Halftime at the Legislature

This week marked the halfway point of the short legislative session in Olympia. Our lawmakers and public-policy leaders have been tackling long-lasting issues that impact the lives of everyone in Washington. This session’s groundbreaking efforts to effectively address climate change have been particularly noteworthy.

Right now, a bill to reduce carbon pollution, transition to a clean-energy future and invest in our natural resources’ ability to adapt to the effects of climate change is working its way through the state Senate. The bill is still evolving and we are fully engaged in that process.

Sen. Rueven Carlyle, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

We are grateful for leaders like Sens. Reuven Carlyle and Guy Palumbo and others who have supported the historic effort to create a meaningful carbon-reduction policy solution for Washington. The effort has been truly collaborative, and bringing different voices to the table early in the process has been central to the continuing development of SB 6203.

We are all responsible for the mess we’ve made through carbon pollution, and we all have a role to play in cleaning it up. The legislators and many stakeholders who have been involved in climate policy conversations know that it takes both individual actions and smart, effective public policy to turn the tide on carbon emissions. What each of us does matters, and together our collective response can have a greater impact.

Sen. Guy Palumbo, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

The solutions being discussed in Senate committees in Olympia this week are still evolving. We know that any good policy must take into account the intended and unintended consequences of pricing carbon to reduce pollution, invest in natural-resource climate solutions and support our renewable energy economy — and do so justly and equitably. Good policy for Washington state must consider our residents whose livelihoods currently depend on carbon use, those whose limited access to alternate transportation requires them to rely on driving long distances and others who may be inequitably impacted financially by a price on carbon pollution.

Climate change is an issue that impacts us all. We all must be part of finding the solution that works best for Washington. Finding common ground in how we address carbon pollution while investing in our clean energy and natural resources is the way toward a stronger economic future and a healthier tomorrow for all Washington state families — regardless of their ZIP codes.

A fire-maintained ponderosa pine woodland, with arrowleaf balsamroot, near Deer Park Spring, Wenatchee National Forest.  Photo by Peter Dunwiddie/TNC.

In today’s divisive political climate, it’s more critical than ever to find and focus on our shared values when it comes to issues like climate change. As Sens. Carlyle and Palumbo and others continue to do that work in advancing and shaping the bill put forward at the start of the session based on the input and creative ingenuity of voices from across our state, we applaud their efforts. We know there is much work yet to be done. If we are to find a way to address climate change, we have to do it together.

The Senate Ways & Means Committee will hold a hearing on SB 6203 next week. As your elected officials continue to discuss the policy’s specifics, now’s the time to share your thoughts on the importance of collaborative, equitable climate action. Email your Senator and share your support for the development of a policy that will effectively reduce carbon pollution and work for all of Washington’s many diverse communities.

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