Deep Decarbonization

In 2015 more than 190 nations signed the Paris Climate Agreement, committing themselves to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius by mid-century. At the same time, states and cities from around the world, acting under a voluntary international agreement known as the Under 2 coalition, made their own commitments to speed the transition to the low-carbon energy future.

Since then, dozens of cities, states and nations have begun the work of evaluating how to achieve the necessary significant reductions in carbon pollution while maintaining healthy economies and prosperous quality of life. The United States, Canada, and Mexico released their mid-century strategies at the Global Climate Conference in Marrakesh in 2016 while groups like the Risky Business Coalition have done similar analyses of the business opportunities inherent in moving toward a cleaner energy future.

In 2008 the legislature mandated Washington state reduce its emissions of greenhouse gasses, setting reduction limits to be achieved by 2020, 2035 and 2050. Though progress has been made, Washington is not on track to achieve its 2020 limit and in 2016 the Department of Ecology recommended the limits be strengthened to reflect current science and the increased ambitions created by the Paris agreement.

Washington engaged energy experts at Evolved Energy and the Deep Decarbonization Project to develop pathways that the state can pursue to achieve the strengthened limits recommended by the department of Ecology and to grow its economy in the process. These are not prescriptive plans but scenarios that demonstrate Washington has multiple avenues to reduce carbon pollution dramatically without harming its economy or diminishing the competitive advantage we enjoy by having the nation’s cleanest electricity.

Presently the Governor’s office is working with stakeholders to share the findings of this work, explore the opportunities represented by the various scenarios and identify near-term actions we can take together to move our state in this direction