Washington

WASHINGTON

Washington benefits from access to abundant low-cost energy, and its significant renewable energy resources, especially hydroelectric power, are major contributors to the state’s economy. Washington is the nation’s largest producer of hydroelectric power and is home to one of the largest hydroelectric power plants in the world. The Columbia River, second only to the Mississippi in volume of water flow among the nation’s rivers, enters Washington near the state’s northeastern corner and flows in an arc through the eastern half of the state. It forms much of the boundary between Washington and Oregon and drains all of eastern Washington and the western slopes of the Cascade Range south of Mt. Rainier. The river provides water for vast hydroelectric projects including the Grand Coulee Dam, the largest hydropower producer in the United States. The state’s climate ranges from the rainforest in the extreme western part of Washington, where the heaviest precipitation in the continental United States occurs, to near desert conditions in areas east of the Cascade Range. Crop residues from Washington’s agricultural areas in the east and those from the state’s western forests provide ample biomass resources, and many areas of the state are conducive to wind power development. The state has few fossil fuel resources, but it has the only crude oil refining capacity in the Pacific Northwest. Washington is also the only Pacific state other than California that generates nuclear power.

Washington in 2019, generated 78% of its electricity from carbon-free sources, including hydropower (62%), nuclear (8%), other renewable energy, mostly wind (8%) . Gas and coal make up the rest.

In May 2019, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a law requiring that 100 percent of the state’s electricity come from clean energy sources by 2045, becoming the 4th state to commit to entirely clean energy, following Hawaii, California and New Mexico (there are more now). The law also mandates structural changes to the way the state’s utilities do business, and includes bill reductions as well as weatherization, energy efficiency, and “direct customer ownership in distributed energy resources.” This measure required utilities to eliminate coal as an energy source by the end of 2025 as the first step toward the governor’s goal.

Inslee also signed a bill that seeks to make large commercial buildings more energy efficient. Another establishes new minimum efficiency and testing standards for certain appliances, including portable air conditioners, showerheads, and water coolers. In order to be sold in the state, several of the appliances covered under that law, including computers and computer monitors, must meet the state’s efficiency standards if they’re manufactured in or after 2021. Inslee also signed a measure that restores a sales tax break for electric vehicles.

Individual counties and cities within Washington are also moving to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels with the purpose of helping the state reach its 2045 goals:

  • In 2019 Seattle’s Mayor Durkan issued an Executive order committing the city to new actions supporting the goals of Seattle’s Green New Deal, such as requiring all new or substantially altered municipal buildings operate without fossil fuels. By early 2021 she transmitted a proposedupdate to the energy code, further electrifying buildings using clean energy and restricting fossil fuels for most business use.
  • In October, 2021, King Countyproposed changes to its building codesthat would ban new gas-based heating and water heating in some buildings
  • In July 2021, Whatcom countybecame the first such jurisdiction in the US to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure, following a lengthy battle over the impact of oil refineries on the local community.

Washington endured triple digit temperatures in the summer of 2021 with Bellingham, hitting a high of 100F for the first time on record.

Disappointingly, Washington State voters rejected carbon-pricing proposals in 2016 and 2018.

Washington is one of twenty-four states, along with Puerto Rico, committed to the U.S. Climate Alliance, which is working to implement policies that advance the goals of the Paris Agreement.

CURRENT NEWS

What is WSAC?

04/02/24
The Water Supply Availability Committee (WSAC) is a group of experts from state and federal agencies who evaluate statewide water supply conditions. Ecology chairs this group that provides an important consultative role to Ecology. WSAC…
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See one cherry tree’s rush to an early bloom, day by day

By Niko Kommenda and Harry Stevens 03/22/24
Two weeks ago, we started photographing the cherry trees whose spectacular white blooms mark the start of spring in the nation’s capital. We thought we had plenty of time to capture the buds gradually unfold.…
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State will pay rebates to farmers hit with fuel surcharges under WA climate law

By Laurel Demkovich 03/13/24
Farmers and truckers who say they’ve unfairly paid fuel surcharges under the state’s cap-and-trade program may soon get some relief.
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Auction results and budget decisions emphasize importance of investments from Washington state’s Climate Commitment Act

By Caroline Jones 03/13/24
The last week has been eventful in Washington, seeing the end of legislative session last Thursday and the first quarterly cap-and-invest auction of 2024, which posted results today. With the legislative session wrapped up and…
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Judge Denies Industry Challenge to Delay Implementation of Washington’s New Climate and Health-Friendly Building Codes

