Gov. Inslee signs executive order to reduce carbon emissions

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OLYMPIA — Washington will undertake a series of steps to cut carbon pollution across the state with the help of clean energy technologies, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday.

Inslee announced an executive order Tuesday that would create a Carbon Emissions Reduction Task Force tasked with coming up with a plan to reduce carbon pollution and promote clean energy through the use of newer energy technologies.

The task force would recommend policies in line with a six-point action plan released by Inslee.

Inslee’s executive order does not implement new programs, but many of the major plans will require legislative approval or appropriations for funding, he said.

Inslee’s six-point key action plan builds on earlier studies and work groups, and moves the state to meet certain emissions limits in 2020, 2035 and 2050. The key actions plans in Inslee’s executive order are —

  • Reduce carbon emissions through new cap-and-market program. A Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce composed of 21 leaders from business, labor, health and public interest organizations will provide recommendations to the governor on design and implementation of a market-based carbon pollution program.
  • End use of electricity generated by coal. Several state agencies will work with key utilities to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the use of electrical power produced by coal. Coal-generated electricity accounts for most of Washington’s electricity-related carbon emissions.
  • Develop clean transportation options and cleaner fuels. Cars, trucks and other transportation-related sources accounted for 44 percent of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2010, with 23 percent coming from gasoline consumption.  This means vehicle emissions must be reduced to achieve significant reductions in overall carbon emissions.
  • Accelerate development and deployment of clean energy technology. The Department of Commerce will work with Washington State University and others on creating a program to develop and deploy new technologies for renewable energy and energy efficiency as well as recommend proposals for funding
  • Improve the energy efficiency of the places we work and live. One of the most cost-effective strategies for reducing carbon emissions is to use energy more efficiently. The Department of Commerce will work with WSU and others to develop a smart building program to help homeowners, developers, businesses and governments significantly boost the energy performance of public and private buildings.
  • Reduce state government’s carbon footprint. The Department of Enterprise Services will lead efforts to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency throughout state government.

Inslee said now is the right time to act on climate change.

“We will engage the right people, consider the right options and ask the right questions and come to the right answers — answers that work for Washington,” Inslee said in a release.

The recommendations come as Inslee expects water supplies, public health, coastal and storm damage, wildfires and other impacts will cost Washington almost $10 billion per year after 2020 due to global warming.

Inslee said action would improve job growth in clean energy, benefit farm and forest landowners, as well as expend energy efficiency investments.


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