Seattle, WA Green Ribbon Commission on Climate Protection

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Seattle, WA, US

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Type: Charter

Status: Launched in April 2005

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In February, 2005, Mayor Nickels issued the “Kyoto Challenge,” a national effort to tackle climate disruption and implement the Kyoto Protocol in cities across the United States. With hundreds of mayors across the United States now participating, the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement continues to gain support.

To meet the Kyoto goal locally and to provide a “green-print” for others to use elsewhere, the Mayor appointed the Green Ribbon Commission on Climate Protection. The Commission—which includes 18 leaders from Seattle 's business, labor, non-profit, government and academic communities— was specifically charged with developing local solutions to global climate disruption and beginning development of a Climate Action Plan.

The Commission issued its report and recommendations to Mayor Nickels in March, 2006; this report will serve as a basis for Seattle ’s Climate Action Plan.

As identified in the report, success in climate protection will require a deliberate, sustained, community-wide effort. Learn what you can do to maintain Seattle ’s national leadership in combating global warming and improving the quality of life of those who live in the city and beyond.

Mayor's Green Ribbon Commission on Climate Protection Charter

The Green Ribbon Commission (GRC) will recommend to the Mayor a climate protection goal for the Seattle community, and a range of actions to help achieve that goal. The Commission will assume the scientific validity of reports issued by the authoritative International Panel on Climate Change, and will recommend to the Mayor policies and programs that will make Seattle an international leader in efforts to stabilize the global climate, while at the same time improving local quality-of-life.


  • The GRC's goal is to develop a recommended Seattle Climate Action Plan for the Seattle community that meets or beats the Kyoto Protocol's greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for the U.S.: 7% reduction from 1990 levels by 2012. The GRC recognizes that this target is only a start, and that global climate stabilization will require reductions of worldwide emissions by approximately 70 to 80%.
  • The GRC will examine and recommend climate protection strategies for City government, businesses, households, residents and neighborhood/community groups. City government already has reduced emissions from its operations and facilities by more than 60%, while community-wide emissions are projected to increase by about 30% by 2020. Therefore, the GRC's primary focus will be on developing effective strategies and actions to reduce community-wide emissions.
  • The GRC will explore a range of approaches to climate protection, including public information and outreach campaigns; incentive-based strategies; and, where appropriate, regulatory measures.
  • While the main focus will be on pollution reduction opportunities in the Seattle community, the GRC also will consider actions to influence policies and programs at the regional, state and federal levels.


  • The GRC is appointed by the Mayor, and is comprised of approximately 15 representatives from a range of sectors and perspectives, including business and industry, labor, government, academia, and nonprofit organizations promoting public health, community development and environmental sustainability.
  • The GRC is co-chaired by Denis Hayes, president and ceo of the Bullitt Foundation and Orin Smith, retired president & ceo of the Starbucks Coffee Company. The co-chairs, along with the facilitator (OSE Director Steve Nicholas and/or a consultant), are charged with managing the process.
  • The GRC is staffed by the City's Office of Sustainability & Environment (OSE); OSE's responsibilities include: working with the co-chairs to manage GRC meetings; establishing and managing a Climate Working Group to provide technical support to the GRC, including assessment of action recommendations; working with the GRC to develop recommendations and draft reports to the Mayor; and overseeing and monitoring implementation of the final product: a Seattle Climate Action Plan.
  • The GRC will meet approximately four times between March of 2004 and December 2004, for approximately two hours per meeting. Staff will consult extensively with the co-chairs and Commission members in between meetings. The Commission will submit to the Mayor its Preliminary Report in October 2005, and its Final Report in December 2005.
  • While the GRC's primary task will be completed by December 2005, Commission members -- as much as possible -- will assist the Mayor and OSE with outreach on, and implementation of, its final recommendations.