03/08/24
In another legal win for Washington’s new climate-friendly building codes – among the most progressive in the nation – a state judge today denied a legal challenge from gas and homebuilding industry petitioners seeking to…
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As Inslee’s final legislative session ends, more work remains to cement climate legacy

By Hallie Golden 03/08/24
Jay Inslee closed out the final day of his last legislative session as Washington state governor on Thursday by describing it as a banner year in the state’s fight against climate change.
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Washington State Gets the Signatures to Put Repeal of the State’s Climate Law on the November Ballot

By IER 02/22/24
Washington state has some of the most expensive gasoline prices in the nation due primarily to its climate agenda pushed by Governor Jay Inslee. Backers of an effort to repeal Washington’s carbon market now have…
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How clean is WA’s electricity? We lead the country in one way

By Amanda Zhou 02/13/24
Electricity from dams on rivers across the state made up over two-thirds of Washington’s energy generation in 2022.
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Grant to help build coastal climate resilience

By Naomi Gebo 01/29/24
The 3,300 miles of shoreline along Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean coast help protect Washington’s adjacent lands from floods, improve and maintain water quality, and support critical habitats for many of our iconic species…
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Washington’s climate efforts hit Clark County utility bills; Typical NW Natural customer will see increase of 11.9 percent

By Lauren Ellenbecker 01/26/24
This month, natural gas customers saw the cost of Washington’s climate efforts reflected in their monthly bills.
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Washington’s cap on carbon is raising billions for climate action. Can it survive the backlash?

By Kate Yoder 01/08/24
For months now, it’s been free for anyone 18 or younger to ride the light rail through Seattle, the ferry across Puget Sound, and buses all over Washington state. As students tapped their new ORCA…
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PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

Orbital to Supply Floating Tidal Energy Turbine for Washington State Project

03/13/24
Orbital Marine Power, a Scottish renewable energy company focused on the deployment of its pioneering floating tidal turbine, has been confirmed as the technology partner for Orcas Power & Light Cooperative (OPALCO)’s proposed site off…

Washington State takes steps to cut rooftop solar red tape

03/07/24
Washington has become the latest state to make moves to streamline permitting for rooftop solar. In the budget passed last week, lawmakers set aside $600,000 to administer a grant program designed to help cities and…

WASHINGTON CLEAN ENERGY FUND ALLOCATES MONEY FOR EASTERN WA.

03/05/24
There's been a lot of talk about the stability of the electrical grid in the United States. Eastern Washington's situation is better than most. We currently benefit from hydroelectric power with the dam system on…

Objections hamper plans for Tri-Cities wind farm, other renewable energy projects in Washington state

03/04/24
When it was proposed in 2021, the Horse Heaven Hills wind farm was set to be the largest wind farm in Washington. Hundreds of turbines — potentially taller than the Space Needle — were planned…

Clean energy and power grid projects in Washington land federal and state funding

02/29/24
Clean energy projects for Washington groups including public utilities, the Yakama Nation, and others will receive funding from grants announced this week by the U.S. Department of Energy and the state’s Department of Commerce.

Commerce invests $8.1 million to expand renewable energy use, strengthen Washington’s electric grid

02/29/24
“Commerce is dedicated to the state’s climate commitment goals, and to ensuring that those benefits are experienced across the state for all communities,” said Commerce Director Mike Fong. “These projects, which are primarily to organizations…

Ybarra energy bill approved unanimously by WA House and Senate

02/28/24
Under Washington state’s Energy Independence Act, utility companies have been required to calculate their electric loads to annually meet “renewable energy targets” of at least 15% of their load.

Controversial energy project in southern Washington state moves closer to breaking ground

02/11/24
A controversial energy project in south central Washington is one step closer to breaking ground. A federal commission released its final environmental review for the Goldendale Energy Storage Project — to the consternation of several…

A state pollution tax raised $2 billion. Can it survive the backlash?

02/05/24
The jumbo ferry known as the Wenatchee can carry 200 cars, nearly 2,000 passengers and more than 115,000 gallons of climate-warming diesel fuel. Ship superintendent Tom Larson helped build this boat nearly three decades ago…

Feds could tap more Northwest land for potential expansion of solar energy

01/22/24
Millions of acres of federal public land in five Western states, including Washington and Oregon, could be opened up to solar energy production.

