SEATTLE – Councilmember Alex Pedersen (District 4, NE Seattle) today announced he is introducing a resolution in the coming weeks to include climate change and carbon footprint considerations as part of an expanded “Fiscal Note” the City Council uses to review legislation.
“Over the past year, I heard from residents all over District 4 who demanded more accountability from our city government — which includes meeting environmental goals such as reducing Seattle’s carbon footprint,” Councilmember Pedersen said. “The Green New Deal Resolution adopted by the City Council in August 2019 produced a positive blueprint of our City’s aspirational goals. Implementing a Fiscal and Environmental Note will allow us to view new legislation through a climate lens, and will be a concrete step in fighting climate change locally. I look forward to working out the details with my new colleagues at City Hall as we craft more specifics on addressing the crisis of climate change.”
Currently, legislation considered by the City Council is accompanied by a “Summary and Fiscal Note” that assesses the financial and other policy implications of the proposed resolution or ordinance. The climate change impact of proposed legislation, however, is not measured. Adding a climate change component would have the City government explicitly consider fossil fuel use and carbon emissions. A new and improved “Fiscal and Environmental Note” would also strengthen the financial analysis of projects seeking tax dollars.
Councilmember Pedersen adopted the “carbon note” concept from Dr. Cathy Tuttle, a climate activist who ran for City Council in the 2019 primary. In a statement Tuttle said, “While climate action requires global solutions, right now American cities and large companies need to take the lead on decarbonizing our transportation, building, and utility sectors. By adding Carbon Impacts to Fiscal Notes, Seattle Council will give decision-makers and the public good information about how to reduce greenhouse gases as we grow our economy and build healthy communities. I’m optimistic this bold proposal from Councilmember Pedersen and the Seattle Council will lead to greener, cleaner legislation and funding decisions.”
The Washington State Director of Climate Solutions, Vlad Gutman-Britten, said, “Seattle must act with urgency to cut our climate pollution and accelerate the clean energy transition we need. We must ensure that future policies our city adopts cut climate pollution, and so adding climate considerations to Fiscal Notes is a good first step to better understanding how City policies impact the climate–and thereby our health, finances, safety, and more. We look forward to working with Councilmember Pedersen and the rest of the city council as this proposal evolves.”
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