Op-ed in Seattle Times: State-led climate goals — like Washington’s — will lead the way
Co-authored with Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler and Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz
Worsening water scarcity, food insecurity, land degradation and wildfires are some of the major consequences our world faces if we don’t act now on climate change.
That’s according to a report released Thursday by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that focuses on the effects of climate change on our lands and people. These changes threaten our communities, our economy and our livelihoods.
As Washington’s governor, commissioner of public lands, and insurance commissioner, we know that every part of state government plays a role in combating climate change, especially in the absence of federal action.
What does climate change look like in Washington state? Longer droughts and longer wildfire seasons. Warmer, lower-oxygen waterways that put our shellfish, salmon and orca at risk. Unhealthy forests with diseased and dying trees that contribute to severe wildfires.
Fortunately, the climate report highlights land-management actions we can take now to avoid catastrophe, many of which we’ve already launched in Washington. For example, it’s critical we use our lands — including forests and agricultural soils — to trap and store carbon to achieve a significant portion of our carbon reduction goals.