Inslee announces bold climate legislation as part of supplemental budget rollout

Gov. Jay Inslee proposed five pieces of climate legislation and a direct order to a state agency Thursday during his second day of rolling out his 2020 supplemental budget proposals.

“I am proud of the climate change progress we made in 2019,” Inslee said. “But the latest science says we have further to go before we bring emissions into a range that doesn’t threaten our economic future.

“Washingtonians deserve a choice for cleaner fuels and cleaner cars — and they’re going to get both.”

Gov. Jay Inslee announces climate change legislation in Olympia during the second day of his 2020 budget rollout. (Office of the Governor photo)

Today’s announcement follows the Washington State Department of Ecology’s latest report that cites international and national research that shows the world now faces a climate crisis. The reports states the climate crisis will create devastating impacts on Washington in the form of wildfires, drought, dwindling snowpack and ocean acidification.

Amy Snover, executive director of Climate Impacts Group and a scientist at University of Washington, said leadership on these issues is crucial.

“The science is unequivocal,” Snover said. “Climate change now touches our lives every day, threatening our water supply, our energy systems, the economies of our rural communities and the health of our most vulnerable populations. With a limited time to reduce emissions to ensure less dangerous degrees of warming, extraordinary leadership is required at every level of government.”

Inslee’s legislative and budget proposals would:

  • Limit statewide greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Establish a clean fuel standards.
  • Increase the availability of zero-emission vehicles.
  • Establish an emissions standard for rideshare fleets.
  • Install electric vehicle charging stations at state facilities.
  • Extend a tax incentive for community solar projects that benefit low-income customers.

Limit statewide greenhouse gas emissions

  • 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2030,
  • 70 percent below 1990 levels by 2040, and
  • 95 percent below 1990 levels, and achieving net zero emission by 2050.

To achieve net zero emissions by mid-century, the bill encourages greater carbon sequestration to reverse warming. Trees can easily remove and trap carbon dioxide (sequestration) from the atmosphere; Washington state’s extensive forests, agricultural and coastal areas act as a crucial part of the solution because they provide unique opportunities to store more carbon.

Gov. Jay Inslee talks about clean fuel standards, zero-emission vehicles, limiting greenhouse gas emissions, and community solar projects at Thursday’s event. (Office of the Governor photo)

Establish a clean fuel standards

The governor said it’s about making fuels cleaner. Other states already proved that this method can be very successful. With a clean fuels standard, Washington will join the rest of the West Coast states and British Columbia.

Increase the number of zero-emission vehicles and cleaner rideshares

Inslee said electric cars are a major part of Washington’s clean energy future. The governor set a goal to make 50 percent of the state’s vehicle fleet electric by 2020. To support the state’s transition to clean transportation, Inslee also proposes $4.1 million to install EV-charging stations at state facilities.

Community solar

Support greenhouse gas analysis and strategy

Inslee proposed $600,000 to develop a comprehensive analysis of how Washington can reduce emissions to meet the statewide greenhouse gas limits. This money will support technical analysis to develop future policy proposals based on the new limits.

Gov. Jay Inslee talked about the importance of building on the climate change work the state did last year. (Office of the Governor photo)

Washington State Department of Ecology Director Maia Bellon said she applauds the governor’s leadership on trusting the science behind climate change.

“Climate change threatens Washington’s water supplies, our coastlines, and our economy,” Bellon said. “Although we’ve made progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the latest research shows we need to do more and we need to do it faster.”

Combined, these actions will help Washington fight climate change and build on the work the states have already done.

“Given what we’ve learned and what is at stake — which is nothing less than our children and grandchildren’s future — we have an obligation to step up,” Inslee said. “We’ve seen these problems in our state firsthand. And they are going to get worse if we don’t act.

“We must do everything we can to ensure a secure and healthy climate future. That requires treating climate change like the crisis it is.”

Washington State Governor's Office

News and updates from Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee and his administration.

WA Governor’s Office

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News and updates from Gov. Jay Inslee and his administration.

Washington State Governor's Office

News and updates from Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee and his administration.

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