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More Than 100 Wash. Businesses Urge State Action On Climate Change

Ted S. Warren
AP Photo
FILE - The Seattle skyline is seen through morning fog over Elliott Bay, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010.

More than 100 Washington businesses are calling for action on climate change and urging others to join them.

Companies including Microsoft, Foss Maritime, REI and Virginia Mason Medical Center have signed an open declaration, saying climate change is real and happening and that more action is needed to address it.

They say there are economic and social costs to doing nothing, but that tackling carbon pollution is one of the greatest opportunities of the 21st century and simply “the right thing to do.” They want the state legislature to adopt policies that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Vik Sahney, Head of Strategy at REI, says the outdoor retailer is already a 100% green-powered business.

“Today is about collective impact and what can happen when business leaders and government come together to collaborate and drive change,” Sahney said.

The declaration supports cleaner fuels, energy efficiency, advancing renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  But it doesn't actually require businesses to do anything other than agree with the statement. It’s meant to lay the groundwork for legislative action.

It comes the day before a meeting of Governor Jay Inslee’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Task Force, which is working on proposals to put limits on greenhouse gas pollution – either through a cap and trade system similar to one in California, or a carbon tax, following the example of British Columbia. 

“We have real skin in this game," said Perry England, who serves on the task force. He is a VP of building performance with McDonald Miller, which helps companies reduce their carbon footprints. 

"The riskiest decision a business person can make is to do nothing. Climate change is happening. It will continue and it is impacting our businesses whether you believe it or not,” England said. 

Among the companies signing on is Taylor Shellfish, which says carbon pollution that causes ocean acidification is harming its baby oysters.

Done right, England says reducing carbon emissions will stimulate the state’s economy. He says Washington wastes twice as much energy as California, for example. 


Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment for KNKX with an emphasis on climate justice, human health and food sovereignty. She enjoys reporting about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Story tips can be sent to