Action in State Capitol Sets Us on a Course Toward Climate Progress

With climate action top of mind for many as the 2018 legislative session opened Jan. 8 in Olympia, Gov. Jay Inslee outlined his plan for reducing carbon pollution in Washington during his annual State of the State address today. Watch a replay below:

"We have been given an incredible bounty of natural beauty and sustenance, and we now must ask ourselves how we can protect that bounty for future generations," said Gov. Inslee.

Washington’s lawmakers can set a national standard for action to address climate change — not only its impacts on our iconic landscapes, but on the people who depend on a healthy environment to live, work and recreate throughout our state.

Gov. Inslee during a tour around a Snohomish County dairy farm with The Nature Conservancy. Photo © Hannah Letinich.

The governor isn’t the only one weighing in on climate policy as the Legislature convenes for its 60-day session. Last week, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz shared her priorities for addressing climate change, including tackling carbon pollution and investing in the resilience of Washington’s lands, waters and communities.

At The Nature Conservancy, our top priority for climate policy is to reduce carbon emissions for the benefit of people and our natural world. Our state needs serious, thoughtful policy to ensure this is positive progress toward a safer, healthier world for all of us.

“Climate change is the most urgent threat to people and nature in Washington and around the world. We must move forward with a smart carbon policy that works for all of Washington’s communities, turns the tide on carbon emissions, and invests in Washington’s lands, waters and people to prepare for climate change,” said Mo McBroom, our director of government relations.

A ballot initiative that puts a price on carbon is one way to limit carbon emissions, and we continue to research and form partnerships to pursue a ballot initiative. Washington's spirit of innovation and collaboration can make meaningful climate policy a reality.

"We have succeeded in aerospace, in software, in online commerce, in coffee, in biotechnology, and there is every reason to believe we will succeed in fighting climate change and growing our economy in the process," Gov. Inslee said in his speech.

Legislative action represents another way Washington could lead the nation in limiting carbon emissions. We are proud to see our state's elected and community leaders taking tangible steps for a much-needed response to the climate crisis.

No matter how we move forward as a state, three elements are critical to policy action on climate change:

  • A broad partnership including tribes, businesses, communities and other environmental groups
  • Research that examines what the people of Washington value and will support
  • Creation of great policy that turns the tide on carbon emissions and invests in Washington’s lands, waters and people to prepare for climate change

We are laser-focused on these activities.

A meaningful response to the climate crisis also must invest in Washington’s lands and waters, and in doing so invest in our communities: trees that sequester carbon, wetlands that absorb flood waters, habitat restoration that secures wildlife and cornerstone food sources. When we take care of nature, we take care of ourselves.

Prescribed burning is a method to create resilience in our dry forests in the face of climate change. Photo © John Marshall

Washingtonians have made a clear call for our state to act on climate change. Today’s policy proposals reflect that this call to action is being heard, through the powerful voices of advocates from local communities to Olympia, and through the proposals put forth by elected leaders like Gov. Inslee and Commissioner Franz.

We look forward to working with Gov. Inslee, Commissioner Franz and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle during this legislative session to make meaningful climate action a reality in 2018.

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