Washington State Government

Climate Priorities for Washington State in 2019

Washington’s 2019 legislative session will present important opportunities for our state to chart a course towards a prosperous clean energy future. Because so many areas of our lives have been dependent on the fossil fuels of the past, we will adopt different strategies in order to make steady progress towards achieving 100% clean energy. Here are three paths forward we’ll be following this year:

Fossil-free electricity

A clean electric grid will play an increasingly important role in making sure Washington State reduces our global warming pollution. As we transition more of our transportation and building sector from fossil fuels to the grid, we must ensure that our homes and vehicles are powered by clean and renewable electricity. A strong 100% Clean Electricity Standard will do just that. By setting a firm deadline of 2045 for the removal of all fossil fuels from our electricity system, with strong interim milestones including phasing out coal by 2025, we’re setting our state on a path to a 100% clean energy future and ensuring that new energy demand is met with efficiency improvements and non-polluting sources of energy.

Transportation

Transportation fuels like gasoline and diesel are responsible for nearly half of our global warming pollution in Washington. They are also the largest sources of air pollution, which health professionals link directly to asthma, lung cancer, and other respiratory diseases. Lower income communities and communities of color who are often closer to major transportation corridors are even more impacted. For example, Duwamish Valley residents have a life expectancy 13 years shorter than others in King County, in part due to fossil fuel pollution. We can reduce these harms and support our regional economy by instituting a Clean Fuel Standard allowing Washington residents to choose less-polluting fuels. A Clean Fuel Standard would support increased use of affordable electric transportation, and create economic opportunities for clean fuel production in rural Washington.

Efficiency

Buildings and built infrastructure account for a fifth of Washington State’s greenhouse gas emissions. We can reduce these emissions—and our reliance on fossil fuels—through deeper investments in energy efficiency. Efficiency is our largest, cheapest, and lowest-risk energy resource, and can help us meet our increasing energy needs over the next decades, while cleaning up our whole energy system. We support enhanced, performance-based energy standards for commercial buildings, stretch building codes to enable cities to improve energy efficiency in new, residential construction, incentives for building owners to improve efficiency, and performance requirements for the companies that distribute natural gas in our state.

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