This state is phasing out oil and natural gas in favor of money-saving, energy-efficient heat pumps: ‘The right choice’

01/15/24
As of March 15, every new house or apartment built in the state of Washington will now effectively require the use of money-saving, energy-efficient heat pumps for heating and cooling, or an alternative that is…

New Legislative Report – Green Electrolytic Hydrogen and Renewable Fuels Recommendations for Deployment in Washington

01/05/24
Hydrogen can play an important role in Washington’s economy as it transforms to eliminate use of fossil fuels for energy, but the state must prioritize it for the most strategic uses, ensure adequate supplies of…

Washington State Association of Counties reveals property tax challenges in clean energy transition

12/23/23
The Washington State Association of Counties released a report uncovering challenges in the property tax assessment system.

$2.2 Billion later—the Climate Commitment Act’s promise for Washington communities

By Altinay Karasapan 12/15/23
What a historic year 2023 has been for climate action in Washington! The transformational Climate Commitment Act went into effect in January, creating the nation's second economy-wide program to cap emissions and invest in clean…

Gov. Inslee proposes another $941 million for clean energy, climate action in WA

12/11/23
Gov. Jay Inslee proposed on Monday another $941 million for action on climate change, including environmental justice, clean energy and transportation projects, in his 2024 supplemental budget. The budget would tap into stronger-than-expected revenue from…

Washington receives $2.2 million federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant

10/25/23
The Washington State Department of Commerce was awarded a $2.2 million grant from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program, a funding opportunity from the Office of State and Community Energy Programs at…

Energy & Environment

09/18/23
Washingtonians care deeply about preserving and protecting our clean water and air for our families and future generations. Washington is among the leading states in the fight against climate change and growing the state’s clean…

Washington state on track to achieve 100% clean energy by 2045, leaders say

08/18/23
State leaders say Washington is making significant strides toward its goal of achieving 100% clean energy by 2045 through collaborative efforts among government, and local communities, backed by investments in renewable energy projects and power…

WA wins e-fuel and hydrogen power pledges at Paris Air Show

06/19/23
On the opening day of the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee announced that California-based clean energy startup Twelve plans to set up an industrial facility in Moses Lake to…

Twelve announces plans to scale production of sustainable aviation fuel made from CO2 in Washington State

06/19/23
Twelve’s E-Jet fuel is produced using the company’s carbon transformation technology, which uses only renewable energy and water to transform CO2 into critical chemicals and materials conventionally made from fossil fuels. With up to 90%…

Oil demand projected to peak before 2030 thanks to shift toward renewable energy

06/14/23
Global oil demand is slated to peak before the end of the decade, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency, a milestone it attributes to investments in clean energy sources, particularly for…

Solar Panels in Washington: Do Incentives Make Them Worth It?

06/13/23
Washington state's coastal areas are notorious for clouds and rain. Whether that reputation is deserved or not, it raises questions for those looking to get their energy from the sun.

McMorris Rodgers Introduces Bill to Unleash Clean, Reliable Hydropower Through Innovation and Licensing Reform

06/12/23
Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) today introduced the Hydropower Clean Energy Future Act to expand clean, renewable, reliable, and affordable hydropower production in America, as well as to promote the innovation of the…

Inslee signs slew of laws aimed at moving Washington to clean energy

05/04/23
Inslee signed a slew of laws related to moving the state closer to zero emissions at Horn Rapids Solar Farm in Richland Wednesday morning. The solar energy production and storage facility was established in 2020…

As Washington ratchets down emissions and shifts to a renewable energy grid, heat pumps are about to have a huge moment

04/20/23
While engineers and environmental activists have been aware of the climate-friendly potential of heat pumps for years, recent efforts to aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions are bringing the appliances to the forefront of home heating…

Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association Submits Application for US Dept. of Energy Regional Hubs Funding

04/06/23
The Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association (PNWH2) submitted its full Funding Opportunity Application to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today in a bid to become one of the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs under the Infrastructure…

The numbers are in: Washington’s carbon credit auction raised nearly $300M

03/29/23
Washington state's first ever carbon credit auction raised nearly $300 million, according to the Department of Ecology. This is the first year Washington has implemented its new cap-and-invest program. The first auction for those credits…

Washington bill could help ease renewable energy development tensions

03/17/23
In the Pacific Northwest, conversations about renewable energy can get pretty heated. Residents often raise concerns about fragmented wildlife habitats, disturbed cultural resources, and cluttered viewsheds.

RECAP: McMorris Rodgers Showcases Eastern Washington’s Clean Energy Innovation

03/17/23
Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) yesterday welcomed Benji Backer, President of the American Conservation Coalition, to highlight how Eastern Washington is leading the way to secure a cleaner American energy future. Together, the two traveled…

Supporters tout bill adding climate change to Washington’s growth plan as way to reduce emissions

03/15/23
Legislation that would add climate change resiliency as a goal to Washington state’s Growth Management Act drew mostly supportive comments at Tuesday’s public hearing before a Senate committee.

