US state Washington latest member of The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance

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9 December 2015

PARIS: The State of Washington is one of the newest governments to join The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance, a global network of 35 state and regional government leaders sharing solutions and driving a new global low carbon economy at the regional level.

Libby Ferguson, States & Regions Director, The Climate Group, says: “It is a delight to welcome Washington into our States & Regions Alliance, while we are in the midst of the global climate talks in Paris. Washington is already committed to creating a low carbon future and is reducing carbon emissions, improving energy efficiency and transitioning its electricity system. We look forward to working with this forward-looking government in supporting the low carbon transition within the state.”

Washington, with its diverse climate, is already a leader in clean energy efforts. It produces one fifth of all renewable electricity in the US by hydropower. The impressive 63.6% portion of hydropower in its electricity mix is in part due to the Cascade and Olympic mountains, which play vital roles in the state’s hydrological cycle.

Governor Inslee, Washington State said: “Washington State is proud to be an active partner in the growing commitment to global action against climate change. From electrification of our transportation sector to increased investment in clean energy technologies, states and regions around the world are partnering together to transition our economies to a clean energy future.”

Governor Inslee has called for a new statewide program on energy efficiency within buildings, with a goal to reduce energy use by 20% by 2020.

With COP21 in its second week of negotiations, influential states and regions are leading on the setting of ambitious long-term emissions reduction targets and are showcasing the solutions that will help the achievement of any targets set in Paris. In 2008, Washington established statewide GHG emission limits, with legislation to return to 1990 levels by 2020 – as well as a plan to reduce emissions to 50% below 1990 levels by 2050. A statewide cap on carbon emissions is also being developed.

The state is also in the process of enacting the first regulatory cap on carbon emissions in the US. With many leading businesses and governments pledging to initiate a carbon tax, they are proving ‘non-state actors’ – the states, cities and businesses acting outside of the negotiations - can and are indeed leading the way on climate action.

Washington continues to be ranked among the top 10 US states for energy policy by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, driven by such measures as its adaptation program, which lays out a framework to protect communities and the economy, and its US$36 million Clean Energy Fund to expand clean energy projects and technologies.

The government’s cleaner transportation program is also evidence of its climate leadership. The program has partnered with many US states including California, whose Clean Vehicle standards were adopted by Washington in 2005 to aid its cleaner fuel targets.

Along with other members of the States & Regions Alliance, California, British Columbia, and Oregon, Washington is also working in unison to advance the West Coast Highway, an initiative to promote clean fuels across North America. 

MORE NEWS FROM COP21

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By Gabriella Romano

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