Climate Change2018 Legislative Objectives
Climate change is a global issue. In an effort to avoid duplicative and costly regulations, AWB continues to support a single national program as the best approach to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The lack of a federal policy has prompted increased calls from some sectors for state action to meet the current statutory goal of a 50% reduction in emissions by 2050.
Washington businesses are committed to reducing the environmental impacts of their operations and contributing to a global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To that end, Washington policy makers and businesses have already taken proactive measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including establishing statutory standards addressing: renewable energy and the Renewable Portfolio Standard, emission performance, energy efficiency, vehicle emissions, renewable fuel standards, and Clean Energy Fund projects.
Washington’s share of the world’s GHG emissions is less than three-tenths of one percent (.003), causing a negligible impact on climate change. Pricing carbon alone will not guarantee a reduction in emissions, and the state’s pursuit of additional policies to directly regulate GHG emissions would threaten some types of capital investment. Until a national program encourages emissions reductions without endangering Washington State’s economy, state-only limits or pricing actions will increase overall emissions and exacerbate the climate challenge as jobs and businesses move to less-regulated states. However, AWB’s members recognize the potential for Washington State to adopt policies addressing carbon emissions and the increasing interest of Washington’s citizens to take action to address carbon emissions and their impacts. Any carbon policy must be consistent with the principles below to ensure Washington State’s businesses and economy remain globally competitive and to recognize the actions already taken by Washington businesses and industries to reduce carbon emissions.
Washington should not enact emission reduction targets without recognizing that Washington starts from a cleaner baseline compared to other economies and should not be calculated using consumption-based methodologies in the electricity sector, as this administration has done. This methodology means Washington takes responsibility for emissions occurring outside the state, increasing our emissions profile and not allowing us full credit for emission reductions happening in the state (i.e. retirement of Centralia’s coal-fired generators). This methodology is different than that used by federal agencies and many other jurisdictions and is not appropriate for setting emission reduction targets for Washington.
1. A single federal policy for regulating or pricing carbon emissions is preferable to states devising their own policies.
2. If state policy makers want to further greenhouse gas reduction strategies, they must afford businesses regulatory certainty and compliance flexibility. It’s imperative that greenhouse gas reduction strategies complement existing policies, do not impose inefficient costs on Washington businesses or residents, and are not duplicative or layered upon regulations at the federal, state or local levels. The current Clean Air Rule does not meet these criteria and should be repealed.
3. Energy Intensive, Trade Exposed businesses including the state’s major manufacturers should be protected. EITE’s must be exempted from any price on carbon in order to limit leakage and protect the state’s manufacturing industry and family wage manufacturing jobs.
4. To meet statutory emissions reduction targets, opportunities to increase hydropower, nuclear energy, biomass, biogas, hydrogen, renewable natural gas, renewable propane, and other low-carbon emitting sources of energy should be supported.
5. Cost impacts resulting from carbon regulation should be transparent at the point of sale to end-use consumers.
6. Revenues should not supplant programs currently supported by General Fund, and should retain a direct nexus to carbon reduction, adaptation and resiliency.
7. Emission limits must be considerate of the technologies available to meet them, and should not penalize those early adopters of the best reduction technologies.
8. If a carbon pricing policy is adopted that results in cost impacts on the business community, a portion of the proceeds of such a policy should be directed towards carbon reduction programs that help to offset those cost impacts on businesses.
9. Revenue allocation should support innovation and technology in carbon reduction, energy efficiency, and energy conservation. Opportunities to sequester and/or provide long-term storage of carbon must be recognized, especially those in forestry and agricultural sectors, which are so central to our state’s economy.
10. If a federal carbon price is adopted, the state policy should sunset.
For More InformationFor questions, please contact AWB’s Gary Chandler at 1.800.521.9325.
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