San Juan County, WA Declaration on Climate Change

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San Juan County, WA, US

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Type: Resolution

Status: Adopted on 1/31/08

Source File:



WHEREAS, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, representing over 2,500 climate scientists and twenty years of research, has concluded that global warming caused by human emission of greenhouse gases is among the most significant problems facing the world today;

WHEREAS, projected impacts of global warming will likely include changing patterns of habitats for disease-carrying insects; changes in rain and snowfall patterns, affecting water supplies, agriculture, and the frequency of flooding; changes in natural habitats that will eliminate some species and introduce new ones; with sea-level rise and greater coastal storm damage putting island and coastal environments at increased risk;

WHEREAS, state, regional and local governments throughout the United States are adopting emission reduction targets and programs and that this leadership is multi-partisan and coming from governors, county officials, and mayors alike;

WHEREAS, many counties throughout the nation, both large and small, are reducing the production of global warming pollutants through programs that provide economic and quality of life benefits, such as reduced energy bills, green space preservation, air quality improvements, reduced traffic congestion, improved transportation choices, and economic development and job creation through energy conservation and new energy technologies;


The San Juan County Council, recognizing the critical nature of global warming and climate change, and cognizant of the actions being taken by local, state, and federal governments and other organizations around the globe, pledges to take steps for climate stabilization, and strongly encourages San Juan County residents and businesses to reduce their carbon footprints.

The San Juan County Council will serve as a model for the community by taking the following actions:

1. Switch to compact fluorescent, full spectrum compact fluorescent, and LED light bulbs in county government offices;

2. Instruct county staff to turn off all lights, computers, and other devices when leaving for the day;

3. Reduce individual travel and encourage telecommuting and teleconferencing whenever possible for county business;

4. Make composting bins available to county residents at wholesale prices;

5. Set up a county web page on climate change that serves as an information resource with a link to San Juan County Conservation District;

6. Strive to meet U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in all future county government buildings/remodels ;

7. Use biodiesel in county government diesel vehicles, as it becomes practical, with the goal of usingB2} or greater biodiesel in all county diesel vehicles by 2010;

8. Switch to more fuel-efficient vehicles, such as hybrid vehicles, when appropriate, in new county fleet purchases targeting a combined fleet-wide average of 36 mpg by 2012;

9. Provide more trails, bikeways and improved roadway shoulders for walking and biking--provide more bicycle parking throughout the county;

10. Adopt a green building program based on the LEED certification, with incentives, for San Juan County;

11. Require all county departments to buy recycled products, when possible, including paper products that use atIeast30Yo recycled content;

12. Evaluate, strengthen and enforce tree and vegetation protection ordinances in San Juan County;

13. Support mini-bus and mini-van service throughout San Juan County, as well as the use of the sjRIDESHARE program;

14. Create an inventory of both county government operational and county geographical greenhouse gas emissions. Set a target of greenhouse gas emissions reductions after inventory data are available;

15. Require solid waste facilities countywide to handle and provide for full recycling, composting, and reuse centers;

16. Recycle all recyclable products in all county buildings and facilities;

17. Purchase only non-Styrofoam containers for all county facilities and county activities;

18. Work with Washington State Ferries to encourage increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic on ferries coming to the islands, and ask the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau to further promote non-motorized visitor-ship in the San Juan Islands.

Here are ten actions that San Juan County residents and businesses can take:

1. Know your carbon footprint in order to understand your energy use habits- use the Bonneville Environmental Foundation's "carbon calculator" that is tailored to the Pacific Northwest (;

2. Reduce energy use by switching to compact fluorescent, full spectrum compact fluorescent, and LED light bulbs which can be disposed at the hazardous waste disposal sites on San Juan Island and Orcas Island in April 2008 and on Lopez Island either September or October 2008;

3. Reduce energy use by driving less- - walk, bike, carpool, rideshare, more fuel efficient vehicles;

4. Reduce energy use by buying local produce/food products and other market products, avoiding products shipped long distances and use canvas bags for shopping;

5. Reduce energy use by turning off all electrical equipment and lights when not in use;

6. Reduce energy use by improving home energy efficiency (ask OPALCO for a home energy audit) and buying Energy Star appliances;

7. Reduce energy use by turning down water heater thermostats to 120 degrees:

8. Recycle all newsprint, cardboard, glass, metal, and plastic;

9. Compost food products and yard waste; and

10. Cut less trees and shrubs and plant more native drought resistant types.