Washington state this week began implementing two of its most ambitious climate policies yet: one to limit carbon emissions from fuel suppliers and utilities, and one to limit carbon emissions from transportation fuels. It is a request to reduce strength.
Lawmakers passed the Climate Commitment Act and clean fuel standards in 2021, aimed at helping Washington meet its mandated greenhouse gas reduction targets. The state should reduce emissions by 45% from her 1990 emissions levels by 2030 and continue to gradually reduce emissions to net zero by 2050.
Gov. Jay Inslee attended Wednesday’s briefing to detail the rollout of the initiative.
“States are having a huge impact on climate change at the same time that we are building our economy,” Inslee said.
The event comes a week after the state released disappointing carbon emissions data for 2019, the most recent year available. Greenhouse gas emissions that year reached their highest level since 2007, but were still below the historic peak of 1999.
The Washington State Department of Ecology, which compiles and reports emissions data, said preliminary figures for 2020 suggested “the increase is likely to be short-lived.”
State leaders hope Washington’s carbon footprint is on a permanent downward trend, thanks to two new policies passed in recent years, among others.
Inslee cited the synergy between technological innovation and climate policy as a key reason for the state’s optimism that it can meet its goals.
“these are [clean energy] Technologies are now much more affordable and productivity has increased significantly, while at the same time we have these policies that continue to drive the adoption and use of these technologies,” he said.
Inslee noted that the prices of solar panels, wind turbines and storage batteries have fallen significantly over the past few years. However, the cost of lithium batteries recently rose for the first time in over a decade. Experts attribute the rise to raw material prices and inflation.
Pacific Northwest entrepreneurs are spurring climate innovation in batteries, nuclear fission and fusion energy, electric aviation, grid energy transmission, and green hydrogen.
Tech giants such as Amazon and Microsoft have invested in startups in these sectors, purchased many of these technologies, and have endorsed some of Washington’s climate policies. Amazon backed the Clean Fuel Standard Act and Microsoft backed the Climate Commitment Act.
California, Oregon and British Columbia have also adopted clean fuel standards. This policy requires fuel suppliers to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels. They can achieve this by making fuel production more efficient. Incorporate low-carbon biofuels into the lineup. By purchasing credits generated by providers of low-carbon fuel and electric vehicle charging facilities.
The Climate Commitment Act features a program of caps and investments in which fuel suppliers and utilities, and later waste-to-energy facilities and railroads, bid on the capacity to allow greenhouse gas emissions. The amount of allowance will decrease over time. Funds raised from auctions of allowances will be channeled into carbon reduction efforts. California is currently the only US state with a similar carbon capping program.
The first quarterly auction for allowances is February 28th.