Washington's Draft Climate Change/Greenhouse Gas Reduction Recommendations Have Short Window for Public Comment

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Breaking Developments In Environmental Law

Washington’s Climate Advisory Team (“CAT”) has released its 88-page draft report of recommendations to address climate change and reduction of greenhouse gases, together with a

longer report discussing recommendations for preparing and adapting to climate change. Although the draft reports were issued on December 21, 2007, the CAT is soliciting public

comment only until January 10, 2008, after which the drafts will be finalized and submitted to the Governor Christine Gregoire by the February 7, 2008, deadline set in last year’s executive order.

Legislation passed last spring mandated that the Departments of Ecology, and Community Trade and Economic Development produce recommendations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Washington to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2035. The draft

report is the first work product from the CAT in the process. While the Western Climate Initiative (“WCI”) develops a market-based system for reducing emissions (a “cap & trade” program) for Washington and a group of Western states and provinces, the CAT’s recommendations focus on other state-specific measures to achieve the required emission reductions. The CAT’s recommendations focus on transportation because it is the largest source

of greenhouse gas emissions in the state, accounting for approximately 47 percent of the gross emissions in 2005, and is forecast to remain the largest contributor to future emissions under a “business as usual” scenario. This presents a different problem for greenhouse gas reduction than faced by many other states, particularly those on the East Coast, where electricity generation is from coal-fired power plants, a far more significant contributor to emissions.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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