Climate Impact Actions

Report Purpose and Background:

The 2020 Green New Deal Executive Order called on the City to develop a brief report to present to the Green New Deal Oversight Board identifying the top 10 actions the City could take in order to achieve expeditious reductions in GHG emissions.

This report – which was a collaborative effort that included the Seattle Department of Transportation, Office of Economic Development, Office of Planning and Community Development, Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections, Seattle City Light, Office of Housing, and the Office of the Mayor – is intended to provide information for the Green New Deal Oversight Board and the Seattle community to examine opportunities for partnership on actions that achieve the goals of the Green New Deal. 

The actions identified in this report are rooted in and aligned with community priorities outlined in reports like Puget Sound Sage’s Powering the Transition and their collaborative effort with Got Green, Our People, Our Planet, Our Power. We additionally grounded these actions in the goals and strategies outlined in our Equity & Environment Agenda.

Recommended actions fall under three broad categories: building a framework to center community needs; reducing emissions from the transportation sector; and reducing emissions from buildings. Download the full report and accompanying appendix for more information.

Climate Impact Actions

Achieving the objectives of the Green New Deal demands a level of collaboration and breadth in scope that is well beyond typical solutions. Conventional solutions to address climate change, while impactful, are not the transformative change required for a just transition. Climate change is a racial justice issue, and our approach to developing sound climate policy and programming cannot happen without holistic support for the outcomes that bring justice to our community. 

These first three actions are essential to elevate our other actions from impactful to transformative. Different approaches might be required to tackle a broad spectrum of emissions, but what stays common among them is the need for a workforce that is representative of the communities we serve; funding and assistance that is tailored to BIPOC communities; and policies that support these communities to stay in the neighborhoods they call home.  

Download the full report and accompanying appendix for more information. 

Buildings, where we live, work, and go to school, are one of the largest and fastest growing sources of climate pollution, responsible for more than a third of our city's greenhouse gas emissions. 86% of these emissions result from burning fossil gas for heat, hot water, and appliances. Between 2016 and 2018, building-related emissions rose more than eight percent. To meet Seattle’s climate goals, we must dramatically reduce fossil fuel use in buildings 17 times faster over the next decade than we have to date and by 2050 we must power virtually all of our homes and buildings with clean, sustainable energy.

Actions in this section are geared toward all Seattle’s new and existing buildings becoming fossil fuel-free and powered by clean electricity. 

Download the full report and accompanying appendix for more information. 

Whether it’s going to work, taking kids to school, running errands, or going to the doctor, our transportation system connects our communities to where they need to be. But as our city grows, there is more competition for our already strained streets and pollution is increasing at time when we need to move away from fossil fuels. In Seattle, transportation accounts for sixty percent of our core greenhouse gas emissions. We must reduce our transportation emissions by 77% to meet our 2030 climate goals and eliminate them entirely to achieve “a city free of climate pollutants,” as called for in the 2019 Green New Deal Resolution.

Past transportation investments and policies have resulted in some communities receiving disproportionate benefits (e.g., quality, frequency, affordability, and reliability of transit service and transportation options to serve the full range of travel needs) and other communities receiving disproportionate burdens (e.g., air pollution and exclusion from decision-making processes).

This section contains three strategies to reduce emissions from transportation: mode-shift policies (improvements that incentivize a switch from personal vehicles to more sustainable modes like transit, biking and walking), transportation electrification (using clean electricity to power everything that moves people, goods, and services); and equitable road-pricing policies that influence driver behavior and raise progressive revenue to address climate and transportation challenges.

Download the full report and accompanying appendix for more information. 

Sustainability and Environment

Jessyn Farrell, Director
Address: 700 5th Avenue, #1868, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94729, Seattle, WA, 98124-4729
Phone: (206) 256-5158

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