Sen. Reuven Carlyle joined Gov. Jay Inslee to introduce a slate of environmental policies today to combat the climate crisis, strengthen environmental justice strategies and rebuild Washington’s economy.
Carlyle, chair of the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee, is the sponsor of the Climate Commitment Act, a program to cap and limit carbon pollution and invest in clean jobs, environmental justice and climate resilience. The Climate Commitment Act, Clean Fuel Standard and new buildings legislation is central to making steady progress towards the net zero carbon emission reduction goals that are state law. Specifically, the goals are to reduce greenhouse gases to 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and to reach net zero and 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
“As our state begins to break out of the grip of the pandemic, I believe courageous climate action that invests in clean energy jobs, embeds equity at every level, and reduces emissions to Paris Accord levels is central to rebuilding our quality of life,” said Carlyle, who was joined Tuesday by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña and other lawmakers. “I’m proud to join with Gov. Inslee and Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon and my colleagues to help Washington be a light among all states to strengthen and grow the economy while reducing emissions. We can show the path forward.”
In addition to the Climate Commitment Act, Inslee’s comprehensive clean jobs and climate package includes a clean fuels standard, incentivizes construction and retrofitting of clean homes and buildings, and funds capital and transportation investments to modernize Washington’s infrastructure during the legislative session.
“We must act swiftly to address climate change,” Inslee said. “This package would be a record investment in our environment, in clean jobs, and in our future on this planet. I look forward to working with the Legislature to pass and implement these policies. I’m thankful to Sen. Carlyle for his leadership on this legislation and for his ongoing work to tackle the climate crisis.”
The cap-and-invest program created by the Climate Commitment Act will affect the largest carbon producers in the state, including transportation fuel suppliers and industrial facilities. The policy includes a variety of mechanisms to control the costs of compliance and impacts on consumers by directing future revenues toward policies like the Working Families Tax Credit.
Elements of the bill will incorporate recommendations from the Environmental Justice Task Force. Funded in the 2019 operating budget, the task force led an extensive, inclusive process to provide recommendations to the Legislature on strategies to give underrepresented communities a voice in how future climate legislation is designed and implemented. Tribal governments will also play a key role in the design of the cap-and-invest program and the allocation of funds for climate investments.
“The people of Washington support climate action that is well-crafted, thoughtful and proportional to our state’s emissions,” Carlyle said. “The Senate Democratic Caucus is deeply committed to meaningful climate action. We know the public wants us to do our part to reduce wildfires, improve air quality, clean our water, and restore our salmon for our grandchildren’s grandchildren. Many of our state’s premier global companies have committed to meeting science-based targets of net-zero emissions by 2050 with equity at its core.
“Washington can be the place where together we meet the greatest challenge in world history. I’m committed to passing our sweeping climate action agenda this year to meet that high standard.”