Despite rise in emissions, Gov. Inslee says Washington can still meet carbon pollution goals

Despite rise in emissions, Gov. Inslee says Washington can still meet carbon pollution goals

Washington state is not meeting its greenhouse gas reduction goals.

But in an interview, Gov. Jay Inslee said he thinks the state can still meet its reduction targets by 2050. However, in recent years, emissions have increased in Washington.

“I think it’s very likely that the state of Washington will meet those goals,” Inslee told TVW’s Austin Jenkins.

“We are on the right track so far, but we need to do some additional things,” he said.

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The state’s goal is to reduce emissions by 95% by 2050, above levels recorded in 1990. The state’s emissions are currently 9% higher than in 1990.

Inslee says if the state’s low-carbon fuel standards and transition to 100% clean energy are implemented, then emissions will begin to decline.

“But there are more things we need to do,” Inslee said. “In my budget, I want to help people switch to a heat pump, off natural gas; we want to help you get access to a charging station when you use an electric car, so we’re making massive investments to in charge of infrastructure”.

Inslee said technological advances will also help the state meet its carbon pollution goals, adding that “we’ve almost always underestimated the degree of innovation that we the people and Washingtonians are capable of.” He further argues that the pace would not have been so slow if he had had a Democratic Legislature over the past decade.

“We just passed these bills, two years ago, they’re just coming into effect,” Inslee said. “So we’re not on track for carbon reduction, but we’re on track for what we need to get there … I think it’s very likely that Washington state will meet those targets .”

The effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is written into Washington state code. Recently, lawmakers passed the Climate Commitment Act, which has created programs such as equity and investment. The first auction for the cap-and-invest program will be in February 2023. Companies’ emissions will be capped, but they can buy permits for additional carbon emissions. Those allowances can be traded like bonds. Emissions limits are scheduled to decrease over time.

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The state also has a goal to phase out all gas car sales by 2035. The state’s Green Energy Transformation Act, passed in 2019, targets the energy utility sector with requirements to cut emissions and modernize the network.

Another effort is the Washington Clean Fuel Standard. That law requires “fuel suppliers to gradually reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels to 20% below 2017 levels by 2038,” according to the state Department of Ecology. State officials say this can be achieved by improving fuel efficiency, blending with low-carbon biofuels and buying credits.

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“We intend to be a green energy hub,” Inslee added, throwing the potential for hydrogen fuel into the mix.

Washington state and Oregon are competing with other states for federal funds to develop a green hydrogen center for the region. The idea is to use electrolysis to remove hydrogen from water and use it as fuel. The governor says he has already signed a memorandum of understanding with the ambassador for South Korea to pursue a hydrogen fuel trade.

“We are a perfect place for this … We want to start a green Pacific corridor for hydrogen,” he said.

Inslee spoke with Austin Jenkins on TVW’s “Inside Olympia.”

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