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Climate change initiatives & programs

Climate change initiatives & programs

Combating climate change requires an integrated, regional response that builds on the shared vision and leadership of the region’s public, private and civic sectors, as well as the participation of all King County residents. As a regional entity, King County is in a unique position to advance regional solutions that address climate change. Learn more about County initiatives and programs that tackle climate change across sectors and regions.

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Solar panels

Climate Action Toolkit

Cities can take action to reach shared countywide greenhouse gas emission reduction goals with the Climate Action Toolkit. Developed by King County as a free resource for all cities, the Toolkit provides guidance on how to measure emissions and reduce them with a mix of strategies and actions. These tactics can be adapted to any city, regardless of size, land use patterns, and level of staff capacity and resources. Recommended actions also highlight other co-benefits, including equity, mobility, and green job creation.

Rooftop solar installer

Green Jobs Strategy

As the United States enters a moment of historic investment in addressing climate change through clean energy investments from the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, there are new possibilities for climate-connected workforce development. Through productive relationships between employers, training providers, community-based organizations, schools, labor partners, and local governments, there is an opportunity to ensure clean energy deployment brings good jobs to communities affected first and worst by climate change. The Green Jobs Strategy will connect frontline communities to living wage employment opportunities to build a skilled and diverse workforce across the green career spectrum.

One Million Trees - tree planting

3 Million Trees

King County is working to achieve the goal of an 80 percent reduction in countywide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To do this public, civic, and private sectors are partnering in a region-wide effort to plant one million trees as a way to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, increase tree canopy cover, create shade in urban areas, and so much more. Read the three million trees initiative.

Urban heat island mitigation in Seattle and King County

Urban Heat Island Mitigation

King County and City of Seattle conducted a heat mapping project in July 2020 to record ground-level temperature data that identifies which areas are more likely to experience the harmful health effects of rising temperatures. The temperature data, collected by community volunteers, was used to create a detailed area-wide map of local temperatures that take into account the effects of trees, buildings, and pavement on neighborhood temperatures. The results of the study have been summarized in the Heat Watch Report for Seattle & King County. You can also view the heat mapping results in an interactive map (note: use layer list to change viewing options). The heat mapping results will help inform actions that King County and City of Seattle take to prepare the region as climate change contributes to hotter summers.

Electric bus

Zero Emissions Fleet

King County Metro is taking action on climate change by reducing transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. To do this, Metro is transitioning to a zero-emission vehicle fleet powered by renewable energy. Read more about Metro’s zero-emission vehicle fleet plan.

Seattle - Elliott Bay air pollution

Climate Health Action Team (CHAT)

In 2015, after participating in the development of the King County Strategic Climate Action Plan, Public Health – Seattle-King County (Public Health) staff formed a Climate Health Action Team (CHAT)  to develop internal expertise on climate change and health, elevate the public health voice for climate action, and develop a strategic approach to Public Health engagement on this critical issue. The team includes representatives from across the department, including Preparedness, Communications, Chronic Disease & Injury Prevention, and Environmental Health Services.

Public Health, in collaboration with the CHAT, developed a Blueprint for Addressing Climate Change and Health in 2018 which describes the impacts of climate change on people in our region. It is intended to be used as a tool for putting people at the center of the climate change conversation.

Local Food Initiative - kids with carrots

Local Food Initiative

King County's Local Food Initiative is taking bold steps to support the local food economy, including to (1) better connect local farms to consumers, (2) increase access to healthy, affordable foods in underserved areas, (3) support farmers and protect farmland, and (4) create a sustainable farm-to-plate pipeline more resilient to the effects of climate change.

Sustainable Purchasing

Sustainable Purchasing

King County’s policies support the purchase of sustainable products and services that provide environmental, social and economic benefits. King County is committed to continuously improving the impacts of its procurement of goods and services in a transparent and accountable way that balances fiscal responsibility, social equity, and environmental stewardship. Read more about sustainable purchasing at the County and how you can be an EcoConsumer

Forest Carbon Program

King County’s new Forest Carbon Program is the nation’s first local government carbon credit program! This program is tackling climate change by offering local companies the opportunity to offset their carbon emissions by keeping forests intact here in the region.

Land Conservation Initiative

Land Conservation Initiative

A regional collaboration between King County, cities, business people, farmers, environmental partners and others has created a strategy to preserve our last, most important natural lands and urban green spaces within 30 years. Read more about the Land Conservation Initiative.

Environmental Education Programs & Resources

Environmental Education Programs & Resources 

Educating our youth and communities about climate change is important to create environmental leaders throughout the region. The County provides a variety of programs and services for all age groups. The County offers school programs and field trips, teaching materials, adult and educator workshops, internship and career programs, and more. Learn more about environmental education programs and resources