Ferry system electrification is a smart climate investment

March 22, 2023

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report about climate change, warning that “Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health. There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.”

Despite its stark language and dire warnings, the IPCC report sends a message of possibility, said Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College London and a member of the core writing team for the report. “It’s not that we are depending on something that still needs to be invented. We actually have all the knowledge we need. All the tools we need. We just need to implement it.”

Sarah Kaplan writes in The Washington Post

“In many regions, the report says, electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind is now cheaper than power from fossil fuels. Several countries have significantly reduced their emissions in the past decade, even as their economies grew. New analyses show how efforts to fight climate change can benefit society in countless other ways, from improving air quality to enhancing ecosystems to boosting public health.” 

These “co-benefits” are among the reasons we advocate for smart climate investments in Washington state – and believe electrification of the ferry system offers significant return on investment, as illustrated in our Decisive Decade report:

Combined with long-term fuel savings, public health and climate benefits push the net benefits into positive values by 2034. With shore power fully leveraged, fuel consumption along just four routes will drop by 85% to 95%, equivalent to 11.5 million gallons of diesel avoided per year. This is the greenhouse gas equivalent of removing over 26,000 diesel F-150 trucks from the road.  

Read more about our analysis here:

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