King County Executive Dow Constantine’s five-year action plan on climate change, an ambitious, results-oriented road map, heads to the County Council.
At the close of the hottest June on record, with record low river flows and growing threats of wildfires, King County Executive Dow Constantine today transmitted his five-year action plan on climate change to the Metropolitan King County Council.
“From increasingly hot and dry summers, to the lack of winter snow, climate change is already impacting the environment, health, economy, and quality of life in King County,” said Executive Constantine. “Pledges and good intentions won’t get us to our climate goals or meet our commitment to future generations. The Strategic Climate Action Plan maps out clear targets and priority actions to address climate change in collaboration with our cities, energy providers, businesses, and residents.”
The 2015 SCAP will serve as the County's road map to achieve ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions that were adopted with King County’s 39 cities last July. It also outlines what King County will do to help prepare the region for the impacts of climate change, and ensure that the County continues to lead by example.
The plan builds upon recent progress while outlining ambitious commitments and actions that will:
• Grow transit service through 2020 with no increase in operational GHG emissions.
• Double transit ridership by 2040.
• Achieve a 70 percent recycling rate in the King County solid waste service area by 2020.
• Partner with utilities and others to phase out coal-fired electricity by 2025 and increase development of renewable energy resources.
• Use 100 percent GHG-neutral electricity in government operations by 2025.
• Plant at least one million trees in King County by 2020 in cooperation with public and private partners.
• Permanently conserve remaining high-priority farm, forest, and other open spaces throughout King County within 30 years.
• Work regionally to prepare for climate change impacts associated with County services such as wastewater treatment, stormwater, emergency management, public health, roads, flood risk reduction, and salmon recovery.
The plan will be considered this summer for adoption by the King County Council.
Executive Constantine said that climate change is “one of the paramount challenges of our generation.” In King County, climate change affects natural resources such as salmon and forests as well as public-health challenges associated with heat and wildfire, and economic impacts related to increasingly extreme weather and flood risks.
The Strategic Climate Action Plan builds on King County’s long track record of innovation, leadership, and investment in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for the impacts of climate change. For example:
• Since 2010, investments in energy efficiencies have reduced County building energy use by more than 15 percent, generating over $3 million in annual savings.
• King County Metro has pioneered the use of hybrid bus technology, and the County is on track to have an all-hybrid or electric bus fleet by 2018.
• The County is now producing renewable energy equivalent to 57 percent of its government operational energy needs.
• The County and 10 cities that are part of the King County-Cities Climate Collaboration (K4C) – representing two-thirds of the county’s 2 million residents – have adopted ambitious joint commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
• Over the last decade, the Wastewater Treatment Division has been planning for the impacts of climate change, including sea level rise and increasing flood risks, on its infrastructure and operations.
The 2015 SCAP also advances King County’s commitment to equity and social justice. For example, investing in expanded commuter options and weaving together transit with land use will reduce GHG emissions while improving access to work, education, and health care.
As highlighted throughout the 2015 SCAP, the County recognizes that partnership is essential for the success of combatting climate change and is calling on the region’s public, private and civic sectors to also take action.
Read the King County 2015 Strategic Climate Action Plan at www.kingcounty.gov/climate.