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City of Seattle
Gregory J. Nickels (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: Mayor calls for Seattle, other cities to meet protocol goals

2/16/2005  1:00:00 PM

Mayor calls for Seattle, other cities to meet protocol goals
On the day Kyoto Protocol goes into effect, Mayor Nickels announced plan
to meet international goals for decreasing greenhouse gas emissions

Seattle—On the day the Kyoto Protocol went into effect in 141 countries, Mayor Greg Nickels announced that Seattle will commit to meeting the goals of the agreement and that he will challenge cities across the United States to do the same. The mayor will lead a “green” coalition of mayors for the next meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Ten other cities have already agreed to join Seattle in bringing an urban climate protection agenda to the June meeting of U.S. mayors.

“While 141 other nations that have signed the Kyoto Protocol Treaty, our national government leaders have turned a deaf ear,” Nickels said. “Seattle, along with other U.S. cities, will provide the leadership necessary to meet this threat.”

City government has already cut its corporate emissions more than 60 percent compared to 1990 levels, but Kyoto aims for a 5 percent reduction for the entire community.

“By making smart choices like building sustainable buildings, replacing old vehicles with a ‘Clean and Green’ fleet, and setting strict ‘no-net-emissions’ goals for Seattle City Light, the City has shown we can take local action on global problems,” said Nickels.

In order to ensure Seattle meets these goals, the Mayor also announced the creation of a Green Ribbon Commission on Climate Protection. The group will be chaired by Denis Hayes and Orin Smith and will include other business, environmental, government, community and labor leaders. Hayes is founder of Earth Day and president of the Bullitt Foundation and Smith is the president and CEO of Starbucks.

The commission will be charged with setting a plan for Seattle to meet or beat Kyoto’s targets. The plan will target all sources of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the community, including businesses and transportation. It will also identify key economic opportunities for Seattle’s transition to a clean energy future.

"It's now clear that the effort to stop global warming in the United States will be led by cities and states -- not the federal government,” Hayes said. “No other city is doing more than Seattle, and I'm delighted that Mayor Nickels plans to keep Seattle in the vanguard.”

“Starbucks applauds the City of Seattle’s bold climate protection efforts and shares in the belief that this is a critical global issue that necessitates leadership action from all sectors in our community,” Smith said.

Emissions are only one part of the mayor’s annual Environmental Action Agenda, which was also released today. The agenda includes City efforts to improve healthy habitat and clean water, to increase sustainable forests and to reduce paper use and increase recycling. Other items include:

  • A call for other local governments and businesses to join Seattle ’s strong support for the legislature to pass the “Clean Car” standards this year.
  • An Executive Order that directs City departments to reduce their use of paper by 30 percent by the end of 2006;
  • The inclusion of global-warming pollution reduction as a factor in awarding Neighborhood Matching Grants;
  • The creation of a community action guide on climate protection;
  • Explore the increased use of climate-friendly construction materials in City projects

The mayor's agenda was developed in consultation with his Urban Sustainability Advisory Panel made up of representatives from city government, local businesses and environmental organizations.

For more details about the mayor's climate protection strategy and the 2005 Environmental Action Agenda, visit Get the mayor's inside view on initiatives to promote transportation, public safety, economic opportunity and healthy communities by signing up for The Nickels Newsletter at

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