2019 has far and away been the most productive year for legislative climate action in Washington State. Numerous important bills became law. However, ample work remains. While the legislature took meaningful steps on HFC’s, electricity, and buildings, lawmakers failed to sufficiently address transportation emissions, agriculture, and industry this year. Take a look at a partial breakdown of climate bills that passed and didn’t below. Be sure to also check out the latest Carboncast, a podcast discussing the legislative session with CarbonWA’s Greg Rock. CarbonWA was also quoted in E&E News, calling the session a “turning point” but only if “we do more every year after this.”

Bill Summary Outcome
SB 5116 Mandating 100% carbon free electricity by 2045, with carbon neutral electricity by 2030. Passed
HB 1112 Phasing out Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC’s) Passed
HB 1257 Increasing building efficiency standards Passed
HB 1444 Adds or increases appliance efficiency standards Passed
SMJ 8005 Biochar memorial Passed
HB 2042 Extends electric vehicle incentives. Passed
HB 1512 Allows utilities to invest in electric vehicle infrastructure Passed

Bill Summary Outcome
SB 5947 Sustainable Farms and Fields Grant Program Passed Senate Only.

$30K Study proviso in budget to craft recommendations for automatic reintroduction in 2020.

SB 5981 Cap & trade Did not move out of committee. Opposition from business, environmental justice.
HB 1257 Carbon fee & dividend Bipartisan working group did not introduce it, discussion ongoing.
HB 1444 Low carbon fuel standard. Passed House only. Active opposition from oil companies. Automatic reintroduction next year.
SB 5489 HEAL (environmental justice planning: more here) One version passed the House. Budget proviso allows EJ program to get started for 2 years.
SB 5811 ZEV (zero emission vehicle mandate), targeting 8% of vehicles sold by 2025 to be zero emission. Passed Senate only. Automatic reintroduction next year.
SB 5971 Carbon fee to fund transportation. Passed senate committees.

While advocates and lawmakers should be proud of the progress made in 2019, it will mean little if it’s not followed up by more robust progress in 2020. Washington State remains far away from of its own climate targets, let alone the reductions that climate science suggests are necessary. We look forward to moving efficient, effective solutions forward in 2020, including carbon pricing and sustainable farming bills.

Carbon Pricing Moving Ahead in Utah, Penn, Hawaii! 

Utah carbon tax initiative filed (!) A group called ‘Clean The Darn Air‘ has filed a ballot initiative in Utah to create a carbon tax, with 80% of the revenue used to reduce existing taxes (including eliminating the state sales tax on groceries), and 20% used to reduce local air pollution (which is among the worst in the country) and promote rural economic development. You might recognize CarbonWA founder Yoram Bauman as one of the leaders behind the effort. Visit the website here to read a policy summary and donate.

Pennsylvania exploring cap and trade: A coalition of over 100 nonprofits, businesses and community groups are petitioning Pennsylvania regulators to implement a cap and trade system. The petition calls for a price floor of $10 and a declining cap. You can read more about the campaign here. The governor is supporting a study of the proposed policy as a first step.  

Hawaii considering multiple carbon pricing bills: Our island neighbors are also looking as a suite of carbon pricing bills. Earlier, Hawaii passed an ambitious carbon free electricity bill, but more is needed. ClimateXChange has the scoop here. The Heartland Institute, an industry backed (and generally anti-climate think tank) also noticed and is apparently feeling “swamped” by the flood of bills.

It’s GiveBIG, and yes, we can’t succeed without you.  

By the time you read this, you’ve probably already heard from a few dozen groups or more, for at least a week now, that its GiveBIG. We’ve been so focused on climate action right up to the last minutes of the legislative session that we almost forgot about GiveBIG. So, as you are thinking about your charitable giving, please take a second to think of us. You can make a tax-deductible gift, that will go toward policy development for projects like sustainable farming, carbon pricing, biochar, and more. Your gift won’t disappear in a 7-figure budget to Carbon Washington. Since we are small and local, your individual gift counts for more, and you can be the difference between success and failure.

You can make a gift here.

Note that Carbon Washington also has a political action fund that is not tax deductible.

We’ll do our best to make the distinction obvious when you give, but don’t hesitate to ask us if it’s ever unclear.