Council President Sally J. Clark
Seattle - Seattle 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.