Failing to plan for climate change is planning to fail

03/07/23
More than 1 million new residents have arrived in Washington state over the last decade. To accommodate this growth, and to meet aggressive emissions reduction targets, state and local governments must plan together.

Why officials in the Pacific Northwest are only now deciding how to regulate crypto mining

02/12/23
In a county of just over 100,000 residents, sitting directly below the Grand Coulee Dam, 13 crypto mining operations — think warehouses stacked with networked computers continuously working on complex math equations to earn bitcoin…

Washington Considers Mandating Electric School Buses by 2035

02/10/23
Proposed legislation in Washington state would require school districts to purchase emission-free school buses beginning in 2035, although distance limits and lack of charging infrastructure are potential obstacles.

Washington State Implements Major Programs To Reach Climate Goals

02/02/23
Two climate-related regulatory programs affecting business and industry in Washington state took effect on January 1, 2023. First, the Climate Commitment Act introduces an economywide emissions cap-and-invest program. Second, the Clean Fuels Program will regulate…

Chelan Commissioners Discuss Climate Change Bill In Legislature

01/23/23
Chelan County Commissioners are looking over bills in the state legislature, including one to update the planning framework for climate change.

Washington needs outside help to meet green-energy law

01/17/23
Washington’s climate ambitions rely heavily on undeveloped technology and other states, a Senate committee heard Friday during a hearing on the state’s energy production.

The Climate Commitment Act: Washington’s path to carbon-neutrality by 2050

02/18/22
In 2021, the Washington Legislature passed the Climate Commitment Act, a sweeping bill that directs Ecology to develop and implement a statewide cap-and-invest program to cut carbon pollution.

Washington’s Decisive Decade An Emerging Roadmap for Transportation Decarbonization & Cleaner Air

02/10/22
With the transportation sector accounting for 45% of the state’s emissions, it will receive the majority of upcoming investments from the Climate Commitment Act (CCA). We are firmly in the Decisive Decade for transportation decarbonization…

Avista outlines goal to serve 80% of Washington customers renewable energy starting in 2022

10/06/21
Avista Utilities has filed a plan with state regulators that describes its goals and progress toward clean energy. The Spokane-based subsidiary of Avista Corp. filed the Clean Energy Implementation Plan, or CEIP, on Friday with…

King County Starts to Take Baby Steps on Natural Gas Ban as the World Burns

10/06/21
The week before last, King County Executive Dow Constantine took a swing at natural gas (or, as environmentalists prefer to call it, “fracked gas”) by proposing changes to county building codes that would ban new…

Local Avista customers can expect to see lower utility bills as company sets aggressive renewable energy goal

10/06/21
If you live in Adams County, your Avista utility bill likely occupies a portion of your monthly budget. However, the amount money you set aside for the Spokane-based utility company should begin to shrink starting…

Northwest Power and Conservation Council Sets Aggressive Targets for Renewable Energy

10/02/21
The Northwest Power and Conservation Council has published its draft 2021 Northwest Power Plan, which will guide the development of the Bonneville Power Administration and the regional power grid through 2027.

Washington state county is first in US to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure

07/28/21
A county in Washington state has become the first such jurisdiction in the US to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure, following a lengthy battle over the impact of oil refineries on the local community. In…

SB 5022 – 2021-22

07/12/21
Prefiled for introduction. Jan 11 First reading, referred to Environment, Energy & Technology. (View Original Bill)

SB 5126 – 2021-22

06/09/21
Prefiled for introduction. Jan 11 First reading, referred to Environment, Energy & Technology. (View Original Bill) Jan 19 Public hearing in the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology at 10:30 AM. (Committee Materials)

HB 1091 – 2021-22

06/09/21
Prefiled for introduction. Jan 11 First reading, referred to Environment & Energy. (View Original Bil

Inslee signs climate change legislative package

05/18/21
Gov. Jay Inslee signed a historic climate change legislative package today during a three-stop tour through King County. The governor signed the Climate Commitment Act, environmental justice legislation, a clean fuels standard and bills related…

Washington State plans to phase out new gas cars by 2030

By Adele Peters 05/11/21
The U.K. plans to ban new fossil-fuel-powered cars by 2030. The Netherlands and Germany have the same goal. Now the state of Washington plans to follow, making it the first in the U.S. to move…

Washington state passes bill with goal to phase out gasoline cars

05/11/21
Washington state lawmakers passed a bill on Thursday setting a target to stop sales of gasoline-fueled vehicles there beginning in 2030, five years sooner than California. The target is not a firm mandate and is…

SB 5126 – 2021-22

05/11/21
Concerning the Washington climate commitment act.

