Washington state is not on track to meet the targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that the Legislature set in 2008.
A report released Monday by the Department of Ecology says the state has adopted policies to reduce global-warming pollution, but it’s unlikely to achieve the reduction limit for 2020 or beyond.
The 2008 state law called for Washington to return to 1990 emissions levels by 2020, and also for reductions beyond that.
About 101 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent were emitted in Washington in 2008, about 9 percent more than in 1990, according to the latest numbers. About 85 percent of that came from burning fossil fuels to produce energy.
The report notes that state and federal lawmakers failed to implement an emissions cap-and-trade program, a key part of the state’s 2008 plan to reduce climate-changing pollution. Without that broader policy, state officials said they’ll come up with a plan to address climate change by developing a portfolio of policies that can work together to reduce greenhouse gases.
“We absolutely can meet the goals,” said KC Golden, policy director for the environmental group Climate Solutions. “It’s not a matter of whether we can, but whether we will. We’ve got to step it up .”
Ecology officials project that current policies and programs, such as a state program to encourage commuters to use alternatives to driving solo and the increase in wind production in the state, will limit emissions growth to 3 percent between now and 2020. However, it won’t be enough to bring emissions down to 1990 levels, they said.
State officials also are in talks with TransAlta, the state’s largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions, to move the state’s only coal-fired power plant to cleaner fuel sources by 2025.