Inslee said at a news conference Tuesday that climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the state, and the time to act is now.
A carbon emissions reduction task force began meeting Tuesday. The group is expected to come up with recommendations for a market-based program to limit carbon emissions and that would be introduced in the 2015 legislative session.
Inslee says there's no doubt that a 2008 state law requires that the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
His order also directs state agencies to work on a plan for cleaner fuels, reducing coal-fired electricity and other key areas.