Project Status: Completed
On December 3, 2007, the City Council adopted Ordinance 122574, requiring City departments that perform environmental review under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) to evaluate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions when reviewing permit applications for development.
The City Council also adopted Comprehensive Plan goals and policies in 2007 (Ordinance 122610), related to reducing GHG emissions. To control the impact of climate change globally and locally, the City’s goal is to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other climate-changing greenhouse gases in Seattle to 30% of 1990 levels by 2024, and by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050.
To help reach these goals, assessment of GHG from proposed development was required as of March 31, 2008. Under this assessment, development applications that trigger environmental review are required to identify the climate change impact of their proposal by quantifying expected GHG emissions.King County began evaluating GHG project impacts under SEPA in October 2007, becoming the first local government in the nation to officially add GHG emissions to environmental review of construction projects (see King County Climate Change and Development Regulations). Seattle was one of the first cities in the country to require this review.
Currently, Seattle's GHG legislation does not require changes in the development proposals as a result of the review. Instead, the requirement is a first step toward limiting the potential negative effects of construction projects on the environment by disclosing the impacts of GHG emissions. DPD will be analyzing data obtained from GHG disclosure to inform decisions on City SEPA Policy.