HB 1091 – 2021-22

05/11/21
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuel.

Washington state passes bill with goal to phase out gasoline cars

By Reuters 04/16/21
Washington state lawmakers passed a bill on Thursday setting a target to stop sales of gasoline-fueled vehicles there beginning in 2030, five years sooner than California.

Washington State plans to phase out new gas cars by 2030

By Adele Peters 04/15/21
The U.K. plans to ban new fossil-fuel-powered cars by 2030. The Netherlands and Germany have the same goal. Now the state of Washington plans to follow, making it the first in the U.S. to move…

Washington leaders hope to get piece of $2 trillion funding for infrastructure, climate efforts

By King 5 Staff 03/31/21
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is expected to unveil a $2 trillion plan Wednesday afternoon to boost infrastructure, create more jobs and fight climate change. Washington state leaders hope the plan will bring more funding to…

Washington leaders hope to get piece of $2 trillion funding for infrastructure, climate efforts

By King 5 Staff 03/31/21
 President Joe Biden is expected to unveil a $2 trillion plan Wednesday afternoon to boost infrastructure, create more jobs and fight climate change.

Mayor Durkan Transmits Legislation to Ban Fossil Fuels for Heating in New Construction to Further Electrify Buildings Using Clean Energy

01/13/21
Following the State Environmental Policy Act process, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced that she has transmitted to City Council the proposed update to the energy code that would further electrify buildings using clean energy and…

BILL SB 5116

09/18/19
Supporting Washington's clean energy economy and transitioning to a clean, affordable, and reliable energy future.

State Agency Plans, Local and Regional Plans

03/18/19
This page provides an overview of the steps Washington is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Preparing for a Changing Climate: Washington State’s Integrated Climate Response Strategy

03/18/19
By taking action now to respond and adapt to changing climate conditions, Washington can significantly limit the damage and reduce the long-term costs of the climaterelated impacts that are expected to grow in number and…

KEY RESOURCES

Washington Climate Action at Work

03/01/24
Climate change is harming our health, our safety and our economy. Washingtonians are stepping up to be part of the solution.

Cap-and-Invest rules finalized

09/29/22
Washington state reached a major climate action milestone today as the Department of Ecology announced it has finalized Cap-and-Invest regulations:

Washington’s Decisive Decade An Emerging Roadmap for Transportation Decarbonization & Cleaner Air

03/07/22
With the transportation sector accounting for 45% of the state’s emissions, it will receive the majority of upcoming investments from the Climate Commitment Act (CCA). We are firmly in the Decisive Decade for transportation decarbonization…

Washington D.C. Solar Panels: Pricing and Incentives

02/11/22
The nation’s capital has over 16,000 homes powered by solar energy. Washington D.C. derives over 43 percent of its energy from solar sources. The cost of solar panels has lowered by 43 percent over the…

To accelerate the transition to a clean economy with prosperity for all

01/24/22
Clean & Prosperous Washington is a team of business leaders working along with labor, tribes, environmental organizations, and social justice advocates to enact and implement smart climate policies in Washington state. We inform approaches to…

Washington State Profile and Energy Estimates

10/19/21
Washington benefits from access to abundant low-cost energy, and its significant renewable energy resources, especially hydroelectric power, are major contributors to the state's economy. Washington is the nation's largest producer of hydroelectric power and is…

Energy State Bill Tracking Database

09/10/21
The searchable Energy Storage Legislation Database displays information in interactive maps and charts, tracking state activity from 2017 to the present.

Aji P. v. State of Washington

02/15/21
Our Children’s Trust has supported youth plaintiffs in Washington since 2011, most recently in the youth-led constitutional climate case, Aji P. v. State of Washington. Thirteen youth plaintiffs from across the state of Washington filed…

The First National Flood Risk Assessment

10/06/20
The First Street Foundation Flood Model represents the culmination of decades of research and development made possible by building upon existing knowledge and frameworks regularly referenced in the identification of flood risk.

The State of Climate Adaptation in Public Health An Assessment of 16 U.S. States

10/06/20
EcoAdaptpartnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council to assess the state of climate adaptation planning and implementation for climate-related threats to public health in 16 U.S. states.

The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Washington State

09/19/20
Between 2017 and 2019, Washington experienced two major wildfires. The damages of these events led to losses of at least $1 billion.

