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Council adopts plan identifying interim steps to tackle climate change

Summary

Updating goals to reduce County greenhouse gas emissions and to prepare for climate effects

Story

The Metropolitan King County Council gave its unanimous support today to a motion identifying a "near-term" work plan to address climate change. This work will be underway while the King County Executive is developing the strategic climate action plan adopted by the Council February 27.

“King County has long been on the forefront of the nation in addressing the climate crisis,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, Chair of the Transportation, Economy, and Environment Committee and prime sponsor of the motion. “This legislation ensures those efforts continue while we develop a new Strategic Climate Action Plan to advance our work.”

“Today’s legislation specifically calls for King County to continue collaborating with other jurisdictions and agencies to address climate change as we develop a new Climate Action Plan,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson, co-sponsor of the motion. “Regional cooperation is critical to achieving our goal of environmental sustainability.”

“Action now will benefit future generations, and future plans will need to evolve with new information and insights, allowing us to tackle climate change directly and aggressively,” said County Executive Dow Constantine.

“King County is maintaining its strong commitment to protecting the region from the effects of climate change,” said Council Chair Larry Gossett. “Since the initial plan was adopted seven years ago, it makes sense to refine those goals as the County Executive prepares the County’s Strategic Climate Action Plan.”

“By reducing our emissions and focusing on the integration of new, green technologies, King County can save a lot of money and gain efficiency,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague. “I’m proud that King County has been a consistent leader on environmental issues.”

In 2006, the Council adopted a motion urging specific commitments to reducing King County’s greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring that King County is prepared for the impacts of climate change. The Council made updates to those policies in the 2008 Comprehensive Plan, the 2010 Energy Plan and 2010 County Strategic Plan, and the 2011 Transit Strategic Plan.

The adopted motion acknowledges the changes in County goals and targets since 2006, refining some areas and reviewing specific actions proposed to address climate change.
There are six categories of actions, under which specific, individual actions are described.

• Targets & Measures of Greenhouse gas emissions
• Land Use & Transportation Management
• Land Use & Technical Assistance
• Environmental Management/Emergency Preparedness/Climate Change Adaptation
• Energy & County Operations
• Working with Others

The legislation lists specific actions within those categories to reflect 2012 programs and actions that King County government is already taking—from setting countywide-level emissions reduction targets and promoting compact communities and transit use to planning for climate change-related emergencies including severe weather, flooding, and drought.


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