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

Weak winter harms Northwest economies and workers

by Ross Macfarlane on February 13, 2015

The future of Winter demands climate action now.

Clean Fuel plan offers WA a triple win for climate, health and prosperity

by Ben Serrurier on February 5, 2015

Washington's Department of Ecology issued a draft Clean Fuel Standard this week. If a program here mirrors successes in other states, it will be a…

Cheap crude hurts oil firms; clean energy unscathed

by Seth Zuckerman on February 2, 2015

Germany stays on target in its transition to clean energy, U.S. poll shows half of Republicans and vast majorities of others want climate action,…

Broad coalition calls for action on climate change in WA

by Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy on January 27, 2015

The Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, launched with a show of support for legislation to put a price on large-scale carbon emissions, brings…

Who's a polluter? This answer fails the smell test

by Ben Serrurier on January 23, 2015

State Sen. Schoesler is very concerned that UW and WSU might have to pay for their carbon emissions under the Governor's carbon reduction plan. But…

Game on for Bold Climate Action

by Elizabeth Willmott on January 23, 2015

In December 2014, 37 local elected leaders from across Washington State sent a clear statement of support for bold state action on climate change and…

How we can win: the promise of progress

by Gregg Small on January 22, 2015

2015 is shaping up to be a year of potentially significant progress on climate change and clean energy. And nowhere in our country is the promise of…

Carbon markets expand, cheap oil reshuffles deck

by Seth Zuckerman on January 20, 2015

Solar jobs up 22 percent last year, carbon market comes to South Korea, fossil-free Danish island inspires Maine utilities, and more stories of the…

Time for Local Climate Action in WA State

by Elizabeth Willmott on January 20, 2015

The 2015 Washington State Legislature gets underway in Olympia, and local officials across Washington are ready.

Carbon fee wins support, green investment up 16%

by Seth Zuckerman on January 12, 2015

Study says which fossil-fuel deposits should stay buried, Republicans back solar energy in Florida, Keystone fight emboldens opponents of other Big…

Cut carbon pollution, create clean energy jobs: Legislative priorities 2015

by Jessica Finn Coven on January 12, 2015

Climate change—and climate action—top the list of big issues before this year's Washington State Legislature. 

2014 ends–and 2015 begins–with climate action

by Ben Serrurier on December 23, 2014

2014--the year which saw the largest climate action march ever, plus victories over big coal and advances in clean energy--is coming to a close with…

Carbon price at work in CA & EU; now floated for WA

by Seth Zuckerman on December 22, 2014

Gov. Inslee’s carbon pollution fee wins praise, import tariffs split the PV industry, some car-makers bet on hydrogen fuel cells over battery EVs,…

Climate action is a matter of fairness

by Climate Solutions on December 17, 2014

Washington environmental and clean energy economy leaders respond to Governor Jay Inslee's climate action announcement, and praise the vision of a…

Let big polluters pay the price of pollution

by Jessica Finn Coven on December 17, 2014

For several years, the Northwest has opposed big coal's slew of coal export proposals. Thanks to you, we stopped four out of six. Now, we have the…

Walking together: Washington's road ahead for climate action

Washingtonians are ready for climate action. Having more voices and interests actively engaged in shaping climate action doesn’t make our task simpler, but it does make it more likely we’ll succeed. That’s an affirmation of the climate movement’s progress and a tremendously hopeful sign for the work ahead.

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Economic security is a core climate solution

Submitted by KC Golden on Tue, 10/25/2016 - 08:44

“Climate solutions” aren’t just about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We need to wage and win a clean energy revolution, to go all the way to a clean energy future.  But in an economy rife with inequality and insecurity, such a sweeping transition is hard for most folks to contemplate. 

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Washington unveils rules to reduce global warming pollution

"We appreciate Governor Inslee’s ongoing commitment to putting Washington on a path to a clean energy transition," said Climate Solutions' Vlad Gutman-Britten. "The Clean Air Rule is only the first step to creating a robust policy that drives pollution reduction and invests in creating tens of thousands of jobs in a new, sustainable economy."

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