Washington Gov. Jay Inslee proposed Tuesday capping factory emissions, mandating green transportation fuels and banning oil and natural gas heat from new houses by 2030 and all homes by 2050.
The prohibition on fossil fuels to heat rooms or water would apply to commercial buildings, as well as, eventually, existing homes. The state would let people cook on natural-gas stovetops, the governor said.
"We know people enjoy that. That would be allowed under our proposal," he said.
Inslee, poised to begin his third 4-year term, outlined his climate-change agenda for the 2001 legislative session. He said his plan would cut Washington's carbon emissions by about one-third by 2030.
Inslee has previously backed bills to impose cap-and-trade and a low-carbon fuel standard. The measures have failed to pass the Democratic-controlled Legislature.
The governor is again backing policies that would be costly and less effective than free-market, consumer-driven approaches to reducing energy use and carbon emissions, said Todd Myers, environmental policy analyst for the Washington Policy Center, a conservative think tank.
"All of this is intrusive. All of this is politicians and special-interests making decisions for others," he said. "The way we're going to reduce CO2 effectively and affordably is by empowering individuals, not imposing top-down regulations."
Making buildings have zero carbon missions will be expensive, he said. "It raises the cost of housing when we shouldn't be doing that."
Cap-and-trade requires manufacturers to gradually lower emissions or bid for the right to exceed their cap. Auction proceeds go to the government.
A low-carbon fuel standard, already adopted by California and Oregon, gradually increases the amount of non-fossil fuels, such as ethanol, in gasoline and diesel.
Both policies increase energy costs. Farm groups have opposed previous proposals.
Inslee blamed legislative failures on the fossil fuel industry. "If we don't break the industry's control over policy making, we'll be left with a planet that cannot sustain most of humanity," he said.
Specifics of the governor's cap-and-trade plan have not been made public. He broadly outlined plans to spend $428 million raised by the auctions on renewable-fuel vehicles, renewable energy projects and carbon-free buildings.
Inslee said he will establish an Environmental Justice and Equity Panel to oversee spending.
"Every investment will have to undergo the environmental justice analysis to make sure they answer to this value," he said.