Historic Climate Bill Passes Washington State Legislature
State on Path to Becoming Net Zero Carbon by 2050
SEATTLE, April 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Climate Commitment Act (CCA), SB 5126, was passed by the Washington State Legislature today, the first climate legislation in the country to pave the way to net zero carbon emissions by the year 2050. The historic and carefully crafted cap-and-invest legislation is now on its way to Governor Jay Inslee to be signed into law.
Bill Sponsor Senator Reuven Carlyle and House Environment Committee Chair Representative Joe Fitzgibbon worked closely with members of both houses to ensure the legislation would put both a decreasing cap on carbon and on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while making significant investments in new infrastructure, transit, agriculture, forestry and shipbuilding projects. The bill puts a hard cap on carbon emissions and lowers that cap year by year.
“This remarkable outcome could not have been achieved without the steadfast leadership of Senator Carlyle, Representative Fitzgibbon, and a host of elected officials and other climate champions,” said David Giuliani, co-founder of Washington Business Alliance, Sonicare inventor, and entrepreneur. “Years of passionate advocacy and alliance building enabled this moment, which has eluded Olympia over the last decade.”
Sally Jewell, Former US Secretary of the Interior joined the many voices supporting this legislation saying, “To protect our valuable natural resources, our mountain snowpack and our oceans, we need climate action now. The Climate Commitment Act puts Washington squarely in a leadership role in combating climate change and protecting the natural places we all love.”
Importantly, the Climate Commitment Act includes several provisions to prioritize historically overburdened communities, including establishment of an Environmental Justice Council.
“The impacts of climate change will not be borne equally or fairly, between rich and poor, women and men, and older and younger generations,” noted Paula Sardinas of the Washington Build Back Black Alliance. By passing SB 5126, she told legislators, “we are going to leave our children a far better planet than the one we all inherited.”
In March, a diverse group of supporters, including business leaders, social justice and equity advocates, environmental groups, labor unions, local employers, energy companies and more joined together to call on the Washington State Legislature to pass the Climate Commitment Act, saying, “Despite some notable progress in addressing climate change and ushering in a clean energy economy, carbon emissions in the state are still growing. To meet the state’s climate goals and those of the Paris Climate Accords, more needs to be done.”
The Act is modeled after the only solution proven to ensure the state not only meets its carbon emissions goals, but also stimulates economic returns and generates substantial investments for overburdened communities. Integrated with a future transportation funding package, Senate Bill 5126 will also be the state’s largest investment in mobility and climate protection, generating billions of dollars of investments into a transition to a low-carbon economy.
Work will continue on the Forward Washington Transportation infrastructure proposal by Senator Steve Hobbs and the Miles Ahead Washington proposal by Representative Jake Fey to complete what the Seattle Times has called the “Grand Bargain” of a climate and transportation package. “This cap program recognizes the important link between transportation and emissions, and passing it adds momentum to completing the full suite of bills, that work interactively for climate, communities, and our economy,” said David Giuliani.
The diverse group of supporters include former US Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell, Earth Day Founder Denis Hayes, Vulcan Inc., Vigor, Puget Sound Solar, McKinstry, MacDonald Miller Facility Solutions, Microsoft, and bp America, along with business associations like Northwest Energy Efficiency Council (NEEC), Tabor 100, and American Institute of Architects (AIA) Washington Council. A list of supporters can be found here.
Additional information on the bill, supporters and other updates can be found at Clean & Prosperous Washington as well as this DropBox Link. Media, please contact Lee Keller for interviews at 206.799.3805 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More About Clean & Prosperous Washington, a project of the Washington Business Alliance
The Washington Business Alliance launched Clean & Prosperous Washington (CaPWA) in support of the Climate Commitment Act legislation. The bill was introduced by Governor Inslee and sponsored by Senator Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle). The Business Alliance work now shifts to education and assistance to business and state government on implementation to make the best of this opportunity.