This week I had the great fortune to be able to attend a Climate Solutions meeting in Seattle where their ED, Gregg Small, discussed their near- and long-term priorities for moving forward on climate change policies and strategies.
If you are not familiar with Climate Solutions, they are a northwest-based, policy oriented nonprofit that provides leadership and engagement on climate issues that they also bring to the national level. Some of their primary areas of effort include promoting development and implementation of clean fuel technologies, energy efficiency, and advocating for carbon pricing and other policies that help support carbon emissions reductions.
Gregg outlined a series of priorities in the coming few years that are key to reducing the northwest’s carbon footprint and making us a leader in climate change response, including:
-Supporting the realization and implementation of the recent climate change agreement signed by the Governors of Washington, Oregon and California and the Premier of British Columbia that will, among other things, establish a carbon pricing strategy for these three states and province.
-Help transition the northwest from coal to clean energy, with an ultimate goal of having none of our energy coming from coal, and rejecting coal export efforts. You can read more about coal export issues in Actions 74, 77, 81 and 82 and others in my blog. Climate Solutions’ New Energy Cities Program is a strong example of how Climate Solutions is working to highlight, support and grow clean and renewable energy and energy efficiency policies in our urban areas.
-Support and grow coalitions that can work together effectively and with a unified voice on transitioning from fossil fuels and demanding effective climate policies, including establishing durable networks between nonprofits and labor movements.
We know that in many ways, Washington and the northwest are leaders in the US on climate change policies; the most recent pact among our west coast states and province exemplifies this leadership. As Gregg pointed out, we really have the opportunity to shine the light on the path for the country as as whole towards best practices and reducing emissions. However, we have our own internal challenges as well: while our Governor is strongly on board with this mission, our legislature is less consistently so. Pollster Dave Metz was present at this meeting to talk about public opinion on climate actions, and he showed clearly that there is huge public support for divesting from fossil fuels and towards clean energy: but we need to transmit that message loudly and clearly to our elected officials to make sure they are supporting this path.