Gov. Jay Inslee (right, center), Ecology Director Maia Bellon (right, front), and members of the Inslee administration meet with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and other Chilean dignitaries.
In 2015, Washington and Chile established a memorandum of understanding regarding climate change, sustainability, and clean energy at the international climate summit in Paris, COP21. Wednesday’s meeting was a chance to follow-up on that agreement and discuss potential next steps for cooperation.
According to Bellon, the conversation with President Bachelet was positive and focused on a range of topics, including similar climate change impacts that Chile and Washington contend with, such as drought and ocean health. Discussions also included renewable energy and economic transformation.
After the United States withdrew from the Paris climate accord earlier this month, Bellon tweeted, “I remain as committed as ever to protecting our environment. I will not give up on our future.” Finding common ground with other states and with nations like Chile that recognize the threat climate change poses plays an important role in maintaining that momentum toward finding solutions.
Washington has been a longstanding leader when it comes to addressing climate change. In 2008,the state Legislature was the first in the country to adopt limits on greenhouse gases, and, last year, Ecology adopted the nation’s most progressive rule to cap and reduce carbon pollution, the Clean Air Rule.
Bellon said when Washington adopted the Clean Air Rule, it was a watershed moment in the country’s history because it was the first time a state adopted a regulation to limit carbon pollution under a state clean air act.
Despite the wavering federal commitment to combat climate change, Gov. Jay Inslee said that it is imperative for Washington and other states to continue to take action.
“Washington state is leading the way on climate issues where Washington, D.C., is failing,” Inslee said following the decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement.
To learn more about what Gov. Inslee is doing to combat climate change, visit the governor’s news site.
By Camille St. Onge, Climate Change and Air Quality