The third annual CleanTech Day in Olympia kicked off in celebration of all things clean energy-related Monday.
The lieutenant governor joined Elliot Mainzer, the administrator of the Bonneville Power Authority, delving into the benefits of clean technology and its necessity in a world dealing with climate change.
In fact, climate change has already had an effect on Washington’s environment, as a joint study by the Washington State Dept. of Ecology and the Washington State Dept. of Community Trade and Economic Development found. For example:
- Glaciers: Mountain glaciers in the North Cascades have lost 18 to 32 percent of their total volume since 1983, and up to 75 percent of North Cascades glaciers are considered at risk of disappearance under temperatures projected for this century.
- Snowpack: The average mountain snowpack in the North Cascades (critical to summer streamflows) has declined at 73 percent of mountain sites studied.
- Wildfires: The number of large (more than 5,000-acre) wildfires in Washington State has increased from an average of six per year in the 1970s to 21 per year in the early years of the 21st century.
- Rising sea levels: Combining tectonic subsidence with rising sea levels, the South Puget Sound shoreline is likely to experience from one to five inches of sea level rise per decade, the largest global warming-linked rise in the state.
The lieutenant governor said he will work to make Washington state a leader in economic development, with an eye on mitigating and adapting to climate change. With smart policy and strategy, Habib said his office will work toward creating a cleaner, more prosperous Washington for all.