I-1631: Coming together to protect Washington and a healthy future
May 2, 2018

Climate Solutions has a vision for the Northwest: that our region can be the first in the nation to have a 100% clean electrical grid, meaning that all of our energy will be powered by highly efficient and clean sources of energy such as wind and solar. In addition, we can leverage that clean grid to rapidly accelerate the electrification of our transportation systems and our buildings. More electric cars, more electric buses.  

A 100% clean energy future is within reach—we just need to collectively stretch our hands toward it to realize how close. And while getting there will take more than just policy, the action of local, state and national governments is an indispensable tool in getting us where we need to go.

Right now, the people of Washington have the opportunity to qualify for the ballot one of the most ambitious, effective and far reaching policies to tackle climate change and move us dramatically forward on the path to 100% clean energy.

Initiative 1631, the Protect Washington Act, is a robust policy to address climate change—both fighting to prevent it and to prepare our state for its inevitable impacts.   

Climate Solutions has worked as part of the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy to create something new, wonderful and significant--a broad, inclusive policy that takes on our climate challenge with urgency. The Alliance, in partnership with many others, drafted the policy, and the result is a proposal that—from day one—considers the needs of the most vulnerable members of our society, and makes sure that the clean energy transition is for them too, not just for those who can afford it or who already have power.

We, all of us, believe that a transition to a clean energy future isn’t just about ending pollution, it’s also an opportunity to ensure that the new energy economy shares its wealth more equitably than the fossil fueled economic oligarchy we’re trying to leave behind. We believe that by joining hands across perspectives and constituencies and backgrounds, we can build something durable and stronger than the entrenched big oil opposition we fully expect to take on. 

Now, the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy has joined with many others to form the Yes on 1631 coalition—one of the most diverse and inclusive coalitions that’s ever been brought together to advance the clean energy economy

We know that achieving a 40% reduction in Washington climate pollution by 2035 will create over 40,000 jobs in this state. The State of Washington has found that if we cut our pollution by 80% by 2050, Washington households will save $7 billion a year in energy costs. That driving a mile on gasoline will cost you three times what it will cost you to cover that distance in a zero emission vehicle. That if we end our addiction to fossil fuels, we might put a dent in public health impacts that lead to sicker and shorter lives in places like the Duwamish Valley and other disadvantaged communities across our state. That if we take seriously the threat of forest fires made worse by climate change, we can save lives and livelihoods for rural and agricultural communities that we are just not doing enough to protect right now.

I-1631, the Protect Washington Act, will do this while keeping low-income households financially whole. It will ensure that those who have borne the impacts of fossil fuel pollution also feel relief the soonest. The proposal, if adopted by the people of Washington, will be among the first in the world to put in law that our First Nations have the right to provide free, prior and informed consent to projects that impact their lands and people. It will dedicate over $600 million a year to clean energy investments, and another $300 million in projects that will make our forests and waterways resilient to impacts we know are coming.

If we hope to save a livable home for all of us, we need to aggressively pursue a swift transition to 100% clean energy. We must end the fossil fuel era that started 200 years ago and move to something sustainable. What’s startling isn’t really that conclusion, but more the consensus that has emerged around it. Numerous reports and studies from UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have pointed to this reality, and have been confirmed by, of all people, Shell Oil. Even Chevron conceded recently in a federal court that oil is causing climate change and if we hope to survive we have to get off of it right away (don’t be too surprised though—they didn’t take any responsibility. Instead, they blamed us).

Sign up to volunteer with Yes on I-1631. Tell your friends, and Vote Yes on 1631 in November. Whether you want to do it for the sake of future generations, or to protect habitats and ecosystems, or whether you do it because you know that people all around you will experience the benefits right away—we hope you’ll join us. 

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Author Bio

Vlad Gutman-Britten

Washington Director, Climate Solutions

Vlad brings varied and deep experience in policy, advocacy, and campaign politics to his work at Climate Solutions. He is responsible for guiding policy development and building an integrated communications, advocacy, and government affairs strategy to foster a clean energy economy in Washington.

Before coming to Climate Solutions, Vlad was Senior Policy Director for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, where he successfully secured tens of millions of dollars in state investment in habitat and recreation lands. He was previously a key part of issue advocacy and communications efforts for large companies, including Microsoft and GE, and before that served as AIPAC's Deputy Midwest Political Director. A veteran campaign operative, he has run congressional and state legislative campaigns and worked on races ranging from mayoral to presidential.

Vlad is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he received a degree in political science. In his free time, Vlad bikes, listens to everything from opera to folk music, and smokes whatever fish or meat fits into his smoker.