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Carbon Neutral Seattle, Blog Post 10: How to Adapt

The climate is already changing and will keep changing no matter how rapidly we are able to turn around greenhouse gas accumulation.  So we will need a strategy of adaptation to the expected impacts, which were reviewed in the previous post.  Here is what Seattle is doing. The outstanding example of the City’s work to […]

Carbon Neutrality Community Forum Video Link

Just a quick note to let you know the video of Tuesday night’s community forum is posted on the Seattle Channel. Click here to view: http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/video.asp?ID=2331058 Thank you to everyone who attended or contributed to the success of this event! We have quite a bit of work ahead of us, and I look forward to […]

Carbon Neutrality Community Forum Tuesday, Sept. 14

Blog Post – Carbon Neutrality As you recall, making Seattle a carbon neutral city was one of this year’s Council-adopted priorities. Staff throughout the city are working on evaluating policies and actions that Seattle will need to take to make this commitment a reality. In addition to the great internal work, a number of community […]

Climate Neutral Blog Post 16: The Intersection of Food and Climate

As I noted in an earlier post in this series, the food system and agriculture generate somewhere between 15% and 20% of America’s carbon emissions (depending on the study and what it counts).  American food travels an average of 1500 miles from farm to plate.  Then there is the processing, storage, marketing, packaging, and shopping […]

Councilmember Johnson Remarks from Seattle City Council Inauguration


Councilmember Johnson Remarks from Seattle City Council Inauguration

SEATTLECouncilmember Rob Johnson (District 4, Northeast Seattle) delivered the following remarks at the Seattle City Council inauguration ceremony on January 4, 2016:

“Councilmembers, distinguished guests, friends, and family – I am honored to stand before you as District 4’s first representative and humbled by the trust you’ve placed in my passion for the city of Seattle.

“I want to send a heartfelt message of gratitude to everyone who helped me get here and provided guidance along the way, most importantly my wife Katie and our girls, whose collective patience and support knows no bounds.

“I ran for office not only to make the process of civic engagement more efficient and enjoyable for my constituents, but to be a voice at the table, helping to steer this city at a crucial juncture in our collective history.

“As the fastest growing major city in the country, the problems to solve and the hurdles to overcome are many as we work to keep pace with those who currently call Seattle their home and those who want to call Seattle their home. The time for making two year decisions has passed, and we must commit ourselves, as leaders of this city, to planning for 2065, not 2018.

“Recent initiatives such as our HALA recommendations and the Move Seattle levy lay an exceptional foundation for this type of long term planning, and I recognize the responsibility we as leaders of this city share is to balance that strategic visioning with hard and fast implementation.

“When I think of the Seattle I want my daughters to enjoy 50 years from now, it inspires my guiding vision and subsequently, the types of decisions I will make over the course of my term.

“I envision a transportation system that is efficient, affordable, safe and interconnected. I envision a decreased dependence on vehicles and the celebration of carbon neutrality in the not too distant future.

“I envision our neighborhoods and urban villages alike as communities where all have the opportunity to live, work, and play – regardless of socio-economic status. Where better planning, design and architectural innovation ensure new development improves quality of life and enhances the character of all our neighborhoods.

“And I envision an education system of the highest caliber, resulting from meaningful dialogue between the city and our school district to coordinate our growth strategies. I envision a system that provides not only a seat for every child in the classroom, but also access to a holistic education, one including the arts, that prepares our students for any path they choose to pursue.

“This vision comes with a responsibility to express opinions, propose solutions, to be bold – and a little bit wonky. My wonkiness ultimately stems from my passion for the role that cities play in our national, cultural landscape. In my opinion, the best cities thrive when focused on the quality of life of each and every one if its’ residents, and the efficiency of its infrastructure. Cities work optimally when both the private and the public sectors come together in the spirit of collaboration. Cities don’t necessarily succeed by having the most money in their coffer, but by finding creative solutions that make an impact. And cities have the opportunity to provide leading innovations in the absence of action at the state and federal level.

“Seattle is an incredible city built to inspire and engage – and recent examples including December’s vote allowing ride-share drivers to unionize, and our response to homelessness make me very proud to play a part in this city’s future. 

“Today marks a milestone in Seattle’s history as we commence a council term characterized by district representation. So to conclude, and to recognize this occasion, I’d like to give each of my fellow council members this mug from the University of Washington. Let it represent how honored I am to represent District 4 and to work alongside you all to make Seattle a more livable, equitable, and enjoyable city. Thank you.”