State-by-State: Climate Change in Washington

08/07/20
Washington is vulnerable to increased heat, ocean acidification, increased wildfire risk and sea level rise

Air & Climate

06/27/19
Washington faces serious impacts to its snowpack, infrastructure, and water supplies as the climate changes and temperatures climb. Protecting our state's fish, farms, and communities from the impacts of climate change is a priority for…

Climate and Health in Washington State

06/07/19
At the Washington State Department of Health, we're working with partners to reduce and respond to the effects of climate change on people's health. The information below describes how climate change can have an impact…

2019 Biennial Energy Report

03/15/19
The 2019 Biennial Energy Report provides the governor and legislature an analysis of energy issues affecting Washington citizens and businesses, along with an update on recommendations made in the last state energy strategy. At this…

MORE NEWS

Washington identifies 16 areas ‘overburdened’ by air pollution

By Venice Buhain   01/03/24  
Sixteen geographic areas around Washington are “overburdened” by air pollution, doubling the risk of early death for residents who live in those places, according to a report released last week by the state Department of…
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Two PNW tribal nations sue oil companies over costs of climate change

By Isabella Breda   12/21/23  
Major oil companies for decades deliberately sought to downplay and discredit scientific warnings about the central role of fossil fuels in causing climate change, alleges two lawsuits filed this week by the Makah and Shoalwater…
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$2.2 Billion later—the Climate Commitment Act’s promise for Washington communities

By Altinay Karasapan   12/15/23  
What a historic year 2023 has been for climate action in Washington! The transformational Climate Commitment Act went into effect in January, creating the nation's second economy-wide program to cap emissions and invest in clean…
Read more

WA adopts new rules to phase out fossil fuels in new construction

By Isabella Breda   11/29/23  
It will soon become nearly impossible to install fossil-fueled appliances to heat new homes and businesses in Washington.
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Washington State Takes New Approach to Help Locals Boost Climate Resilience

By Kristiane Huber   11/28/23  
With its mix of bustling metro areas and varied topography—from rugged coasts and snowcapped mountains to major rivers and expansive semi-arid plains—Washington state is particularly vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate. Flooding is…
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‘Superuser’ states devour climate grants as others get nothing

By Thomas Frank   11/13/23  
A federal climate grant program has been monopolized by five large states that together have collected half of its money, highlighting an uneven disbursement of government funding that often leaves poorer regions with less financial…
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An Innovative Financing Model Is Ensuring Everyone Can Afford a Heat Pump

By Yessenia Funes   11/08/23  
The world just suffered through the hottest October on record amid a year of unprecedented heat. That includes searing temperatures in the Pacific Northwest this past summer. While not as extreme as 2021, when a…
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Clean energy, not expanding gas pipeline, is WA’s future

By The Seattle Times editorial board   10/30/23  
In the fight against climate change, Washington has led by example. State lawmakers have mandated phasing out fossil fuel emissions by 2045 and created one of the few carbon pricing systems in North America to…
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Landfills in Washington and Oregon leaked ‘explosive’ levels of methane last year

By Joseph Winters   10/26/23  
Landfills in Oregon and Washington repeatedly exceeded federal standards for methane emissions last year, according to documents obtained by an environmental group.
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Washington state governor requests federal aid for survivors of August wildfires

By Lisa Baumann   10/06/23  
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has formally requested federal aid and a major disaster declaration to help people recover from deadly wildfire destruction in August in the eastern part of the state.
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WA’s carbon-pricing auctions collect nearly $1.5 billion as allowances reach record price

By Amanda Zhou and Isabella Breda   09/06/23  
The price of Washington’s carbon emission allowances reached an all-time high in the state’s fourth auction last week, with revenue from the program nearing $1.5 billion in its first year.
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What Happens When the Heat Repeats?

By Kylie Mohr   08/24/23  
For two years now, scientists, shellfish managers, and tribes have been working to understand how the heat dome that settled over the Pacific Northwest in the summer of 2021 affected the places where the ocean…
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Washington State Ferries Starts Conversion to Hybrid-Electric Power

08/16/23  
Washington State Ferries (WSF), the largest operating public ferry system in the U.S., is following the European model by converting its operation to hybrid-electric power to decarbonize inland waterways transportation. The company awarded its first…
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Landmark Washington gas ban survives legal challenge

By David Iaconangelo   08/08/23  
Gas utilities and homebuilder groups in Washington state are asking a district judge to dismiss their legal challenge to the first statewide mandate for electric heat pumps in new buildings — a move that could…
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Hop on the bus

07/31/23  
This week an all-electric double-decker bus will embark on a cross-country trip from Newark, CA to Winter Garden, FL, powering up exclusively at public chargers along the way.
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WA gas prices now highest in U.S.; some experts point to new climate legislation

