AIA Washington Council has endorsed Washington Initiative 1631, the Protect Washington Act, which would establish a carbon fee to reduce incentives for fossil fuel use, generate funds to invest in renewable resources and promote energy efficiency.
AIA Washington Council believes we have a moral responsibility to protect future generations by tackling climate change now to leave a cleaner, healthier and safer world. Science has eliminated any question that emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are changing our climate, and it is happening quickly. I-1631 puts a price on those emissions, aimed at encouraging current large emitters to produce less of them. Because buildings contribute 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions, architects have a critical role to play in the solution of our climate crisis.
A strong, steadily rising price on carbon pollution is the most effective policy tool for reducing emissions. I-1631 would enact a price on carbon while funding projects to advance clean energy resources, energy efficiency and other actions that reduce emissions. We strongly support reinvestments that focus on the built environment because we know buildings are responsible for 40 percent of carbon emissions. By incentivizing high performing buildings, carbon pricing will create new demand for the unique skills architects bring to their projects. Carbon pricing will also help architects make a business case to their clients for energy efficient buildings while encouraging the development of local green businesses that support architects in this effort. Because state agencies will be responsible for resolving most of the details regarding eligible carbon reduction projects, AIA will need to be vigilant to ensure smart built environment projects are prominent among the uses of the carbon fee revenues.
Carbon pricing will help building and construction costs tell the truth about climate impacts. Those price signals will make it more attractive for our clients to “do the right thing” and make design and construction decisions that are best for the environment. Without those price signals, architects can find it hard to persuade our clients to act in the climate’s best interest. Monetizing carbon in this state recalibrates the economics of what building systems and architectural solutions are economically feasible for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Washington State is well positioned to show the nation that carbon pricing can both reduce emissions and help create a clean energy economy of the future. AIA Washington Council endorses I-1631 as a needed first step in reducing the use of carbon and providing a signal to the rest of the country that carbon pricing can be done. We encourage Washington voters to approve I-1631 .