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Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast live on Seattle Channel 21, HD Channels 321 Comcast, 721 Wave and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook.

[View in Council Newsroom]

Hot Ideas to Cool Seattle

In May, the City adopted our Climate Action Plan to be a carbon neutral city by 2050.  Now it’s time for implementation! As the City develops our implementation for city-led actions, we’d want to hear YOUR ideas for neighborhood and community-led projects. Join us Monday October 7 from 5:30-8:00pm in the Bertha Knight Landes Room […]

Tracking Building Energy Use

Yesterday the City’s Office of Sustainability and Environment released a report detailing the energy usage of City-owned buildings. In our efforts to achieve carbon neutrality, it is important that we focus on the built environment. Roughly one-fifth of Seattle’s carbon…

Council Town Hall on Climate Action

Join us Tuesday, May 7, 6-8pm for the Council Town Hall on Climate Action. The City of Seattle is updating the City’s Climate Action Plan, the city’s road map to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.   Your input is needed to craft the final plan that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, helps the city prepare for […]

City Council Introduces Climate Action Plan on Earth Day

City of Seattle

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

City Council Introduces Climate Action Plan on Earth Day
Plan provides pathway to carbon neutrality by 2050

SeattleSeattle City Council introduced Seattle’s Climate Action Plan today, outlining the City’s path to meeting its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. 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 on how the City should prepare for the impacts of climate disruption we currently experience, as well a section on actions individuals can take to reduce emissions through purchasing decisions.

“Taking climate action is not about austerity. It is about creating great places to live, work and play today and for future generations,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien, Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee. “This Climate Action Plan provides a vision for a city that is vibrant, economically prosperous and socially just.” 

“The strong actions in this plan are evidence of the high value that the Seattle community places on sustainability,” said Jill Simmons, Director of the Office of Sustainability and Environment. “Throughout the planning process, we heard from individuals and organizations who encouraged us to be bold and think long-term.”

Seattle’s Office of Sustainability and Environment has been developing the Climate Action Plan since 2011, engaging grassroots sustainability groups, environmental leaders and business and community members from across the city. The City also formed Technical Advisory Groups in each sector addressed in the Plan and convened a Green Ribbon Commission to recommend specific climate actions.

“With its natural beauty, strong economy and commitment to equity, Seattle is an amazing place to live. The Climate Action Plan lays out clear path to ensuring Seattle remains a great place to live and raise a family, while also doing its part to combat climate change,” said Doris Koo, Co-Chair of the Seattle Green Ribbon Commission. 
“Even before the first Earth Day in 1970, Seattleites have taken pride in our city’s commitment to protecting the environment through innovative thinking, hard work and zeal,” said Seattle City Council President Sally J. Clark. “I’m proud we can introduce our Climate Action Plan on Earth Day, 2013, as yet another milestone in our city’s dedication to making a difference for the planet.”

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 work to make energy use more visible to consumers by switching to smart meters, providing better energy performance information to building owners and users and generally helping people better understand 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.

“We have already seen the impact of a changing climate. We must act now to slow down the rate of climate change, and to respond to the issues as our climate is affected,” said Councilmember Richard Conlin. “Together we can rise to this great moral challenge, take practical steps in the right direction, inspire others to emulate our example and build a positive future for Seattle.”

“Seattle residents and businesses are leaders in the fight against climate change,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “I appreciate the hard work done by our citizen committee to craft recommendations for our updated plan and look forward to the Council’s process for adopting the strongest possible Climate Action Plan. I thank Councilmembers O’Brien and Conlin for their leadership in this effort.”

The Climate Action Plan will be discussed in two Energy and Environment Committee meetings–Tuesday, April 23 and Tuesday, May 14–and will also be the topic of a public town hall on Tuesday, May 7 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at University Heights Center.

The Climate Action Plan can be viewed online at: http://www.seattle.gov/environment/climate_plan.htm

[View in Council Newsroom]

Seattle City Light’s 2013-2018 Strategic Plan

Starting in 2012, I became Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee, which is charged with providing guidance and oversight to Seattle City Light and parts of the Office of Sustainability and Environment (specifically, OSE’s carbon neutrality work and the Community Power Works program). Councilmembers Burgess and Clark sit on this committee. Over the next […]

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