State of Washington Ready to Lead on Climate

This year Washington state is poised to take several decisive steps to confront climate change. After years of political gridlock and aggressive pushes by fossil fuel companies to block clean energy, the 2019 legislature appears close to passing a suite of bills to support clean energy and confront climate-change causing pollution. But time is running out and the legislature must act quickly to pass these bills now before the session ends. Here are the five bills NRDC most wants to see pass:

100% Clean energy (SB5116)

Washington has the chance to match the strongest clean energy standards in the nation, by moving aggressively toward 100 percent clean electricity in 2045. Phasing out coal entirely, and transitioning to a grid powered by solar, wind and new technologies will cut global warming pollution and build our burgeoning clean energy economy.

Cleaner fuels for cars (HB1110)

Fossil fuels burned for transportation create about half of all of Washington’s carbon emissions; while diesel and gasoline are the single largest source of air pollution in the state—which contribute to asthma, lung cancer and other public health challenges. Setting a Clean Fuels standard will require oil refiners to reduce the carbon intensity of the fuels they produce by 10 percent in 2028, and 20 percent by 2035—which will help drive us toward new transportation solutions powered by clean energy, and produce new, cleaner fuel alternatives.

More Electric car options (SB5811)

In addition to making fuels cleaner, consumers need more clean vehicle choices. This initiative will require auto manufacturers to increase the percentage of zero emissions vehicles in Washington. States that have this requirement get new technology and the cleanest cars first.

Stop super pollutants (HB1112)

While the Trump Administration tries to abandon our long-standing global commitments, Washington can help lead the way on climate action by adopting rules to replace super-pollutants like hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)—powerful climate-changing gases that have adverse impacts on human health and the environment. HFCs are the fastest-growing climate-changing pollutants and are used in materials like refrigerants, insulation and solvents. Transitioning to more environmentally friendly alternatives will have near-term climate impacts and help support domestic manufacturing jobs.  

Cleaner, more comfortable buildings HB1257

In order to meet our climate goals, Washington needs to ramp down emissions from buildings—which have increased 50 percent since 1990. Clean Buildings for Washington will help us lead the way, by improving the efficiency of existing buildings, promoting innovation in new buildings, and requiring that utilities account for carbon costs and establish efficiency targets for natural gas. 

Passing these bills and sending them to Governor Inslee’s desk for signature, would be a welcome sign from Washington’s legislature that they are ready to meet the climate challenge. Let’s not allow the polluter agenda being pushed by Trump and his allies succeed in the state of Washington.  

About the Authors

Noah Long

Director, Western Region, Climate & Clean Energy Program

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