The impacts of climate change

Scientists agree that the Earth has been getting warmer over the last century due to human activities that require burning fossil fuels (oil, gas, and coal).

Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide becomes trapped in the atmosphere (greenhouse gases) and  increases the planet's temperature. As the Earth's climate continues to warm the results can have big impacts on the environment.

Tracking greenhouse gases

As the climate changes and temperatures climb, Washington faces serious impacts to its snowpack, infrastructure, and water supplies. Protecting our state's fish, farms, and communities from the impacts of climate change is a priority for us. We're tracking greenhouse gases and implementing policies that reduce these harmful pollutants. Learn more about the state's emissions by reading our emissions inventory reports and tracking maps


Greenhouse gas limits

The Washington Legislature set greenhouse gas emission limits to combat climate change. The state is required to reduce emissions levels by:

  • 2020 - reduce to 1990 levels. ​
  • ​2030 - 45% below 1990 levels.
  • 2040 - 70% below 1990 levels.
  • 2050 - 95% below 1990 levels and achieve net zero emissions.