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Washington pushing ahead on ways to cut carbon emissions, Inslee says

UPDATED: Mon., Nov. 13, 2017, 8:13 p.m.

President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord isn’t keeping Washington from trying to meet those goals or its governor from joining world leaders to discuss strategy.

Speaking by phone from Germany, where he’s taking part in the U.N. Climate Change Conference, Gov. Jay Inslee said other countries are either laughing at or ignoring Trump’s comments that cast doubt on human effects on climate change.

“The world has rejected Donald Trump’s climate denial,” Inslee said, adding that voters in last week’s elections also seemed to disagree with the president.

Climate change was one of the issues in a suburban King County legislative race, he said, helping Democrat Manka Dhingra win and costing Republicans control of the state Senate.

At various times before and after he became a presidential candidate, Trump called climate change a hoax, at one point saying it was invented by the Chinese. Later he claimed that was a joke, and said the climate is changing but that it’s occurring naturally. Earlier this year as president, he announced the United States was withdrawing from an agreement signed by most nations to reduce carbon emissions.

Inslee, on the other hand, has been a longtime watchdog of climate change and a proponent of reducing carbon emissions. Washington has joined with 14 other states and one American territory in what’s called the U.S. Climate Alliance, pledging to maintain the requirements of the Paris agreement. Several of those states’ governors, including Inslee, attended the conference, COP23, in Bonn.

Washington also is part of the International Ocean Acidification Alliance, with Iceland, Sweden and New Zealand.

“Donald Trump can’t stop us. We’re making great progress,” Inslee said.

Some of that progress includes a cap on carbon emissions for major manufacturers and institutions, and incentives for buying electric cars. But he wants the state to do more, and is talking to legislators about “multiple ways” to accomplish that. It could include a proposal for a carbon tax, which he has long advocated with little legislative support.

“That is one of the things I’m talking to legislators about. But it’s not the only thing in our toolbox,” he said.

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