On Tuesday night, something amazing happened in Washington's third largest city: Tacoma went further than any other city in the state to commit to comprehensive climate policy action on a large scale.
The Tacoma City Council voted unanimously to endorse an agenda that demands the end of fossil fuels in the electricity sector, expanded energy efficiency, a clean fuels program, transportation electrification designed to benefit residents at all income levels including those most impacted by air pollution, and the creation of a price on carbon pollution. The council also voted unanimously to endorse I-1631, Washington’s Clean Air and Clean Energy initiative. They repealed a previous position that opposed switching away from fossil gas for heating, and called for deployment of clean electric heat pumps instead. As well, they centered strategies that reduce reliance on cars as a critical pathway for defeating climate change.
This is our recipe for advancing an equitable clean energy future—we need to accelerate progress towards 100% clean energy by ending our reliance on fossil fuels in the electricity sector, electrifying just about everything, and expanding our use of clean fuels to move the rest beyond oil.
Local governments have major opportunities (and a major responsibility) to act on climate. Cities are home to 70% of global greenhouse gas pollution, and so they must lead the charge in cutting those dangerous emissions, especially through planning and investments that support low-carbon mobility like transit, biking and walking.
Often, however, cities and counties' clean energy aspirations are subject to the whims of utilities and state laws—there are many sources of pollution local communities just can’t reach. That's why it's such a big deal when cities commit to demand action of state legislatures and Congress. Tacoma now joins a number of Washington cities—Edmonds, Bellingham, Whatcom County and Spokane—in demanding entirely clean power, along with a list of other ambitious policies intended to end the grip of Big Oil and their fossil fuel cronies. Tacoma has gone even further, adopting the most ambitious and comprehensive policy agenda of any city in the State of Washington, and among the best anywhere in the country.
The people of Washington are demanding action. Will our legislature answer their call?