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(1) The legislature finds that:
(a) Washington is especially vulnerable to climate change because of the state's dependence on snow pack for summer streamflows and because the expected rise in sea levels threatens our coastal communities. Extreme weather, a warming Pacific Northwest, reduced snow pack, and sea level rise are four major ways that climate change is disrupting Washington's economy, environment, and communities;
(b) Washington's greenhouse gases emissions are continuing to increase, despite international scientific consensus that worldwide emissions must be reduced significantly below current levels to avert catastrophic climate change;
(c) Washington state greenhouse gases are substantially caused by the transportation sector of the economy;
(d) Washington has been a leader in actions to slow the increase of greenhouse gases emissions, such as being the first state in the nation to adopt a carbon dioxide mitigation program for new thermal electric plants, mandating integrated resource planning for electric utilities to include life-cycle costs of carbon dioxide emissions, adopting clean car standards and stronger appliance energy efficiency standards, increasing production and use of renewable liquid fuels, and increasing renewable energy sources by electric utilities;
(e) A greenhouse gases emissions performance standard will work in unison with the state's carbon dioxide mitigation policy, chapter 80.70 RCW and its related rules, for fossil-fueled thermal electric generation facilities located in the state;
(f) While these actions are significant, there is a need to assess the trend of greenhouse gases emissions statewide over the next several decades, and to take sufficient actions so that Washington meets its responsibility to contribute to the global actions needed to reduce the impacts and the pace of global warming;
(g) Actions to reduce greenhouse gases emissions will spur technology development and increase efficiency, thus resulting in benefits to Washington's economy and businesses; and
(h) The state of Washington has an obligation to provide clear guidance for the procurement of baseload electric generation to alleviate regulatory uncertainty while addressing risks that can affect the ability of electric utilities to make necessary and timely investments to ensure an adequate, reliable, and cost-effective supply of electricity.
(2) The legislature finds that companies that generate greenhouse gases emissions or manufacture products that generate such emissions are purchasing carbon credits from landowners and from other companies that provide carbon credits. Companies that are purchasing carbon credits would benefit from a program to trade and to bank carbon credits. Washington forests are one of the most effective resources that can absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Forests, and other planted lands and waters, provide carbon storage and mitigate greenhouse gases emissions. Washington contains the most productive forests in the world and both public and private landowners could benefit from a carbon storage trading and banking program.
(3) The legislature intends by this chapter to establish statutory goals for the statewide reduction in greenhouse gases emissions and to adopt the recommendations provided by the Washington climate change challenge stakeholder group, which is charged with designing and recommending a comprehensive set of policies to the legislature and the governor on how to achieve the goals. The legislature further intends by this chapter to authorize immediate actions in the electric power generation sector for the reduction of greenhouse gases emissions.
(4) The legislature finds that:
(a) To the extent energy efficiency and renewable resources are unable to satisfy increasing energy and capacity needs, the state will rely on clean and efficient fossil fuel-fired generation and will encourage the development of cost-effective, highly efficient, and environmentally sound supply resources to provide reliability and consistency with the state's energy priorities;
(b) It is vital to ensure all electric utilities internalize the significant and underrecognized cost of emissions and to reduce Washington consumers' exposure to costs associated with future regulation of these emissions, which is consistent with the objectives of integrated resource planning by electric utilities under chapter 19.280 RCW; and
(c) The state of California recently enacted a law establishing a greenhouse gases emissions performance standard for electric utility procurement of baseload electric generation that is based on the emissions of a combined-cycle thermal electric generation facility fueled by natural gas.
(5) The legislature finds that the climate change challenge stakeholder group provides a process for identifying the policies necessary to achieve the economic and emissions reduction goals in *RCW 80.80.020 in a manner that maximizes economic opportunities and job creation in Washington.


*Reviser's note: RCW 80.80.020 was repealed by 2008 c 14 § 13.
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