Climate action: here’s what we’ve done so far
When Washington D.C. fails, Washington state leads.
Gov. Jay Inslee sent out a statement yesterday on Trump’s intention to remove the U.S. from the international Paris climate agreement, saying “Washington state is leading the way on climate issues where Washington, D.C., is failing.”
Trump today announced that is indeed his intention, and shortly after, Inslee joined the governors of New York and California to announce a multi-state alliance that will make sure the inaction from D.C. is countered by an equal show of action by the states to combat carbon pollution.
Washington is well-positioned to continue leading on climate action.
In 2014 the governor issued an executive order enacting several state efforts to reduce carbon pollution and promote clean energy. Washington state’s climate actions include a first-of-its-kind cap on carbon emissions, an aggressive effort to promote EVs, and significant investments in clean energy technology through the state’s Clean Energy Fund.
The Clean Energy Fund enables a mix of projects to support development, demonstration and deployment of clean energy technologies. They save energy, reduce energy costs, reduce harmful air emissions and increase energy independence for Washington, and help strengthen communities all across the state. Clean Energy Fund projects have included the University of Washington Clean Energy Testbeds, and smart energy grid investments including the world’s largest vanadium flow batteries made in Mukilteo, enabling more renewable power into the electric grid.
Washington, Oregon, and California have worked together under the Pacific Coast Collaborative, teaming up to promote clean energy along the West Coast. Their collective work has grown the West Coast’s clean energy economy more than twice as fast as the rest of the nation.
In addition to Inslee’s ongoing involvement with the PCC, the governor has made sure Washington state establishes relationships with national and provincial governments around the world as we work together to act on climate.
Inslee signed the Under2MOU in May 2015, making Washington state a founding signatory to an agreement of states and provinces from developed and developing nations calling for reductions of greenhouse gas emissions by 80–95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
At COP 21, where the Paris climate agreement was reached in December 2015, Inslee:
- announced his Washington State Electric Vehicles Initiative
- joined as a signatory on the Compact of States & Regions, a compact that complements the Under 2 effort by providing mechanisms for members to report and track progress in a uniform way. Regions and states involved in the compact commit to reducing GHG emissions and sharing their emission reduction progress. The members of the compact represent 12.5 percent of the global economy and more than 325 million people worldwide.
In February 2016, Inslee joined 16 other governors in signing the Governors Accord for a New Energy Future, a commitment to promote clean energy, clean transportation choices, a modern electrical grid, and plan for a new energy future. The Accord provides participating governors — a bipartisan coalition together representing 127 million Americans — with a platform through which their states will collaborate, learn from one another, and leverage partnerships in energy planning and policymaking.
The governor was a founding member of the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification which launched in December 2016 and commits members to take meaningful local actions by crafting their own local or regional ocean acidification action plans.
Recently Inslee met with Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and talked about leading on climate, and on his trade mission to Mexico the governor met with President Enrique Peña Nieto. Washington has also signed agreements with France, Chile, the United Kingdom, China, Japan and Mexico.