Washington: Task force suggests ways state can curb climate change

SEATTLE — A task force created by Gov. Christine Gregoire has released final recommendations on how to curb climate change in Washington state.

The final report of the Climate Action Team calls for more energy-efficient buildings, compact urban development, better collection of recycled materials, tolls to reduce driving and revision of development rules to account for greenhouse-gas emissions.

The team has been working since last year to find ways to help the state reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and even more by 2050.

The report released this week outlines two dozen recommendations, but doesn’t say how state agencies plan to carry them out. The plan with specifics is expected in two weeks.

Because the state faces a $5.1 billion budget shortfall, state agencies were given more time to figure out how to carry out the strategies, state Ecology Department spokesman David Workman said Wednesday.

Increased levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are most responsible for triggering global climate change, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

To reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other gases, the advisory team looked at four areas, including energy-efficient buildings, transportation, waste and environmental-review rules.

To encourage more energy-efficient buildings, the report recommends giving public-utility tax credits to commercial buildings that meet specific levels of energy efficiency and requiring public buildings to post how much energy they use.

Climate change should be considered when state and local governments do environmental reviews on projects, the report said.

And the state should find new revenue sources to encourage more transit choices, and consider more tolls as one way to get motorists to change their driving habits.

The team included lawmakers, government officials and business people.

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