2020: Advancing Climate Progress in Washington 

As Australia burns and Indonesia floods, as our emissions continue to increase, as the impacts and threat of climate change continue to become more real in our everyday lives, we need our legislature to accelerate our transition off fossil fuels and to the clean, sustainable economy we know is within reach.

There are numerous bills that your Climate Solutions team is working on and monitoring this session. Here are five important pieces of legislation to highlight:

Clean Fuel Standard

The single most significant carbon reducing policy the Washington Legislature is considering this year is the Clean Fuel Standard. The policy passed the House in 2019 and didn’t make it through the Senate. The Standard would reduce approximately 6 million tons of climate pollution per year by 2035, and would help deploy as many as 700,000 electric cars, trucks and buses by 2030 according to an analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Washington is the last jurisdiction on the West Coast without such a program—British Columbia, Oregon, and California have been reaping the benefits of clean fuels deployment for years.

In addition to its climate benefits, the transition off fossil fuels spurred by the Clean Fuel Standard will improve public health and quality of life throughout Washington. Transportation fossil fuels dump into our air tons of diesel particulates, NOx, volatile organic compounds like benzene, and other dangerous chemicals; directly contributing to respiratory disease like lung cancer and asthma. The potential to cut this pollution is the reason that medical organizations such as the Washington State Medical Association, the Washington Academy of Family Physicians, the American Lung Association, the Washington State Nurses Association and others have identified the Clean Fuel Standard as a legislative priority this year.

Consumer Choice for Fossil-Free Homes

Washington’s shareholder-owned electric utilities are currently allowed to provide financial help to their customers to purchase new clean, electric heat pumps and water heaters. Unfortunately, our customer-owned utilities don’t have clear authority from our legislature to do the same if the utility customer currently uses fossil gas to heat their home or building. This uneven playing field locks customers into continued use of expensive and unsafe polluting heat sources—wood stoves, heating oil, and fossil gas furnaces—that contribute to poor air quality, prevent us from achieving climate goals, and are often much more expensive to operate than clean and efficient electric alternatives. Even the newest fossil gas appliances release carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and NOx into the homes of their owners, and half of homes with gas stoves that don’t have a range hood have indoor air quality that would be illegal under federal law if it happened outside.

Restoring a balance between electric utilities owned by shareholders and those owned by the public is a matter of fairness. If a customer wants to make the switch to a climate friendly, healthier, and cheaper-to-operate option, they should be able to get help from their utility no matter who owns it.

Zero Emissions Vehicle Mandate

Ten states have adopted laws that require auto manufacturers to provide electric vehicles to their residents and to achieve certain sales figures over time. Our neighbors in California, Oregon, Colorado and elsewhere have similar laws; it’s time for Washington to join the pack. Our state has some of the highest demand for EVs across the country, and our legislature has put millions of dollars into incentives, infrastructure and more. We need to make sure the auto industry does its part to help customers buy the zero emission vehicles they want.

Transportation for All

Climate Solutions will join with a range of partners to ensure that future transportation funding is climate smart and equitable. We need new progressive sources of revenue to build the system we need, we must expand our commitment to transit and help ensure that people have options outside of car reliance to get around, and we must guarantee that our revenue and spending proposals help reduce carbon, instead of our status quo reliance on fossil fuels. We’ll work with many stakeholders to set the state on sure footing with stable, growing sources of revenue dedicated to transporting people and goods in the most sustainable way possible. 

Limiting Greenhouse Gas Pollution

In 2008 Washington State adopted greenhouse gas limits. As the climate crisis has accelerated and the science has improved, we’ve learned that these levels are insufficient to achieve a stable climate system. This year, Governor Inslee supports legislation that will call for 95% emission reductions compared to 1990 levels by 2050, alongside a net-zero emissions requirement that highlights the need for natural climate solutions that pull carbon out of the air.
 
There are numerous other policies to track, including a bill requiring companies like Uber and Lyft to use more electric vehicles, community solar support, and more. We need all of this in a short time frame—will you help us? Contact your legislators and tell them you expect them to pass the Clean Fuel Standard and other critical climate legislation this year.

We have no time to lose!

Washington State Government

Can you believe it? Believe it: climate progress

by Vlad Gutman-Britten on April 27, 2021

Washington State just made history with a suite of legislative actions to address global warming pollution, the long-term need to protect communities…

Washington's Climate Commitment Act nears final passage

by Climate Solutions on April 23, 2021

The Washington House has passed the Climate Commitment Act, which would establish a firm statewide cap on global warming pollution, making WA the…

Third time's a charm for clean fuels in Washington

by Climate Solutions on April 9, 2021

A Clean Fuel Standard is one step closer to Gov. Inslee's desk, as the WA Senate passed this critical climate policy.

We're Past the Halfway Point

by Vlad Gutman-Britten on March 8, 2021

We’ve passed the halfway mark in Washington’s Legislative session. Check out our update on Climate Solutions’ top climate priorities, and where we…

Washington House accelerates clean fuels

by Climate Solutions on February 27, 2021

The heat in Olympia is now on the Senate, as the House passes a Clean Fuel Standard for the third year in a row.

Transition 2021 off to a good start

by Jonathan Lawson on January 28, 2021

"Federal climate action:" no longer an oxymoron

Why cap-and-invest? One strategy for carbon reduction

by Vlad Gutman-Britten on January 20, 2021

Climate Solutions' approach to the Climate Commitment Act, Governor Inslee’s proposed cap-and-invest system, and other systems like it

High hopes and great expectations: a political shift on climate

by Jonathan Lawson on January 15, 2021

Washington's legislative session begins. So does the Biden administration.

Cutting pollution with clean fuels: a top climate priority for Washington

by Leah Missik on January 13, 2021

Right now, Washington is a lonely outlier on the West coast: the only state that is not benefiting from a Clean Fuel Standard.

2021: Action time for climate in the Washington Legislature

by Vlad Gutman-Britten on January 8, 2021

Naysayers will claim that this is not the time for climate action in Washington, not with COVID, racial injustice, and economic recovery on the…

Here's your clean energy team for 2021

by Jonathan Lawson on December 17, 2020

Biden's climate picks bring experience, grit and a focus on environmental justice. Plus: Who the gas industry is targeting now, and climate book…

The surprising economics behind going all-electric (hint, the numbers are pretty good)

by Deepa Sivarajan on December 11, 2020

So far our blog series on clean, all-electric buildings has shown how we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and improve our health and safety,…

Climate Leaders Live: What's next for WA in 2021?

by Stephanie Noren on October 27, 2020

After you vote... join our conversation with Transportation Choices Coalition and Front & Centered to talk about what's next for climate action…

A Win for transit riders, disability community, clean air and less congestion 

by Climate Solutions on October 15, 2020

WA's Supreme Court strikes down controversial initiative that threatened transportation improvements and investments across the state 

Take the Climate Voter Pledge!

by Jonathan Lee on October 11, 2020

One of the strongest ways to address the climate crisis head-on is with your vote.

100 percent clean bus at Washington State Capitol

We're Past the Halfway Point

We’ve passed the halfway mark in Washington’s Legislative session. Check out our update on Climate Solutions’ top climate priorities, and where we need to apply pressure to make sure our lawmakers demonstrate climate leadership.
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