The last six years have been the hottest ever recorded. It’s only getting hotter.
We’ve heard the roar of climate change from afar, but now it’s in our backyards. Each summer, wildfires rip across the Pacific Northwest with smoke thick enough that for several days in 2018, we had the worst air quality in the world. Glaciers in the North Cascades are rapidly melting, and rising ocean temperatures are pushing our orcas and salmon to the brink of extinction.
Globally, we’re seeing more of the extreme weather events that scientists have long predicted climate change would bring — Australia’s devastating wildfire season is only the most recent example.
Last year, Washington state passed remarkable clean-energy legislation, but the next step we must take is reducing our transportation emissions. This session, we’re looking at two pieces of legislation to do that. HB 1110 is a step that our neighbors in Oregon, California and British Columbia have already taken, and would set emission standards for transportation fuels. Another option, HB 2892, would empower the Department of Ecology to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from distributed fuels like oil and gas.
The transportation sector accounts for about 45% of Washington’s emissions. In neighboring states, clean-fuel standards have successfully incentivized electricity, renewable natural gas, biodiesel from canola oil or ethanol from forestry waste.
Opponents, led by the oil industry, have tried to scare legislators and the public with dishonest statistics about how this would impact gas prices. But the facts show otherwise.