Legislative Effort to Reduce Carbon Emissions

[AUDIO] COVID-19 and the economy are center-stage this year, but state lawmakers haven’t forgotten that most Washington citizens rank the climate challenge near the top of their priority lists. Dan Frizzell from the House Democratic Caucus has more.

Say “carbon” in reference to climate change, and smokestacks and tailpipes are likely to come to mind. But we could be pointing the finger in the wrong direction. State Representative Alex Ramel, a Democrat from Bellingham, says about a quarter of Washington’s carbon emissions come from homes, offices, schools, and other buildings. That’s mostly because so many use natural gas for heating, and along with Governor Inslee and colleagues in the House and Senate, he’s announced an effort to dial that number down. His House Bill 1084, the Healthy Homes and Clean Buildings Act, is how he plans to do it.

RAMEL: “That’s the most difficult sector to tackle. It’s the only sector that’s still growing rapidly in terms of our carbon pollution, and we can’t achieve our state’s climate goals without careful planning and real action to decarbonize buildings.”

Healthy Homes and Clean Buildings is a multi-pronged effort that would curtail the use of natural gas over time, set new standards for residential and commercial heating, and create incentives to help homeowners transition to cleaner electricity. Ramel’s bill gets a public hearing Thursday in the House Environment and Energy Committee. In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.