By Isabella Breda and Manuel Villa   06/21/23  
Prices here have been steadily climbing since January, reaching $4.91 per gallon of regular gas on average this week, surpassing the Golden State, the longtime national leader at the pump, according to a Seattle Times…
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Transcript Zero Episode 41: How Three US Governors Approach Climate Action

By Oscar Boyd and Akshat Rathi   06/08/23  
National climate policy gets regular attention, but local and regional governments can make a bigger difference, especially in large countries like the US, India and China. This week, Akshat Rathi speaks with three U.S. governors…
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Washington state hits the brakes on landmark gas ban

By David Iaconangelo   05/25/23  
The delay raises questions about whether additional cities will stand by their efforts to wind down natural gas use in buildings after a key federal court ruling.
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We’re About to See a Rare and Record-Setting May Heat Wave

By Andrea Thompson   05/12/23  
It may still be spring, but baking summer heat is about to hit the famously comfortable Pacific Northwest and western Canada. Starting this weekend, the heat wave will send temperatures soaring 20 to 25 degrees…
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Even as he prepares to leave office, Jay Inslee is pushing for climate action

By Brady Dennis   05/04/23  
In an interview, the Washington governor talks about his role helping to shape state and national climate policies and why his focus on slowing Earth’s warming is as much personal as professional....
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New suite of climate laws continue path to 100% clean energy future

05/03/23  
Washington’s path to 100% clean electricity by 2045 becomes clearer as Gov. Inslee and lawmakers celebrate achievements of this year’s legislative session
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Washington’s climate action a source for optimism this Earth Day

By Governor Jay Inslee   04/22/23  
Earth Day is a global call for leaders to forge ahead with climate action. Never has that call been louder, with the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report projecting dire consequences for the…
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Washington’s updated building codes seen as vital tool to fight climate change

By Lauren Ellenbecker   04/09/23  
Updating building codes might just be one of Washington’s most promising tools in combating climate change.
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Washington cities could soon be required to plan for climate change as they manage growth

By Samantha Wohlfeil   03/30/23  
For more than 30 years, Washington communities have been required to formally plan for the future, with the state's Growth Management Act directing local governments to limit sprawl and focus population growth within existing urban…
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How a small island got world’s highest court to take on climate justice

By Michael Birnbaum   03/29/23  
The small Pacific island nation of Vanuatu won a major victory to advance international climate law Wednesday after it persuaded the U.N. General Assembly to ask the world’s highest international court to rule on the…
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Pink snow is alive in the Cascades, and it’s affected by climate change

By Jack Belcher   03/28/23  
It’s not a trick of the light and you are not going crazy, pink snow does exist. In the spring and summer months, snow in Whatcom County’s mountains can turn pink.
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USDA to spend $197 million to prepare for wildfires brought on by climate change

By Dinah Voyles Pulver   03/20/23  
Federal officials announced $197 million in grants on Monday to help more than 100 communities and tribes across the nation become more resilient to wildfire.
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WA First in Nation to Bring Climate-Change Education to Classrooms

By Eric Tegethoff   03/13/23  
In science teacher Ali Coker’s sophomore biology class, students became farming activists attending a G7 summit. Coker wove in facts about food insecurity, and by the end of the week, her pupils were writing plans…
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WA’s first greenhouse-gas-allowance auction raises estimated $300 million

By Isabella Breda   03/07/23  
Washington’s first auction of greenhouse-gas pollution allowances raised an estimated $300 million in a closely watched sale as companies, consumers and the Legislature get their first glimpse of the cost of emitting in the state.
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Seattle hospital puts patients under without overheating the planet

By John Ryan   02/21/23  
Doctors at Seattle Children’s Hospital say they’ve managed to tame one of the hospital’s biggest environmental impacts. The gases used to sedate patients are extremely powerful at trapping heat and disrupting the global climate.
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The WA cranberry farmer trying to turn the tides of Washaway Beach

By Sarah Trent   02/10/23  
David Cottrell of North Cove has thrown hay bales, stumps and $400 of rocks at the rising coastline. His experiment caught the eye of global experts.
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Grant dollars are seeding the urban forestry push in Washington

By Hannah Weinberger   02/10/23  
As climate change reveals the importance of urban trees, residents in a Tacoma neighborhood with sparse canopy coverage are breaking ground themselves.
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WA will need more clean energy from other states by 2050

By Paige Browning and Katie Campbell   02/08/23  
Washington state aspires to be a leader in clean energy, but its wind, solar and other renewable energy sources can only produce so much.
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Climate change could turn Seattle into an umbrella city

