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Cool Counties

Cool Counties Climate Stabilization Initiative

How to Become a Cool County

Build support for your effort

The threats of global climate change are now widely recognized as being among the most pressing issues facing us today. Recent statements by the world’s scientific community affirm that there is no longer any doubt that human influences and activity play a major role in our changing climate.

Acting individually to address climate change will help, but we also must have a concerted, coordinated effort if we are to address this problem adequately. We as county governments may not regulate emissions from power plants, automobiles, or even lawn and garden equipment, but we do have both the opportunity and the responsibility to take aggressive steps to reduce our operational greenhouse gas emissions, while at the same time leveraging our special role as region to effect positive change. We also must recruit our state and federal partners to take similar actions.

Here is a sample memo from Contra Costa County, CA’s climate change working group, which recommended becoming a Cool County. Here is a similar memo from Santa Clara, CA’s Facilities and Fleet Department.

For additional information about the science of global climate change, consider contacting the Union of Concerned Scientists of America. For more information about climate policy in the United States and other actions you can take, consider contacting the Pew Center on Climate Change or ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability.

Pass a Cool Counties resolution

Before you officially join the Cool Counties initiative by signing our Stabilization Declaration, you may need to pass a resolution or issue an executive order to do so. Here is King County’s sample executive order to join the Cool Counties initiative. Here is another sample resolution from Arlington, Virginia.

Sign the “Stabilization Declaration”

We urge you to sign the Cool Counties Declaration, which consists of the following commitments:

  1. A commitment to reduce county operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by creating an inventory of your local emissions and then planning and implementing policies and programs to achieve significant, measurable and sustainable reductions.
  2. A commitment to work closely with regional and state governments and others to reduce regional GHG emissions to 80 percent below current levels by 2050. One idea is to engage the nation's metropolitan planning organizations to develop regional GHG emissions inventories and create regional implementation plans that establish short-, mid-, and long-term emissions reduction targets. The goal is to stop the increase in emissions by 2010, and to achieve average reductions of 10 percent every five years thereafter through to 2050.
  3. A commitment to urge Congress and the Administration to enact a multi-sector national program of requirements, market-based limits, and incentives for reducing GHG emissions to 80 percent below current levels by 2050.
  4. A commitment to identify impacts of climate change on your region, and to implement plans to prepare for and build resilience to those impacts. 

Learn more

To learn more, please contact King County, WA or the Sierra Club:

If you are in California, please contact Alameda County at