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Confronting climate change

Confronting climate change

Climate change is one of the paramount challenges for our generation and generations to come

King County Executive Dow Constantine speaking at a podium.

Climate change is no longer a future problem. It’s happening now.

It’s deepening racial inequities and intensifying natural hazards – flooding, wildfires, extreme heat – that put our people, our economy, and our environment at risk.

It’s a growing threat to all living things that call King County home.

That’s why I have made confronting climate change a priority of my administration.

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Producing measurable results

A group of volunteers planting trees

Our employees and partners are producing measurable results. Together, we have:

  • Positioned King County Metro as the nation’s leader in the transition to fleets that produce zero emissions
  • Surpassed the goal of planting one million trees nearly one year ahead of schedule
  • Focused 98.5 percent of new growth in urban areas, connected to our growing transit and trail systems
  • Accelerated the pace of land conservation with a commitment to creating more equitable access to greenspace
  • United the efforts of local governments representing 80 percent of the county’s 2.25 million residents to advance transformational state energy policies
  • Advanced the Local Food Initiative, supporting local farmers and making access to nutritious, locally grown food more equitable
  • Strengthened land-use codes and developed adaption strategies to address sea level rise

Building momentum

Graphic that reads: Cut greenhouse gas emissions by half over the next decade

I am proud of the strong foundation we have established, yet we must build on our momentum and operate a regionwide scale with a stronger commitment to racial justice. And that’s what we will do with our Strategic Climate Action Plan.

It’s a comprehensive, integrated approach that will:

  • Quickly and dramatically decrease greenhouse gas emissions countywide
  • Elevate the voices and expertise of frontline communities, those disproportionately impacted by climate change
  • Prepare our region for climate impacts

Uniting efforts

A canoe paddles into Lake Washington.

Uniting the efforts of cities, Tribes, community-based organizations, scientific researchers, and businesses, we will build a more resilient, sustainable, equitable King County.

Our community-led, science-based approach will:

  • Cut countywide greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of this decade
  • Modernize codes to make affordable homes greener to construct, maintain, and operate while connecting them to our growing transit and trail systems
  • Launch 3 Million Trees, an initiative to increase tree canopy in communities where the need is greatest, accelerate land conservation, and prepare forests for climate impacts
  • Adapt policies, practices, and procedures to account for climate impacts and ensure that each decision and each investment contribute to a more resilient future.
  • Lead with equity and racial justice, including a new section of the action plan focused on climate justice, driven by frontline communities and the Climate Equity Community Task Force

An unprecedented response

King County Executive Dow Constantine speaking at a 3 Million Trees event.

We will succeed the same way we always do, by listening to experts, basing decisions on science, embracing innovation, and forging strong partnerships.

The greatest threat to humanity requires an unprecedented response.

It demands the courage to set and achieve ambitious goals that none of us could accomplish alone.

With fierce urgency and shared purpose, that is what we will achieve, together.

Dow Constantine
King County Executive


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography