Climate Justice is the work we do to confront the climate crisis. While Washington State is a small proportion of the world population and economy, there are actions we can take to show leadership in solving the climate crisis. Some of the major issues we confront are listed in the menu item “Our Work.” Recent changes in the state’s action on climate can be seen in the news items posted below. Also, follow current legislative activity that we are tracking at our Carbon Pollution Accountability page in the legislative advocacy section.
Climate change affects all of us, but its consequences are not distributed equally. Climate impacts exacerbate existing inequities in society, whether they are related to poverty, gender, race or ethnicity, ability, or other factors. The slow-onset impacts of climate change are displacing communities and having severe impacts on human rights — the right to health, food security, water and sanitation, life, religious expression, and culture, among others.
Often, grassroots, frontline communities have the best and most appropriate solutions to these challenges. At the same time, these communities receive the smallest share of funding and are sidelined by state and international decision makers.
President Trump has made eliminating federal regulations a priority. His administration, with help from Republicans in Congress, has often targeted environmental rules it sees as burdensome to the fossil fuel industry and other big businesses.
The Elders call on the world to wake up to the threats of nuclear war and climate disaster as they unveil the 2020 Doomsday Clock. Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders and former President of Ireland, and Ban Ki-moon, Deputy Chair of The Elders and former United Nations Secretary-General, today joined experts from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists for the unveiling of the Doomsday Clock in Washington DC, an annual assessment of the existential risks faced by humanity. The Clock’s hands were moved forward to 100 seconds to midnight - the closest to midnight they have been since they were first set in 1947. The decision takes into account the precarious state of nuclear arms controls, the growing threat of climate disaster, and how these can be compounded by disruptive new technologies. Read more here.
HB 2427 adds climate change to the planning goals that guide the development and adoption of city and county comprehensive plans and development regulations under the Growth Management Act (GMA). It requires the consideration of the climate change planning goal by regional transportation planning organizations and in countywide planning policies under the GMA. Arguments for and against the bill are summarized below. Please look at them for ideas about how to support the bill. You can take action on this bill by clicking on the link, HB 2427, pressing the button “Comment on this bill,” go to the comment page, and putting in some information. You will then verify your district and address your representatives, by pressing on the “Support” button and putting in a comment.
On January 21, 2020, the Washington State House Committee on Environment and Energy held a hearing on HB 2472, a bill for comprehensive reporting of carbon emissions from fossil fuel production, gathering, processing, storage, distribution, and combustion. The bill requires that new projects produce no net increase in emissions estimated over 20 and 100 years. Arguments for and against the bill are summarized below. Please look at them for ideas about how to support the bill. You can take action on this bill by clicking on the link, HB 2472, pressing the button “Comment on this bill,” going to the comment page, and putting in some information. You will then verify your district and address your representatives, by pressing on the “Support” button and putting in a comment.
When a government wants to build a toxic waste incinerator in your neighborhood, bulldoze homes to build smog-producing highways, or run pipelines through ancestral Native American lands, a federal law gives you the right to find out and fight back.
That law is the National Environmental Policy ACT (NEPA), and the fossil fuel industry cronies in the Trump administration just announced plans to gut NEPA’s protections. Earthjustice is taking a stand against changes that would radically undermine NEPA — and we need your help.
More info here.
Crosscut, by Shauna Sowersby / January 17, 2020
Twelve years after the Washington Legislature first codified limits on greenhouse gas emissions, lawmakers are considering a new bill that would establish even stricter state targets.
The original legislation, passed in 2008, sought to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, a goal that the state has not met. In fact, emissions are 8% higher than 1990 levels.
Still, policymakers insist that increasing targets is a necessary step toward combating climate change.
Read more here.
A federal court threw out a permit Tuesday that the pipeline's owners needed to build a natural gas compressor station in Union Hill, a community founded by freed slaves after the Civil War. In doing so, the judges sided with the community and their lawyers, who argued that the compressor would disproportionately harm the health of the mostly African American residents who would live near the station, The Associated Press reported.
The judges' decision marks the eighth time since May 2018 that a permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been tossed or suspended, according to the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), which represented Friends of Buckingham in the case.
Read more here.
