Inslee pushes for limits on carbon pollution emissions | THE PETRI DISH

Nothing like a few days away from the office to get one’s spirit rejuvenated and energy recharged. For Gov. Jay Inslee, it came in a trip to Paris, where he attended the international confab on climate change.

Nothing like a few days away from the office to get one’s spirit rejuvenated and energy recharged.

For Gov. Jay Inslee, it came in a trip to Paris, where he attended the international confab on climate change.

He hung out with folks who share his view that climate change poses the greatest threat to the continued existence of humanity on this planet, folks obsessed with slowing the damage through every political and regulatory means possible.

The experience refueled Inslee’s confidence that reducing emissions of pollution-causing carbon and other greenhouse gases is a concern among leaders of cities, states, provinces and nations worldwide.

“I don’t want to be too carried away by this moment,” he told reporters on a conference call Tuesday. “This has been an inspirational group that I’ve been talking to the last few days in Paris. I’m glad I’m here.”

Inslee returned to Olympia Wednesday, a place where he’s thus far failed to move any significant carbon emission reduction legislation due to opposition from Republicans and reluctance of his fellow Democrats.

Now he’s trying to do so by rewriting the state’s clean air rules, a strategy which isn’t subject to legislative approval. But this effort may wind up helping clean the air above Quebec City or Los Angeles before it does Everett or Seattle.

At Inslee’s direction, the Department of Ecology is crafting the rule to establish limits on the amount of carbon pollution emissions for 31 companies and investor-owned utilities representing Washington’s largest emitters of pollutants.

Over time, the cap for each emitter will be slowly reduced. Companies will be required to meet their first emission reduction deadline in 2020.

At that time, companies or utilities that exceed their assigned cap can avoid penalties by investing in other pollution-reduction efforts in the state.

Or, they may be able to comply by going out of state and purchasing carbon pollution credits in cap-and-trade markets operating in places like California or the province of Quebec.

In other words, a company could avoid punishment for polluting too much in Washington by helping reduce pollution somewhere else in the world.

“We have made no final decisions,” Inslee said. But the rule would reduce carbon pollution and reduce costs for Washington businesses doing their best to meet the standards, he said.

“Our air becomes cleaner any time we reduce air pollution anywhere in the world,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where coal is burned it, ends up in our water in Puget Sound and in our kids’ lungs. Perhaps not so much the particulates, but the carbon dioxide is a worldwide phenomenon.

“So, when we (eliminate) a ton of coal being burned in Quebec it has an impact on improving our situation in Washington,” he said.

A draft of the rule is expected to be released in the next few weeks, followed by months of review and public hearings before possible adoption in late 2016.

Political reporter Jerry Cornfield’s blog, The Petri Dish, is at www.heraldnet.com. Contact him at 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com and on Twitter at @dospueblos

More in Opinion

Stan Lee’s Message Lives On | Tyrades!

My lunch got off to a bad start on November 12 because… Continue reading

Blue Wave Meets Red Wall: Split decision for a Divided Nation | Dick Polman

Charles Dickens wrote this about the French Revolution: “It was the best… Continue reading

The Issues That Won’t Go Away | Robert C. Koehler

How much real change manifested itself in the 2018 midterms? How deeply… Continue reading

Dogs Get Their Day in Florida Voting | Peter Funt

FORT MYERS, Florida - Amid the brouhaha over senate and gubernatorial voting,… Continue reading

Hillary Clinton’s Defeat Became a Pink Wave | Matthew Johnson

This year Cambridge Scholar Publishers issued a book edited by Barry University… Continue reading

Activists Looking Beyond Midterm Elections | Rob Okun

Since Donald Trump’s selection as president two years ago, a growing movement… Continue reading

In remembrance: Stan Lee

Cartoonists from around the world penned tributes this week to Stan Lee,… Continue reading

Paying public officials what they are worth | Letter to the editor

To the editor: In the Oct. 5, 2018 edition of the Islander,… Continue reading

Bainbridge council is making a short-sighted choice | Letter to the editor

To the editor: I just returned home from my volunteer job at… Continue reading

Most Read