With the legislative session in full swing, there is much talk about how the Democratic Party now holds a majority in both chambers. But in the midst of the political play-by-play, it’s easy to lose sight of the things we agree on across party lines.
Like Rep. MacEwen, we also attended that privately funded trip to Sweden and Denmark with a bipartisan group of legislators and officials who wanted to learn more about sustainability and explore climate solutions that we can use here at home.
Sweden and Denmark have a range of policies to transition to a low-carbon economy and one of them is a price on carbon pollution. This is an essential tool they have used to put themselves on a path of sustainability by investing in clean energy solutions that work. We can do the same here.
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Nearly all of the people we heard from in Denmark and Sweden made it clear that transitioning to cleaner energy is an economic development strategy. It is the same here in the states. Electric cars and trucks cost two-thirds less to drive than gasoline and diesel.
Investing in homegrown biofuels means that we can rely on Washington-produced energy from our farming and forestry sectors to get us to work instead of sending nearly $12.5 billion every year outside the state to buy oil.
As the Legislature considers the governor’s carbon and energy legislation, we believe the revenues collected must not become just another source of aggregate government resources that ultimately dissipates into the ether of unrelated spending.
The allocation and appropriation of the public’s money must have a direct nexus of value toward reducing carbon pollution and make our state more resilient to the effects and implications of climate change. Those funds must also help low-income families disproportionately impacted by the fee and assist workers who are displaced in this transition.
It was exciting to see how clean energy investments are fueling Sweden and Denmark’s economies as they move forward on their bold goal of 100 percent clean energy. We are rolling up our sleeves this session and also getting serious about tackling the climate crisis.
One of the most encouraging takeaways from our trip was that the agreement to move forward to a sustainable, clean, fossil-free future by 2050 crosses party lines. We can and should work together here in Washington, across the aisle, to take care of our beloved home state.
Sen. Reuven Carlyle of Seattle is a Democrat representing the 36th Legislative District. Rep. Beth Doglio of Olympia is a Democrat representing the 22nd Legislative District which encompasses Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and the rural areas north of those cities.