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Gov. Inslee’s new climate plan nixes coal power by 2025

Along with Democratic lawmakers, Governor Jay Inslee announced his latest plan to curb carbon pollution in Washington state Monday, setting forth a 15-year itinerary with a range of changes that he hopes will result in 100 percent clean energy.

To do this, Inslee’s plan aims to cut carbon emissions in Washington by 25 percent below 1990 level by 2035, and end the use of coal-powered electricity consumption by 2025. It’s part of a Clean Energy Transformation Act that will be introduced by Democratic lawmakers in the state Legislature’s next session.

“This package can pass this year,” Gov. Inslee said at a Monday press conference. “… Because we have the technology available to electrify our transportation system, and because we have legislators in a consensus to adopt these policies, Washington state will have the cleanest transportation system in the Unites States, based on legislation that can pass this year. This is a big deal.”

The governor stressed that there is no tax associated with the plan, and that the costs of inaction are enormous compared to any costs of addressing climate change and the affects on the state’s economy.

Inslee’s new proposal includes:

  • 2008 Legislature committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2035
  • Washington will reduce emissions by almost 16 million metric tons annually
  • Largest reductions — about 6 million metric tons — comes from a transition to clean energy
  • Washington would prohibit all coal-fired electricity consumption by 2025
  • Washington will convert to carbon neutral electricity by 2030
  • Utilities will no longer be able to use more than 20 percent fossil fuels for power by 2030, and that 20 percent must be offset; by 2040, utilities can use nor more than 10 percent
  • Inslee proposes a 40 percent increase in Washington’s Clean Energy Fund, which promotes the development of clean energy technology
  • A comprehensive clean building package to incentivize retrofitting buildings and updated building codes for new construction to make them “ultra-efficient”
  • An electrified transportation system that involves expanding electric vehicle charging stations, converting to hybrid electric ferry vessels, and cleaner fuel standards
  • A phase down of hydrofluorocarbons, which is more damaging than carbon.

“By 2045, Washington’s 63 utilities will have replaced fossil fuels with 100 percent renewable, clean energy sources and be carbon free,” said Representative Gael Tarleton. “This policy will transform the way our utilities plan ahead for our carbon-free future. It will create and sustain tens of thousands of family-wage jobs in the clean energy sector.”

The governor cites the recent UN climate report that paints a concerning view of the future if no action is taken to address the consequences of climate change. Proponents at a press conference Monday argued that the plan will support a clean energy economy in Washington state.

“We know what it will take to combat climate change and we should be confident in our ability to invent, create and build the technologies that will lead us to a healthier and more secure carbon-free future,” Inslee said.

“We see the answers to climate change all around us every day,” he said, noting electric vehicles, solar panels, energy efficient appliances, and biofuels. “New technologies are emerging every day. Driving down emissions and reducing carbon means harnessing that innovation and super-charging our efforts to do it more, do it bigger and do it faster. We can do this. We must do this. And we’ll all benefit from the economic growth and increased security that comes with it.”

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