SEATTLE – Audubon Washington is launching a grassroots campaign to secure passage of key climate policies in the upcoming legislative session: 100 percent clean energy, a clean fuel standard, and enhanced building efficiency standards. As part of National Audubon Society’s Climate Initiative, Audubon Washington will continue its legacy of support – at the ballot box and in the legislature – for pragmatic solutions that reduce carbon pollution fairly and equitably. These policies are also part of Governor Inslee’s comprehensive proposal to accelerate the transition to a cleaner, carbon-free future. Recent polling reveals strong popular support for climate action and specific support for these policies.
“The best time to address our changing climate was several years ago, but the second-best time is right now. Audubon science and subsequent research, including from the Trump administration just last month, shows that our changing climate is the biggest threat to birds and people,” said Gail Gatton, executive director of Audubon Washington.
“As we gear up to pass effective climate policy in the 2019 legislative session, we are driven by the urgency to put in place solutions that will lead to a more sustainable and prosperous future for every Washingtonian.”
In 2014, Audubon released its Birds and Climate Change Report, which showed more than half of the bird species in North America at risk of disappearing by 2080 due to shifting and shrinking ranges due to climate change. Included in the list of 314 were many found in Washington State, including the Bald Eagle, Mallard, and Anna’s Hummingbird.
“Birds are some of the best indicators of a healthy environment, so when they begin to decline, we know our communities are also at risk,” said Renee Stone, vice president of National Audubon Society’s Climate Initiative.
“If we’re able to protect birds and the places they need, then we’ll be doing our part to ensure a stable climate for ourselves and future generations. Washington State is in a great position to lead the country on the path to a future fully powered by clean energy.”
As part of this grassroots effort to move the Evergreen State to a future fully powered by clean energy, Audubon Washington will be working with other Washington-based members of the Environment Priorities Coalition (EPC).
Moving Washington to 100% Clean Energy
In 2019, the Legislature will once again consider a 100% clean energy standard that phases out coal-generated electricity by 2025, leading to a carbon neutral electricity sector by 2030. It would phase in electricity generated from solar, wind, hydro, and other clean and renewable resources, reaching 100% clean electricity by 2045.
Clean energy consistently produces more employment per unit of energy produced than fossil fuels, and Washington is one of the best positioned states in the country to demonstrate that the transition to a fossil fuel-free electric power system is technically possible, economically viable, and a key driver for new jobs and economic growth. With the climate crisis escalating and no prospect of constructive federal action, Washington must join California, Hawaii, and numerous cities and municipalities committing to this clean energy transition.
Clean Fuel for Washington
Transportation fuels are responsible for nearly half of the climate pollution in Washington. Diesel and gasoline are the largest sources of air pollution, which health professionals link directly to asthma, lung cancer, and other respiratory disease. A Clean Fuel Standard requires oil refiners and importers to reduce the carbon intensity of fuels over time, supporting expanded transportation electrification, lower carbon fuels, and more jobs in the homegrown energy production.
Enhanced Building Efficiency Standards
The residential, commercial and industrial sector accounts for a fifth of Washington State’s greenhouse gas emissions.The best way to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels in this sector is by catalyzing investments in energy efficiency, which is the region's largest, cheapest, lowest-risk energy resource. With aggressive, new energy efficiency policy, our region can potentially meet one hundred percent of its electricity load growth over the next twenty years with energy efficiency.
Polling Shows Constituent Support for Climate Action
Exit polling conducted after the midterm election showed Washingtonians overwhelmingly believe that climate change is real, and that further action is required. In fact, voters who want climate action but rejected I-1631 support 100% clean energy policy by a 2-1 margin. Polling also found that nearly half of voters would back a state legislator that voted in support for a 100% clean energy policy. Clean fuel legislation also generates majority support.
Climate Advocates Prepare for 2019 Legislature
One of Audubon’s greatest strengths is its 35,000 bird-loving members in Washington state. This powerful coalition has supported Audubon’s efforts to pass climate policies over the past several years, and now brings renewed focus and commitment to pass 100% clean energy and clean fuel bills in the upcoming legislative session.
On Saturday, December 8, Audubon Washington and its EPC partners hosted a 100% Clean Energy Kickoff Meeting in Tacoma to launch the 2019 legislative campaign. Representative Gael Tarleton, who recently pre-filed a 100% clean energy bill, and Tacoma City Council Member and local climate champion Ryan Mello discussed their efforts to accelerate a 100% clean energy future. Participants also gained legislative advocacy and community organizing skills to help them become more effective climate action champions.
About National Audubon Society
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.
About Audubon Washington
Established in 1981, Audubon Washington works statewide with its 25 independent chapters and 35,000 members on the conservation of the sagebrush shrub steppe ecosystem in Eastern Washington, protection of coastal estuaries, and actions that address climate change, the number one threat to birds today. Through the Seward Park Audubon Center, it provides science, nature and environmental education programs for youth and families. Learn more at http://wa.audubon.org/, @audubonWA.