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

Clean fuels: the benefits add up

by Ben Serrurier on December 15, 2014

Instead of handing over $14 billion to Big Oil every year and paying the price for fossil fuel pollution, why don't we invest a portion of that in…

ClimateCast logo over glacier
Clean power prices drop, installations and orders up

by Seth Zuckerman on November 24, 2014

Renewable fuels advance; carbon pricing on the docket; increasing opposition to oil-drilling; China to cap coal by 2020; global warming impacts far…

Taskforce recommends carbon pricing for Washington

by Ben Serrurier on November 18, 2014

Ending polluters' free ride is the key recommendation of Governor Inslee's task force on carbon emissions.

ClimateCast logo over man installing Solar Cloth panels
New money, policies and promises for climate action

by Seth Zuckerman on November 17, 2014

Reverberations of the U.S.-China climate commitments keep echoing, federal clean energy fund turns a profit, lightweight solar panels you can unroll…

ClimateCast logo over map of US being flooded
Few bright spots for climate in midterm election results

by Seth Zuckerman on November 10, 2014

A few victories soften the blow of an otherwise painful midterm election, Oregon NGO cleanses its portfolio of fossil fuels, Brazil attracts cheap…

ClimateCast Logo over solar trainee
Carbon pricing gets a boost

by Seth Zuckerman on October 6, 2014

Gov. Inslee floats a carbon tax as a solution to the state’s education funding problem, a coal mine sells for $2, mayors announce a nationwide…

Climate action now: Let's keep making history!

by Alex Epstein on October 6, 2014

After last month's giant climate marches, it's time to make sure the Northwest continues to lead the country towards a clean energy future. Add your…

ClimateCast Logo over viperfish
Renewable standards turn out to be a bargain

by Seth Zuckerman on June 16, 2014

The surprising role of deep-sea fishes in sequestering carbon, Tesla opens up its patents, Volkswagen brings a 260-mpg car to market, and much more.

ClimateCast Logo over Indian solar panel
Switch sooner, save sooner

by Seth Zuckerman on May 19, 2014

In this week's ClimateCast: A Republican mayor pushes for a net-zero energy code, insurers place their bets on climate risk,  rooftop solar makes…

States of denial meet states of change

by Beth Doglio on May 14, 2014

This week's Years of Living Dangerously underscored the dangers we will increasingly face in the age of climate consequences--and the importance of…

ClimateCast Logo over Pteropod
Europeans see financial risk in fossil fuels

by Seth Zuckerman on May 5, 2014

In this week’s ClimateCast: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announces climate plan, New York utilities rethink their business model, pteropods succumbing…

Inslee's bold climate initative: The Right Time, the Right Place, the Right People

by Gregg Small on April 29, 2014

On April 29, Washington Governor Jay Inslee's Executive Order on climate change marked a big leap forward for West Coast climate leadership.

Washington should continue to build on our success with renewable energy

by Jessica Finn Coven on January 30, 2014

Washington State has made great strides in clean energy, energy efficiency, and energy independence. But some legislators want to slow or reverse…

Olympia 2014: Let’s maintain support for a clean energy future

by Ben Serrurier on January 16, 2014

And they’re off! Monday marked the official start of the 2014 Washington State legislative session. Here's a preview of how Climate Solutions will be…

Clean Energy Wins in Double Legislative Overtime

by Jessica Finn Coven on July 1, 2013

While much of the media attention of the state legislature session focused on the near government shutdown and the bu

2016 Western Washington Solutions Summit

The 2016 Western Washington Solutions Summit hosted by the Washington Policy Center will convene over 600 policymakers, business owners, community leaders and concerned citizens to discuss solutions to our state’s most pressing issues, we are sure to have another informative and high-quality event in 2016. 

This event combines center-specific events into a half-day policy conference in Bellevue - with two keynote presentations from Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal and former Louisana Governor & presidential candidate Bobby Jindal.

WWU 2016 Energy Symposium

On April 19, 2016 the Western Washington University Institute for Energy Studies will be holding its first Energy Symposium.  Students, faculty, and invited experts in the field of energy will be joining together on Western's campus for presentations, lively panel discussions, student poster sessions, and networking. Space is limited. Register now.