Business is leading on climate issues, clean energy and reducing carbon emissions

An op-ed in the Everett Herald today recognizes private sector leadership in addressing climate change. Association of Washington Business president Kris Johnson and Daren Konopaski, vice president and business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 302, make the case. 

Employers and workers have made it abundantly clear they share the governor’s goal of lowering carbon emissions, even if they disagree about the effectiveness of the governor’s proposed carbon cap.

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.

The commentary cites more examples than we can list here. We recommend reading the whole thing. And consider this:

…Washington emits less carbon dioxide today than it did in 1990, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, despite adding 2 million new residents since then — and our state has the eighth greenest economy in the nation.

That didn’t happen by accident. Working together with their employees, Washington employers have proven to be innovators and responsible partners in our shared effort to build a great economy while protecting valuable natural resources including air, water, wildlife and forests….

Former AWB president Don Brunell devotes his column this week to Washington’s progress in environmental protection. More statistics:

…Washington’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions are already 36 percent lower than the national average even though our state’s population grew by 500,000 from 2005-2011. Furthermore, we are now within 3 percent of meeting our state’s aggressive 2020 GHG emission’s goal and progress continues.

The two commentaries were, in part, a response to the governor’s statement reported in AWB’s Fast Facts.

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.

Climate change policies will be major issue in the coming legislative session and 2016 campaigns. The commentaries express concern with the governor’s regulatory proposals, but underscore agreement with the objective. 

Good things are happening right now. It’s important to remember and celebrate the progress being made.