A few weeks ago, I mentioned that Washington was the West Coast’s weakest link when it comes to climate policy. Since then, the Evergreen State has stepped up with the outline of a plan to put a sizable dent in emissions. (That’s in addition to some small-caliber but near-term policies). This was such great news that I was tempted to change my handicapping.

But then I read the papers yesterday …

  • The Vancouver Sun reported that British Columbia’s right-of-center premier has plans to develop a climate policy that may be explicitly modeled on California’s, the most aggressive in North America.
  • The Oregonian reported that the governor said he wants his legacy to be defined by making Oregon the clean energy capitol of the nation.
  • And the Seattle Times editorialized in praise of Washington’s go-slow approach to climate policy that will “study new options for at least a year.” The piece also warns against forbidding giant new coal plants, and offers helpful bromides like: “Legislation and public policy have to mature along with climate science and our understanding of the threat.” Oy.

On the one hand, I want to give a major shout out to Washington’s leaders who are serious about big emissions reductions.

On the other hand, I just want to shout. It’s important to get things right, but Washington does not need a road map to devise a framework for task force recommendations to be implemented by a study group with the guidance of a stakeholder action plan that may eventually do something about greenhouse gases.

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We need action now. We need our leadership to stake out a clearer commitment to cap and trade in the near future.

And we need to catch up with our neighbors.

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