GOV. Jay Inslee’s task force to reduce carbon pollution and promote clean energy has science, environmental realities and concerned Washington citizens all adding support and urgency to its mission.
Inslee’s April 29 Executive Order 14-04 sets the effort in motion, but as the announcement of its release noted, most of its elements cycle back through the Legislature for approval or funding.
Looking ahead to the 2015 legislative session in January, the task force has a November deadline to produce recommendations.
Before this intense process begins, the governor should take another look at the distinguished panel he has assembled. Strengthen the business representation on the task force, including representatives from the trucking and automotive industries.
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The governor truly needs to begin with the end in mind. Maximize the information resources available on a significant source of the state’s carbon emissions — all of our cars and trucks.
Broaden the representation of business and commercial interests now to preclude a predictable and what would be a legitimate gripe later by lawmakers in Olympia.
The governor has laid out seven formidable areas to study. Topics that cut across the lives of Washington residents: carbon emissions, coal-fired electricity imported from other states, clean transportation, clean energy, energy efficiency, state government operations and carbon pollution limits.
Representatives of state agencies, universities, local governments and tribes will all be solicited for ideas. Business participation needs to be direct and apparent.
The task force needs to confront the Legislature with the realities and expense of not dealing with climate change and carbon emissions. Doing nothing is not acceptable.
So avoid creating easy excuses for the global-warming skeptics to challenge the work of the task force with criticisms beyond the doubters’ dubious science.
Enhance the voices of business on the task force, and incorporate that experience, insight and financial rigor into the final recommendations.
Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Lance Dickie, Jonathan Martin, Erik Smith, Thanh Tan, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).