Alexandra Perkins, MD, MPH
Resident | University of Washington Department of Pediatrics
Seattle Children’s Hospital
The 2021 Washington legislative session has wrapped up, and there have been many victories for climate policy! Notably, the Pediatricians for Climate Action group, supported by WCAAP, worked hard to help pass the Clean Fuel Standard and the HEAL Act.
House Bill 1091, the Clean Fuel Standard, is the culmination of a multi-year effort. The transportation sector is currently responsible for roughly 45% of greenhouse gas emissions in Washington. The Clean Fuel Standard will reduce carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 10% by 2028 and 20% by 2035. Clean transportation fuels, including biodiesel and electricity, will be some of the alternative fuels adopted as a result of this legislation. Currently, the majority of locally-produced clean fuels are shipped out of state. The Clean Fuel Standard will create a market for clean fuels in Washington. Overall, this legislation is a big win for children’s health, since cleaning up our air will lead to better respiratory health.
The HEAL Act defines environmental justice, a term that refers to equality in environmental exposures, and requires the definition to be applied in state law to address long-term inequities and harm. Many vulnerable communities suffer disproportional health consequences from climate change and environmental degradation. The HEAL Act will help change this by looking at policies through an environmental justice lens. This legislation will ensure marginalized communities have the power to voice their concerns and help create cleaner environments for their kids.
While these legislative victories give us cause to celebrate, there is a tremendous amount of work yet to be done to ensure that our children and grandchildren will not suffer the impacts of climate change. We encourage you to join us in saving the planet! Learn more about Pediatricians for Climate Action and how to get involved here: https://www.pedsforclimateaction.org/