Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon’s statement on Governor Inslee’s executive action to reduce carbon pollution and promote clean energy.

“I applaud Governor Inslee for his leadership on this urgent issue that requires immediate action.

Climate change is one of the most present and serious problems facing our communities. It threatens our modern lifestyle and economy in ways almost too numerous and scary to list.

The University of Oregon found that the effects of climate change on water supplies, public health, coastal and storm damage, wildfires, and other impacts, will cost Washington nearly $10 billion PER YEAR after 2020 without mitigating actions being taken. If we take action sooner, these costs will be markedly lower.

Climate change also presents us with an amazing opportunity to transform our economy in a way that positions Washington in its rightful place as a leader on environmental conservation and preservation. The available solutions can help dig us out of a sluggish recovery, preserve our planet for future generations, and make Washington an even more prosperous place to live through an influx of new, exciting, and forward thinking industries.  

We cannot discuss the short-term costs of moving towards a green energy economy without discuss the cost of failing to do so. Pretending there is nothing to worry about will not bring back the oysters of Willapa Bay that no longer grow there due to carbon dioxide-fueled ocean acidification or the thousands of acres scorched by wildfire exacerbated by unprecedented droughts. The negative economic impacts of climate change are here and we must respond.

Improving our energy generation and consumption practices will require short-term investment and will provide a long-term payoff as we create clean energy jobs and reduce the harmful impacts of climate change on our economy. Ignoring the issue will only serve to exacerbate the problem, and consequentially, the cost.

The most reasonable and cost effective time to address climate change is now. The long term return on an economy built on a green energy model will pay huge dividends in the form of new industry that Washington can cultivate and sell to the rest of world.

Just as the people and entrepreneurs of Washington lead in such important sectors as aerospace and high-tech, so too can we leverage our skills and know how to pace the nation in the clean energy job sector. The growth potential here cannot be overstated or undervalued.

I look forward to working with the Governor’s Emission Reduction Taskforce, and all other stake-holders, in addressing and solving climate change.”