • We successfully engaged key business leaders from the network in meetings with federal and state legislators, writing op-eds, and attending press events.

Harvesting Clean Energy

  • Launched new partnerships in Idaho and Montana to increase these states’ success rates in attracting “Rural Energy for America Program” grants from the USDA to build renewable energy and energyefficiency projects benefiting farms and rural businesses.
  • Organized the 10th Harvesting Clean Energy conference in Kennewick, WA. The conference emphasized that a wide variety of clean energy solutions can benefit our rural communities and that these profitable solutions bring people together across partisan and geographic divides. 

New Energy Cities

  • Held workshops around the region including in Albany and Salem, Oregon.
  • With the Jackson Hole Energy Sustainability Project, created a first-in-the-nation partnership among a town, county and a utility that resulted in a successful $3,800,000 tax passed by public vote to pay for energy efficiency retrofits for public buildings.
  • Produced a widely disseminated how-to guide for cities on financing clean energy programs called“Energizing Cities: New Models for Driving Clean Energy Investment.” 

Sustainable Aviation Biofuels

  • At the request of regional leaders in the aviation industry, we are facilitating a stakeholder process to develop strategies to create renewable and sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels for air travel.

Northwest Regional Biocarbon Initiative

  • Led a groundbreaking project in partnership with Bullitt Foundation and key environmental NGOs aimed at building a globally significant model for advancing biological carbon sequestration as a vital climate stabilization strategy – with a key focus on forest and agriculture lands and on the bio-economy.

Expanding Our Reach

  • Organized two successful annual events: Over 1,000 guests attended our 2nd Annual Seattle Breakfast keynoted by Van Jones, and over 400 guests attended our 2nd Annual Oregon Dinner keynoted by KC Golden. This is nearly double the attendance from our inaugural events last year.
  • Launched the 350 Donor Club Network: Held our first 350 Club major donor reception at the penthouse suite at the top of the Smith Tower in Seattle.  The new dean at the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, Lisa Graumlich, was our featured speaker.
  • Named “Best of the Decade in Green Living” by Seattle Magazine.

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2009 Highlights and Accomplishments

  • Built a Montana Business Leaders for Clean Energy coalition in January 2009 that has grown to include over 200 Montana business and agricultural leaders who are mobilized to promote strong climate policies.
  • Led the coalition in Washington State to advocate for House Bill 2227, building off the green jobs training program Climate Solutions pioneered in 2008.
  • Launched Oregon’s Healthy Climate Partnership to advocate for a variety of bills, including a low carbon fuel standard, energy and building codes and financing for clean energy.
  • Partnered with the Idaho Farm Bureau and USDA Idaho to increase the flow and quality of Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants to Idaho’s rural communities.
  • Launched New Energy Cities with workshops in Jackson Hole, WY; Spokane, WA; Albany, OR; and Salem, OR. New Energy Cities helps Northwest cities transition to a clean, renewable, efficient energy system
  • Organized the Rally for the Climate, Clean Energy Jobs, and Clean Air, which attracted a crowd of over 2000 demonstrators to the EPA climate hearings in Seattle.
  • Coordinated the campaign to ensure Northwest congressional leadership on the landmark American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES).
  • Received recognition as the 2009 “Outstanding Nonprofit” by Seattle Business Magazine’s 2009 Green Washington Awards.
  • Organized the “350 Day of Action” which attracted over 700 people to the Seattle Center as part of a worldwide demonstration to draw attention to the importance of 350 to avoid a climate catastrophe (350 parts per million is the level scientists have identified as the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere).
  • Partnered with veterans groups to organize a Veteran’s Day event to highlight the link between climate change and national security.
  • Delivered the strongest contingent of local officials, including WA Governor Gregoire and Seattle Mayor Nickels, to the international climate negotiations in Copenhagenand broke the logjam on the one major breakthrough in the accords: international financing for clean-energy development.

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2007-2008 Highlights and Accomplishments

  • Catalyzed the formation of the West Coast Governors Global Warming Initiative in 2003 and the Western Region Climate Action Initiative in 2007, bringing one of the world’s largest and most dynamic economies into the global campaign for solutions
  • Helped to launch the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement – launched in Seattle in partnership with Climate Solutions – has enrolled over 650 communities covering 70 million Americans in a program to embrace Kyoto Protocol targets
  • Orchestrated the passage of landmark Clean Car laws in Oregon and Washington, hailed by Gov. Gregoire as “the most significant environmental legislation in Washington State in a decade”
  • Helped to secure strong renewable energy standards in Washington, Montana and Oregon; renewable energy incentives in Idaho; and emission performance standards for power that effectively close the West Coast power market to new, conventional coal power
  • Positioned clean energy as a major economic development priority in the regionchampioned by Governors, Legislatures, investors, and economic development leaders in all four Northwest states
  • Built the Harvesting Clean Energy Network, nationally recognized as the most powerful clean energy organizing model for rural America. This program served as the model for Ag-Energy coalitions in three other major U.S. regions.
  • Provided research, analytical, and organizational leadership for the emergence of “Smart Grid” technologies and businesses – infusing information and communications technology to the electric grid to enable a much cleaner, more efficient power system
  • Lead the coalition to pass landmark Washington Climate Action and Green Jobs bill in 2008
  • Launched Business Leaders for Climate Solutions, a group of executives, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists advocating for climate policy
  • Partnered with Washington Environmental Council to launch the national 1Sky project (www.1Sky.org) and the 1Sky Washington campaign (www.1skywashington.org).  1Sky is dedicated to aggregating a massive nationwide movement by communicating a positive vision and a coherent set of national policies that rise to the scale of the climate challenge.

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