Local climate action supporters joined the King County Executive and Council Chair to cheer the signing of King County’s 2015 Strategic Climate Action Plan, a bold blueprint for reducing carbon pollution and preparing our region for the impacts of climate change. It’s a plan the co-founder of Earth Day has described as the best he has seen.
King County Executive Dow Constantine and Council Chair Larry Phillips signed into law one of the most ambitious climate action plans in the United States. It provides a roadmap for the region to reduce carbon pollution, increase transit, protect open spaces, improve recycling options, and prepare for climate change impacts.
The co-founder of Earth Day, Bullitt Foundation President Denis Hayes, reviewed the plan that Executive Constantine proposed in September and said, “Your plan is the best that I’ve seen. It has bold interim and bold final targets, and it proposes policies that would move the county powerfully in the right direction.”
“Climate change threatens our health, economy, environment—our entire future,” said Executive Constantine. “This ambitious, comprehensive strategic plan ensures that King County will remain a national leader in the effort to confront the greatest challenge of our generation.”
"Climate change is the paramount challenge of our generation—it poses immediate threats to our resources and security and is an existential threat to our children and grandchildren," said Council Chair Phillips, who will participate in the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris next month. "King County has a decade of increasing leadership in addressing climate change, and our updated Strategic Climate Action Plan puts us once again at the forefront of climate action."
The signing ceremony followed a unanimous vote by the Metropolitan King County Council to approve the Executive’s proposed 2015 Strategic Climate Action Plan, which was developed in partnership with 13 cities in King County.
The plan outlines commitments and actions that will:
- Double transit ridership by 2040.
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.
- Achieve a 70 percent recycling rate in the King County solid waste service area by 2020.
- Partner to phase out coal-fired electricity by 2025 and increase development of renewable energy resources.
- Use 100 percent greenhouse gas-neutral electricity in government operations by 2025.
- Plant at least 1 million trees by 2020 in cooperation with public and private partners.
- Permanently conserve remaining high-priority farms, forests, and other open spaces throughout King County within 30 years.
- Prepare for climate change impacts associated with King County services such as wastewater treatment, storm water, emergency management, public health, roads, flood-risk reduction, and salmon recovery.
Unlike the traditional approach in which community engagement ends when the plan is adopted, the Strategic Climate Action Plan creates the framework for ongoing engagement with a particular focus on communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change.
The County will collaborate with cities, businesses, nonprofits, utilities, and research universities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen the region's resiliency to climate change impacts.
Building on progress to reduce impacts of climate change
The action plan builds upon King County’s long track record of innovation, leadership, and investment in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for the impacts of climate change.
King County has already reduced energy usage in its buildings by more than 15 percent since 2010. Metro Transit has the greenest bus fleet in the nation and is on track to have an all-hybrid and electric fleet by 2018. Earlier this year, King County became the largest local government in the United States to use the same real-time energy-tracking software that Microsoft uses to reduce its carbon emissions and energy costs in its buildings.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the state's Growth Management Act, the Washington State Department of Commerce recently awarded King County its Lifetime Achievement Award for its innovative partnership with the City of Seattle to promote smart growth and protect local farmland and forestland.
- King County's 2015 Strategic Climate Action Plan
- Overview of King County's climate actions
- Executive's priority: Confronting climate change in King County
- INFOGRAPHIC: See what King County is doing to reduce climate impacts IMAGE
- VIDEO: Denis Hayes, co-founder of Earth Day, comments on King County's plan CLIP
Climate change threatens our health, economy, environment—our entire future. This ambitious, comprehensive strategic plan ensures that King County will remain a national leader in the effort to confront the greatest challenge of our generation.
Climate change is the paramount challenge of our generation. It poses immediate threats to our resources and security and is an existential threat to our children and grandchildren. King County has a decade of increasing leadership in addressing climate change, and now our updated Strategic Climate Action Plan puts us once again at the forefront of climate action. I am proud to sign our SCAP today and to share our work on climate change with other Local Climate Leader's Circle delegates at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris in December.
Your plan is the best that I’ve seen. It has bold interim and bold final targets, and it proposes policies that would move the county powerfully in the right direction.