OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee made one of his first public appearances Tuesday since his January inauguration, telling a breakfast audience he and his statehouse colleagues want to defeat climate change.
Inslee congratulated the Capitol Land Trust at its annual breakfast for its habitat protection efforts in South Puget Sound — before warning that the threat of climate change could trump such conservation efforts:
“I’m here to say that while you are doing your great work preserving this raw land, I’m going to make sure that the state capitol and our legislature and the executive branch defeats climate change so we can protect these biological resources that we have.”
Inslee went on to say that climate change comes with real costs. He gave some examples:
- More money will be spent fighting wildfires during his administration.
- Global CO2 emissions are making the world’s oceans more corrosive, especially in Puget Sound. That’s causing some Washington shellfish growers to move their hatchery operations outside the state.
- The warming climate will lead to decreased snowpacks, and that will reduce irrigation water available for agriculture.
One widely accepted approach to combatting climate change is to put a price on CO2 emissions – either in the form of a tax as British Columbia has imposed, or a cap-and-trade system, as California has adopted.
EarthFix asked the governor if the state would put a price or cap on carbon emissions during his administration.
“We don’t have any immediate plans for price or cost like that,” he responded, “but we do have plans to help businesses and residents get access to clean energy.”
Inslee said he’ll be focusing his efforts on promoting more research and development of clean energy.