Clean-fuel standard could help birds at risk from climate change

To avoid the worst impacts of climate change on people and birds, we must drastically reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. In the Puget Sound region, that means focusing on the transportation sector, which produces more than 43 percent of the climate pollution in our area. The biggest contributors are gasoline and diesel.

Two efforts are in the works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has proposed a clean fuel standard that would reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 25 percent by 2030. The standard would apply to King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

The proposed clean fuel standard would set a limit on greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels. This would give an advantage to cleaner fuels like electricity and biofuels, leading to more infrastructure and better access to these fuels for everyone. Low-carbon biofuels could come from locally sourced materials, including food, agricultural and forest waste.

On the state level, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, who represents Vashon Island, sponsored a low-carbon fuel standard in the last legislative session. Gov. Jay Inslee has asked the Legislature to pass this standard in the 2020 session. Passage of the PSCAA’s proposed standard could push the legislature to pass a similar standard that would apply statewide.

Washington Audubon has expressed support for the PSCAA’s proposed rule and has made a low-carbon fuel standard one of its priority issues in the state’s 2020 legislative session.

You can advocate for a clean-fuel standard by joining Vashon Audubon’s contingent to Audubon Washington’s lobby day in Olympia, to be held January 30. Send a message to info@vashonaudubon.org if you want to participate. In addition to a clean-fuel standard, Audubon will be supporting a 100 percent clean-electricity standard that would phase out coal-generated electricity and phase in electricity from clean resources, and a clean-building package designed to reduce new buildings’ energy use.

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