Washington’s 2019 legislative session resulted in several major steps forward as our state charts a course towards a prosperous clean energy future. Because so many areas of our lives have been dependent on the fossil fuels of the past, we’re adopting different strategies in order to make steady progress towards achieving 100% clean energy.
Here’s some of what Washington accomplished in 2019:
A clean electric grid will play an increasingly important role in making sure Washington State reduces our global warming pollution. As we transition more of our transportation and building sector from fossil fuels to the grid, we will ensure that our homes and vehicles are powered by clean and renewable electricity. Our strong new 100% Clean Electricity Standard will do just that. By setting a firm deadline of 2045 for the removal of all fossil fuels from our electricity system, with strong interim milestones including phasing out coal by 2025, we have set our state on a path to a 100% clean energy future and are ensuring that new energy demand will be met with efficiency improvements and non-polluting sources of energy.
Buildings and built infrastructure account for a fifth of Washington State’s greenhouse gas emissions. We will reduce these emissions—and our reliance on fossil fuels—through deeper investments in energy efficiency. Efficiency is our largest, cheapest, and lowest-risk energy resource, and can help us meet our increasing energy needs over the next decades, while cleaning up our whole energy system. Washington’s new clean buildings policies will support enhanced, performance-based energy standards for commercial buildings, stretch building codes to enable cities to improve energy efficiency in new residential construction, incentives for building owners to improve efficiency, and performance requirements for the companies that distribute natural gas in our state.
In other areas, there is still important work to be done:
Transportation fuels like gasoline and diesel are responsible for nearly half of our global warming pollution in Washington. They are also the largest sources of air pollution, which health professionals link directly to asthma, lung cancer, and other respiratory diseases. Lower income communities and communities of color who are often closer to major transportation corridors are even more impacted. For example, Duwamish Valley residents have a life expectancy 13 years shorter than others in King County, in part due to fossil fuel pollution. We can reduce these harms and support our regional economy by instituting a Clean Fuel Standard allowing Washington residents to choose less-polluting fuels. A Clean Fuel Standard would support increased use of affordable electric transportation, and create economic opportunities for clean fuel production in rural Washington.
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Together we can power our lives with clean energy. We can have clean air, and create more good local jobs.
Our communities can benefit from clean electricity, zero-carbon buildings, and clean, affordable, and efficient transportation choices.
Together, we can declare independence from fossil fuels in the Pacific Northwest.