Seattle City Counicl sets bold new targets to reach carbon neutrality

Home » Seattle City Counicl sets bold new targets to reach carbon neutrality

Council President Richard Conlin
Councilmember Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Mike O’Brien

Seattle City Council sets bold new targets to reach carbon neutrality
Emissions reduction goals in key sectors are among most aggressive in the world

Seattle – Today the Seattle City Council unanimously passed Resolution 31312 putting the City on a path toward reducing Seattle’s net green house gas emissions level to zero by 2050. The Council action sets preliminary emissions targets for Seattle in three sectors: transportation, building energy and waste. The resolution is the culmination of a year-long process guided by community input and informed by in-depth technical analysis and includes some of the most aggressive emissions targets among cities in the world.

"Attaining these ambitious emissions goals will require the engagement of the whole city," said Council President Richard Conlin, co-sponsor of the resolution.  "This resolution is the starting point for a community dialogue about how the public and the private sectors can work together toward carbon neutrality."

Highlights of the adopted targets include (see Resolution 31312 for complete table):


2020 Targets

2030 Targets


14% reduction in VMT

20% reduction in VMT

Building energy

8% reduction in energy use

20% reduction in energy use


Increase waste diversion rate to 69%

Increase waste diversion above 70%

Total GHG emission reduction

30% reduction in GHG

58% reduction in GHG

*Reductions are a percentage of 2008 baseline figures

"I am proud of the targets we are adopting for Seattle today, particularly our goals for reducing vehicle miles travelled in the City. Over the past decade we have seen that people are driving less, but to continue this trend and meet our goals the City needs to provide more options that make it easier and more reliable for people to get around town without a car," said Councilmember Mike O’Brien, co-sponsor of the resolution and member of the Regional Development and Sustainability Committee.

"City programs like the Living Building Challenge and our aggressive energy code for new buildings have already proven that Seattle’s development community has the right stuff to make a difference in reducing our carbon footprint. By establishing new goals we can build on our past success and continue our leadership as the greenest city in North America," said Councilmember Sally J. Clark, chair of the Committee on the Built Environment.

The resolution also serves to launch the Climate Action Plan update. As part of the planning process, the Office of Sustainability and Environment will engage the community to help identify climate action priorities and convene technical advisory groups to analyze and recommend specific strategies for reducing the city’s greenhouse emissions in the transportation, building energy and waste sectors. 

"Seattle is a national leader in climate protection and today Council adopted ambitious goals for our city. Updating the Seattle Climate Action Plan is an important first step in making sure we’re taking the bold action necessary to do our part to protect the climate," said Jill Simmons, Director for the Office of Sustainability and Environment.

City residents and businesses are encouraged to participate in an online survey about transportation and energy choices, the two biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Seattle. The Office of Sustainability and Environment will also reach out directly to community groups to engage them throughout the planning process. To schedule presentation for your community group, email

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[Go to Council Newsroom]