December 14, 2015
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As Paris group sets global carbon reduction goal, Washington employers are leading without new mandates



Gov. Jay Inslee returned from the international climate conference in Paris last week energized and inspired to reduce global carbon emissions through new regulations on Washington employers. Among his new proposals: allowing the state to trade pollution credits with Canada, and increasing the purchase of electric cars for government fleets.

On Saturday, nearly 200 nations, including the Obama administration, approved a first-of-its-kind agreement to reduce carbon emissions globally. The Associated Press has this summary: “The world is about to go on a carbon diet. It won’t be easy — or cheap.”

The Department of Ecology is scheduled to release its draft carbon cap plan sometime this month, perhaps as early as Friday. Gov. Inslee recently met with AWB’s executive committee, saying that he believes Washington employers have done nothing to reduce carbon. Olympia Business Watch has more on that meeting, including a rebuttal with extensive details on the great strides already taken by Washington employers to reduce carbon.

The Washington Climate Collaborative notes that one positive outcome from the Paris agreement is that it includes India, China and other developing nations. Any meaningful carbon reductions must include these countries, since even the most optimistic reductions in Washington state’s carbon output would be wiped out by ongoing carbon-intensive development in China.

The WCC also said the agreement highlights the need for the Washington Department of Ecology to refine its statewide carbon measurement and projections.

Brandon Houskeeper is leading AWB’s response to the new carbon regulations, including working with the Washington Climate Collaborative on spreading the word about the strong reductions in carbon and increases in energy efficiency Washington employers have already implemented without new top-down regulations. Contact Brandon to learn more.

AWB President Kris Johnson and Daren Konopaski, vice president and business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 302, have a column in Sunday’s Everett Herald on employers’ efforts on carbon reduction.

AWB and the Washington Climate Collaborative are continuing to meet with the governor and his policy advisors on how to continue Washington’s strong record of reducing carbon emissions through innovation and voluntary efficiency investments – and without adding new, unnecessary top-down government regulations.

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Leading Without New Top-Down Mandates

Recognize success industries are having in cutting CO2

By Kris Johnson, AWB president, and Daren Konopaski, vice president and business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 302

It is true this year's drought and wildfire season wreaked havoc on the state, a point that Gov. Jay Inslee makes while promoting his government-centric carbon emissions reduction plan. But the governor's labeling of those who disagree with the details of his plan as "fear mongers" is not fair.

There is no denying there is more work ahead, but there is also no denying that Washington employers and their employees are already leading the way toward the cleaner future that Gov. Inslee -- and frankly all Washingtonians -- so strongly desire.

Gov. Inslee has continued to say "it's time to lead," but Washington employers and employees are already leading the way toward environmental solutions that work -- without top-down, bureaucratic mandates that raise taxes on everyday citizens but don't solve the problem.

Click here to read the full op-ed in The Herald
Delays Hurt Workers and Economy

State should speed up permits for export docks

By Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch

While our neighbors to the north and south of Washington watch their port infrastructure grow and flourish, our state -- the most export-dependent in the nation -- is improbably holding up billions of dollars in private infrastructure development that would only help us compete with California and Canada.

The delay with regard to the export terminal expansions in Bellingham and Longview is patently unacceptable. Proposed projects and potential investments in this state should benefit from a fair, timely and predictable review process. Yet that is not the case with these projects, whose review has been in process for three years and subject to numerous, ongoing delays.

It is one thing to politically disagree with these projects on the basis of exporting a particular commodity -- in this case, coal -- and to express concern over the environmental standards to which these projects must adhere. It is quite another to attempt to bind these projects with endless government bureaucracy and red tape in hopes that the investors will give up and go elsewhere. Our competition is ready and willing to accept new business and is making the needed investments to do so.
Click here to read the full column in The Olympian
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