For Background: In 2008, Washington enacted legislation (RCW 70.235) that set a series of limits on the emission of greenhouse gases within the state: quote:
- By 2020, reduce overall emissions of greenhouse gases in the state to 1990 levels;
- By 2035, reduce overall emissions of greenhouse gases in the state to twenty-five percent below 1990 levels;
- By 2050, the state will do its part to reach global climate stabilization levels by reducing overall emissions to fifty percent below 1990 levels, or seventy percent below the state's expected emissions that year. End quote.
- 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2030,
- 70 percent below 1990 levels by 2040, and
- 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
On January 16, the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology held a hearing on SB 5412, the Clean Fuels Bill that is a companion to HB 1110. Over 40 witnesses testified, with slightly more than half in favor and nearly half opposed. Most of the opposition came from business and farm interests as well as some construction unions. Support came from environmental groups, King County municipalities (Burien and Kirkland) and utilities. You can take action by clicking on the links on both the House and Senate bills, HB 1110 and SB 5412, and then clicking on the “Comment on this bill” button in each. Put in some personal information to locate your representatives and then click on “Support” and add a comment.
On Wednesday, January 15, the Washington State Senate passed the Zero Emissions Vehicle Bill 5811 and sent it to the House, where it will probably be heard in the Environment and Energy Committee. SB 5811 authorizes the Department of Ecology (DOE) to adopt California zero emission vehicle program regulations. Currently, California has a quota of 22% ZEVs by 2025, and there is a proposal to make the quota 100% by 2050.
You can take action on this bill. Click on the link SB 5811 and click on the button "Comment on this Bill." That will take you to a page where you fill in personal information, find your representatives, and send them a message to support the bill.
On January 16, 2020, the Washington State House Environment Committee held a hearing on HB 2248, the community solar bill. Most organizations supported the bill as a major contribution to Washington’s climate policy, but there was some opposition. Arguments for and against are summarized below, please look at them for information and comment. A companion bill, SB 6223, had a hearing January 22 in the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology (see arguments below). Click on the bill numbers for more information or to take action; click on "Comment on this bill." This will take you to a page where you put in some information to find your representative, and then click on "support" and put in a comment.
IF THERE EVER WAS A MOMENT TO GET INVOLVED, IT IS NOW. MAKE YOUR 2020 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION TO BE PART OF OUR PLAN TO WIN THE GREEN NEW DEAL! Sign Up Now.
2020 is going to be a turning point for our generation’s future, but whether it goes our way is up to us. Scientists around the world are clear: inaction on the climate crisis will be a death sentence for millions of people. For the first time in our lives, we have an opportunity to elect a President who will stand up to fossil fuel billionaires and fight with the urgency science demands to give all of us a chance at a just and prosperous future.
But to make that a reality, it’s going to take all of us. We need millions of young people along with allies of all ages to join climate strikes, organize their communities and then turn out in force in November. From small towns to cities to Washington DC, we need to make the climate crisis and the Green New Deal the defining issues of the 2020 election.
"All of us" can’t just include you, me and people already in Sunrise. That won’t be enough. That’s why we need people everywhere to kick off the new year by hosting a gathering and inviting your community – your friends, your families, your classmates – to share the vision of the Green New Deal and learn how we can all be part of a movement powerful enough to win it.
Whether you’re just learning about the Green New Deal for the first time or ready to go all-in for 2020, we want you to hold a 2020 launch party in late January!
GOAL: 2000 LAUNCH PARTIES
CURRENT TALLY: 1494 AND COUNTING!
A screen (a laptop, a TV or a projector);
A handful of people from your dorm, class, workplace or neighborhood
Two epic mini-documentaries taking us through what’s at stake, why we need a Green New Deal and our plan to win; and,
A suggested format for the evening and all the support and training you need to pull it off with confidence
What we do in these next 12 months will shape the course of human history for centuries to come. Let's get to work!
BELLINGHAM, Wash. — As a progressive-minded city nestled where the Cascade mountains reach the sea, Bellingham, Wash., has long been looking to scale back its contribution to climate change. In recent years, city leaders have converted the streetlights to low-power LEDs, provided bikes for city employees and made plans to halt the burning of sewage solids.