By Christine Clarridge   01/31/23  
Seattle has long been known for its umbrella-shunning ways, but more extreme weather and heavier rain may put that ethos to the test....
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A New Climate Planning Tool for Local Governments

By Matt Rogers   01/18/23  
Washington State is experiencing multiple climate impacts from climate change, and these are expected to intensify in the future, including more frequent and severe heat extremes, reduced spring snowpack, sea level rise, higher stream temperatures,…
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Biden wants ‘green’ economy, but talks fail to revive key aluminum plant

By Steven Mufson   12/16/22  
An equity fund, unions and Washington’s governor all wanted to restart an idle factory needed for the auto industry, but a federal power agency has balked
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‘Atmospheric river’ bringing rain, wind, snow to PNW

11/04/22  
An atmospheric river is bringing strong to damaging winds, heavy rain and below-normal temperatures for the Puget Sound region from Thursday evening through Saturday morning, the National Weather Service said. Snow in the passes is…
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Here’s Where the U.S. Is Testing a New Response to Rising Seas

By Christopher Flavelle   11/02/22  
The van carrying tribal officials veered off the coastal highway, away from the Pacific and onto a dirt path hidden by cedar and spruce trees. After climbing an old logging road, it emerged into a…
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Carbon auctions will bring WA more money than predicted

By David Kroman   10/19/22  
Washington state is likely to collect more than twice as much money from a new carbon credit system over the next three years as originally estimated, possibly setting the Legislature up to spend more on…
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Seattle, a city known for rain, has received barely a drop since early June

By Jennifer Gray   10/18/22  
After a slow start to summer in Seattle – with temperatures consistently running below normal for the month of June – a huge change happened in July and the city has been sizzling since. “Sunday…
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Washington finalizes historic cap-and-invest plan to slash carbon pollution

09/29/22  
Today, Washington is one step closer to drastically reducing the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global climate change, as Ecology finalizes regulations for the state’s first cap-and-invest program.
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‘We Can’t Let the Kids Go Outdoors’: Our New Reality on the West Coast

By Emma Pattee   09/21/22  
We were at Lake Chelan in Washington, on our first big post-pandemic vacation, with our 3-year-old and our 6-week-old baby. Overnight, the wind had brought wildfire smoke from fires in Idaho and Montana. I woke…
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Seattle utility aims to make electric vehicle charging more accessible

By YCC Team   09/09/22  
“The city of Seattle is a relatively older city for the West Coast. And many of our neighborhoods were built before the mid-20th century when the automobile became dominant,” he says. “And so many of…
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Gov. Jay Inslee Is Taking a Well-Earned Climate Victory Lap

By David Wallace-Wells   08/31/22  
The landmark Inflation Reduction Act isn’t even a month old, and though internecine fights continue about its estimated value and likely impact, at the policy level the climate saga appears to have already moved on.…
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Heat, Water, Fire: How Climate Change Is Transforming the Pacific Crest Trail

By Rowan Moore Gerety   08/31/22  
In the desert near Agua Dulce, north of Los Angeles, hikers along the Pacific Crest Trail who reached mile marker 502 encountered a cistern of water that smelled bad and tasted worse, with a dead…
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The Gas Industry Is Pumping Money Into A Tiny Local Race To Crush A Climate Champion

By Alexander C. Kaufman   07/30/22  
By the time Alex Ramel took office in 2020, his fellow Democrats controlled Washington’s House of Representatives and had already divvied up the work on electric vehicles, clean fuels and carbon pricing. So the new…
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WA wildfire prompts evacuations for people in 50 homes

06/29/22  
People in about 50 homes near a wildfire in central Washington were told by law enforcement to leave their homes immediately on Tuesday afternoon. The Grant County Sheriff’s Office said at about 2:45 p.m. that…
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UW, Seattle Public Library, Seattle Public Utilities collaboration uses VR goggles to visualize sea level rise in Seattle

By Hannah Hickey   06/14/22  
“Creative, interactive communication tools like virtual reality experiences offer a powerful way to spark conversations and action around climate change by helping show how a global-scale issue shows up in a very real way in…
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A first step toward high-speed rail in the Pacific Northwest

By Melissa Santos   06/10/22  
Washington state is ponying up $150 million to plan a high-speed rail line connecting Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver, British Columbia — although there's still a long way to go before the project becomes reality.
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Inslee: Feds need to increase nuclear waste cleanup funds

By Nicholas K. Geranios and Ted Warren   06/03/22  
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who has recently criticized the slow pace of cleaning up the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, toured the former nuclear weapons production site on Thursday and said more federal money is needed to…
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