Rail Bite #5 - SR will cut Greenhouse Gas EmissionsOur Solutionary Rail Team has compiled Rail Bite 5 on "Solutionary Rail as a solution to Greenhouse Gas Emissions." Rail Bites are easy to digest morsels of info for busy policymakers, educating them on different aspects of electrified freight rail. Please share this with your elected officials and policymakers working on transportation, energy, and climate - and don't forget to SHARE on social media. Sign up to be a SR Ambassador and keep the momentum building!
The climate strikes of September 20, 2019 involved millions of people all over the world: at least 900 strikes in the U.S. and more than a dozen in Washington State. In Seattle, the largest strike in Washington involved more than 5000, including 2000 from Amazon who converged with those coming from Capitol Hill to city hall. Signs carried by marchers included "Our Children's Future," “If you don’t act like adults We will,” “Act now or swim later,” and “Not the hot girl summer I had in mind,” based on an internet meme. Speakers at city hall emphasized the urgency of the crisis and called for zero emissions by 2030. Just prior to the strike, CEO Jeff Bezos of Amazon said that the company would try to reach zero net emissions by 2040 but his employees demanded faster action.
The petrochemical refinery would be larger than any currently operating methanol facility in the world, and would use more natural gas each day than all of the power plants in Washington combined. It would manufacture methanol from natural gas and ship it to China to make plastics. The refinery would produce up to 3.6 million metric tons of methanol per year.
Cowlitz County approves the shoreline permits. It's now up to the Dept of Ecology to approve or deny the project. Sign Columbia Riverkeeper's petition to the DOE or contact the DEO yourself asking them to reject this project!
The Sierra Club, in conjunction with the youth group Sunrise Movement, has organized national action on the Green New Deal, which has also been endorsed by the UUA (see below). Sierra Club leaders are hosting debate watching parties, where people interested in pressuring the Democratic National Committee to approve a climate debate are being recruited. Sierra Club leaders are also organizing constituent visits, with members of Congress during the August recess, to discuss the Green New Deal. The club has organized a coach-activist network which will help prepare activists understand and promote the Green New Deal. For more information, click on https://www.sierraclub.org/resist/growing-green-new-deal-mobilization
After the UUA General Assembly passed an Action of Immediate Witness endorsing the Green New Deal (see below), the UU Ministry for Earth (UUMFE) began actions to work for passage of the Green New Deal. The UUMFE has organized climate activists by state and region and appointed coordinators for each. JUUstice Washington Climate Lead Bill McPherson will be the Washington State and Pacific West coordinator. Each month there will be Climate Roundtable Conversations via Zoom teleconferencing, organized as follows:
- August, November, February and May: State networks
- September, December, March and June: Regional networks
- October, January, April and July: National network
Starting with the premise “the Green New Deal manifests key UU values — both “the interdependent web” and “justice, equity, and compassion”— the UUA passed an Action of Immediate Witness (AIW) on June 22, 2019 at the General Assembly in Spokane, Washington. Among the actions that UUA recommended:
- Network with UU state action networks, national groups like UUJEC [UUs for a Just Economic Community], UUMFE [UU Ministry for the Earth], and UUSJ [UUs for Social Justice, the DC group], or sign up at www.createclimatejustice.net.
- Participate in the Sept. 15-17, 2019, conference in Washington, DC, on a Green New Deal” (www.uujec.com/gndconference);
- Form alliances with local groups working on aspects of a Green New Deal or national supporters like The Sunrise Movement, Extinction Rebellion, 350.org, The Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, We Are Still In, Citizens Climate Lobby;
- Obtain background information from groups like The Post Carbon Institute, Data for Progress, Inside Climate News, Peoples Policy Project, Oil Change International;
- Organize congregational projects that align with the Green New Deal;
- Actively support the development of federal legislation to implement the Green New Deal as envisioned in H.Res. 109.
Governor James Inslee signed all of the following climate bills May 7:
The House and Senate have passed HB 1444, which sets Appliance Efficiency Standards. This bill adopts a series of new standards for both water and energy efficiency for various household appliances and fixtures. This will result in major reductions in energy and water use over time. Within the first 15 years we will save an estimated 150 billion gallons of water and avoid 5986 thousand metric tons of CO2 emissions.
The House and the Senate passed HB 1257, a smorgasbord of building efficiency provisions that require buildings in Washington state to meet increasing building efficiency standards, provide chargers for electric cars, and encourage utilities to offer renewable natural gas to customers. Building efficiency is one of the remaining issues to be addressed in reducing carbon emissions; other bills such as 5116 address electricity and 1110 addresses transportation.
The House and Senate have passed ESHB 1578 and it was signed by Governor Inslee. This bill specifies permit requirements for oil tankers, requires tug escorts, assesses threats of oil tankers to Orcas and other wildlife in straits. It passed the House 70-28 and the Senate by 32-13.
ESHB 1112 passed the House and Senate and it was signed by Governor Inslee. The bill would phase out use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) over the next five years, as follows:
- January 1, 2020, for propellants, foam blowing agents such as polyurethane or spray foam, and supermarket systems, stand-alone systems, remote condensing units, and vending machines;
- January 1, 2021, for refrigerated food processing and dispensing equipment, compact residential consumer refrigeration products, polystyrene extruded boardstock and billet, and rigid polyurethane low-pressure two component spray foam;
- January 1, 2022, for residential consumer refrigeration products, except compact and built-in residential consumer refrigeration products;
- January 1,2023, for built-in consumer refrigeration products and cold storage warehouses; and
- January 1, 2024, for centrifugal chillers and positive displacement chillers.
The Senate and House have passed ESSB 5116, the Clean Energy bill. It was signed by Governor Inslee. It would set deadlines for reduction of fossil fuel use in electric generation: phasing out coal by 2025, making generation carbon neutral by 2030 and use of renewable energy only by 2045. The governor is planning a signing ceremony sometime during the next week.
Both the House and the Senate have passed HB 1512 that would incentivize utilities’ installation of electric vehicle infrastructure. (Note: EV infrastructure consists primarily of chargers, which would extend the range of EVs and make them more feasible for longer trips). On March 12, the bill passed the House with a 65-33 vote, and the Senate by a 36-11 vote. Governor Inslee signed the bill on April 23 and it goes into effect July 28, 2019.