But while the efforts so far have lowered the city’s emissions, none have come close to erasing its carbon footprint. Now, Bellingham is looking to do something that no other city has yet attempted: adopt a ban on all residential heating by natural gas.Read more here.
Two climate bills that did not pass in 2019 are likely to be reintroduced in 2020:
HB 1110, Clean Fuels: this bill is proposed to limit the greenhouse gas emissions per unit of transportation fuel energy to 10 percent below 2017 levels by 2028 and 20 percent below 2017 levels by 2035. It passed the house but was returned by the senate and did not get out of the rules committee. There is strong opposition by petroleum interests.
SB 5811, Zero Emissions Vehicles: proposes to adopt California zero emission vehicle program regulations. (Note: California requires 22% of new vehicles sold in 2025 to be zero emissions vehicles, and there is a proposal for 100% by 2040.) It also encourages utilities to build a charging infrastructure, and extends incentives for purchase of EVs.
Please click on the blue bill number links, and watch for scheduled hearings.
WA Dept of Ecology, December 19, 2019
With new research predicting that climate change will cause serious damage to Washington’s environment and economy, the Washington Department of Ecology is recommending the state make deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and eliminate nearly all sources of carbon pollution by 2050.
Ecology based its new recommendations on the steps identified by international scientists and researchers at the University of Washington as necessary to limit the impacts of climate change. That research says that warming by just 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, will mean a 38% decline in Washington’s snowpack, a 23% drop in summer stream flows, and a 1.4-foot rise in sea level. Those changes will mean major challenges to our state’s water supplies, hydroelectric power generation, and coastal communities.
Read more here.
For The Wild is an anthology of the Anthropocene; focused on land based protection, co-liberation and intersectional storytelling rooted in a paradigm shift from human supremacy towards deep ecology.
This is a series of radio programs interviewing a number of activists and leaders on a variety of justice issues, most particular those of indigenous communities and the struggles to protect the Earth and its human and nature communities.
State attorneys general have mounted a vigorous defense against the administration’s assaults on our environmental, climate and clean energy values. Since the start of the Trump administration, state attorneys general have taken 300 actions to advance laws and policies covering air, water, toxics, clean energy and other environmental issues. They have exposed the administration’s efforts for what they are: unsupportable, poorly reasoned attempts to twist the law and the facts so that fossil fuel and other industry interests can shift climate and conventional pollution risks to the rest of us, typically under the false guise of harmless “deregulatory” actions.
Thankfully, state attorneys general have created an effective defensive shield that, to date, has blunted the worst of the administration’s anti-environmental agenda. Out of 28 environmental cases tracked by the NYU Institute for Policy Integrity, for example, the administration has won only once. But the most significant battles are now getting underway. More danger lies ahead; the fight is far from over.
Read more here.
BY Courtney Flatt, Northwest News Network
A new energy storage project is in the works near eastern Washington’s Chief Joseph Dam on the Columbia River. The project is expected to bring construction jobs to the region. But the nearby Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation worry it would harm important cultural areas.
The Pearl Hill battery project would work like this: When there’s extra energy on the grid, it would pump water stored behind the dam in the Columbia River — known as Rufus Woods Lake — to a smaller reservoir up high. Then, when more energy is needed (like when people come home from work), it could generate power by releasing that stored water through a hydro turbine back into the lake.
Amazon Watch, DECEMBER 21, 2019 by LEILA SALAZAR-LÓPEZ
Amazon Watch was at COP25 in Madrid alongside indigenous youth, women, and elected leaders to amplify indigenous peoples' voices and protect the Amazon, both are urgent and necessary to address the climate crisis. Together, we participated in public events across Madrid, including the Minga Indígena, the alternative indigenous peoples summit; the Social Summit for the Climate; and the historic March for the Climate on December 6, where indigenous peoples led over 500,000 people through the streets of Madrid. Watch and share this beautiful video by Indigenous Climate Action.
While the theme of COP25 was "Time for Action", world leaders failed to live up to this motto to address the climate emergency we are all facing. It is disappointing and enraging that instead of reaching an ambitious agreement to keep warming from reaching 1.5°C, world leaders debated false solutions and delayed action until COP26 in Glascow next November. It is a confirmation that the true leadership is among civil society which is demanding and taking action for climate justice and for all of our collective future!
Read more here.