The Climate Commitment Act, SB 5126, was passed by the Washington State Legislature on April 24, the first climate legislation in the country to pave the way to net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050. The historic and carefully crafted cap-and-invest legislation is now on its way to Governor Jay Inslee to be signed into law.
Bill Sponsor Senator Reuven Carlyle and House Environment Committee Chair Representative Joe Fitzgibbon worked closely with members of both houses to ensure the legislation would put both a decreasing cap on carbon and on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while making significant investments in new infrastructure, transit, agriculture, forestry and shipbuilding projects. The bill puts a hard cap on carbon emissions and lowers that cap year by year.
Sally Jewell, Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior, joined the many voices supporting this legislation.
“To protect our valuable natural resources, our mountain snowpack and our oceans, we need climate action now. The Climate Commitment Act puts Washington squarely in a leadership role in combating climate change and protecting the natural places we all love,” she said.
Importantly, the Climate Commitment Act includes several provisions to prioritize historically overburdened communities, including establishment of an Environmental Justice Council.
“The impacts of climate change will not be borne equally or fairly, between rich and poor, women and men, and older and younger generations,” said Paula Sardinas of the Washington Build Back Black Alliance. By passing SB 5126, she told legislators, “we are going to leave our children a far better planet than the one we all inherited.”
The Act is modeled after the only solution proven to ensure the state not only meets its carbon emissions goals, but also stimulates economic returns and generates substantial investments for overburdened communities. Integrated with a future transportation funding package, Senate Bill 5126 will also be the state’s largest investment in mobility and climate protection, generating billions of dollars of investments into a transition to a low-carbon economy.
News item from Clean & Prosperous Washington