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On Monday, June 17, the Council unanimously adopted an update to Seattle’s Climate Action Plan that sets Seattle on a course towards our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. I proposed adopting the ambitious ‘Carbon Neutral by 2050’ goal as a Council priority in 2010, and legislation accepting the goal was approved by the […]

City Council Adopts Bold Climate Action Plan Plan provides pathway to carbon neutrality by 2050

City of Seattle

Council President Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Richard Conlin
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Mike O’Brien
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

City Council Adopts Bold Climate Action Plan
Plan provides pathway to carbon neutrality by 2050

SeattleSeattle City Council voted unanimously to adopt Seattle’s Climate Action Plan (Resolution 31447) today. The Climate Action Plan is composed of recommended actions to be taken to meet Seattle’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

The Seattle Climate Action Plan is the result of a three year collaborative effort between the City and community to produce a blueprint for a prosperous and climate-friendly city. “With this bold plan to reduce our carbon emissions now in place, we must now get to work on implementing the actions called for in the plan,” said City Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “In the Energy & Environment Committee, we will begin exploring how to make energy use more visible to consumers and developing the tools we need to improve Seattle’s home and building energy performance.”

The Climate Action Plan includes specific short- and long-term actions the City needs to meet its ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. For example, the transportation sector accounts for 40% of Seattle’s greenhouse gas emissions, but the biggest challenge Seattle faces to reducing emissions in this sector is funding. The plan calls for new funding sources like extending the Bridging the Gap levy and securing local authority for a motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) to help improve bus service and reliability, invest in improvements that make it easier and safer to walk or bike and take steps to build out the region’s light rail system. The plan also calls for supporting the adoption of low carbon vehicles and fuels.

In the building energy section, the Plan calls for accelerating Seattle’s already strong conservation work by enhancing the tracking of utility use, providing better energy performance information to building owners and users, and generally help to improve the public’s understanding and manage their energy consumption. Additionally, the Plan calls for getting the right mix of policies and incentives to spur retrofitting in Seattle’s housing stock and commercial buildings.

“Making Seattle carbon neutral is an audacious goal that takes time, hard work, creativity and the commitment of the City, business community and Seattle residents,” said City Councilmember Richard Conlin. “We have laid out the path to meet this preeminent moral challenge of our time and we will lead the way to secure the future for generations to come.”

“We must ready the city’s infrastructure for climate change meanwhile leading in reducing carbon emissions,” said City Councilmember Jean Godden. “Recycling and composting, as well as preparing for more intense rainstorm episodes with green stormwater infrastructure, are the first steps my committee will take.”

This policy document sets very ambitious environmental goals to stride towards, 62% and 91% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2030 and 2050 in the vehicle and building energy sectors. At each step, our strategies to reach these targets must go through the lens of the Race and Social Justice Initiative. In order to get residents and businesses to support climate action and include it as a part of their lives, we must be inclusive in our education and outreach with all communities,” said City Councilmember Bruce Harrell.

“While I’m pleased that Council adopted the Plan today, we know the real work is just beginning,” said Jill Simmons, Director of the Office of Sustainability & Environment.

The Plan focuses on three sectors where the City of Seattle can have the greatest influence in reducing carbon emissions: transportation and land use, building energy and solid waste. The Plan also includes a section outlining how the City should prepare for the impacts of climate disruption we expect to occur, as well a section on actions individuals can take to reduce emissions through purchasing decisions.
The Climate Action Plan can be viewed online at: http://www.seattle.gov/environment/climate_plan.htm

[View in Council Newsroom]

Carbon Neutral Blog Post 15: It’s Technically Possible

In my last post, I noted that the Council had adopted the Carbon Neutral Goal with some confidence that it is attainable, and that part of the basis for that conclusion was the findings in the report we commissioned from the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).  SEI was tasked with creating a scenario for achieving Carbon […]

Carbon Neutral Blog Post 14 – Council Adopts Carbon Neutral Goal, Workplan

On Monday, October 3, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved Resolution 31312, endorsing a path toward reducing Seattle’s net greenhouse gas emissions level to zero by 2050. Section 1 of the resolution resolves that the “City adopts the following climate protection and adaptation goals:

Seattle City Counicl sets bold new targets to reach carbon neutrality

News Release
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.

Carbon Neutral Blog Post 13: Household Actions Make a Difference

Much of the work on climate change has focused on making major policy or systems level changes that will have dramatic impacts on carbon emissions.  Critical as it is to change emissions systems, create new technologies, develop energy efficient buildings, or provide better travel options and renewable energy systems, most such big ideas require people […]

Carbon Neutral Blog Post 12: Choosing Good Travel

Increasing density is a key strategy for achieving carbon neutrality.  However, it requires a significant level of effort and planning to ensure that dense neighborhoods include good schools, parks, public safety, and many other factors that make communities work. Dense communities reduce climate impacts through energy efficiency and conservation.  They also can reduce transportation emissions […]

Seattle – Carbon Neutral by 2050

This morning the Council received a briefing on the technical analysis of what a carbon neutral scenario would look like for Seattle. The Office of Sustainability and Environment, in partnership with the Stockholm Environment Institute presented their analysis.  They had three primary goals: 1)      Define the carbon neutral goal; 2)      Develop and emission reduction scenario […]

Taking Steps Toward Carbon Neutrality

Are we there, yet? Not quite, but we are hard at work to get us there.  Many of you came out for our Town Hall event last September and helped develop recommendations for the city. At the same time, the Office of Sustainability and Environment (OSE) has worked closely with the Stockholm Environment Institute to […]

Carbon Neutral Seattle, Blog Post 11: Density and Community

Choices about controlling carbon emissions are shaped by public policies. Carbon emissions are lower in communities that are compact and that provide access via transit and non-motorized travel among jobs, homes, and commercial and recreational activities.  New York is the classic example – with great transit connections and many multi-family dwellings, New Yorkers emit much […]

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