Seattle, WA Resolution Supporting Efforts to Curb Global Warming

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Seattle, WA, US

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Type: Resolution

Status: Adopted on 7/23/01

Vote: In Favor - 9 Opposed - 0

Source File: Click here


Resolution Number: 30316
A RESOLUTION supporting efforts to curb global warming, adopting greenhouse gas emission reduction goals for the city of Seattle, and calling for continuing and new actions toward achieving those goals.

WHEREAS, the world's leading climate scientists have documented a clear global warming trend and the unmistakable impact of human activities on that trend; and

WHEREAS, global warming of the magnitude now predicted by the scientific community will cause extremely costly disruption of human and natural systems throughout the world; and

WHEREAS, the University of Washington's Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Oceans projects significant harm to the Pacific Northwest due to changes in weather patterns attributable to global warming, including forest decline, deteriorating air quality, sea level rise, and most alarmingly, disruption of the water cycle on which the region's water, power, and agricultural systems depend; and

WHEREAS, the International Panel on Climate Change has determined that stabilizing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will require emission reductions in excess of 60% of current emissions, and the Kyoto Protocol is a modest first step in the direction of those reductions;

WHEREAS, achieving greenhouse gas emission reductions required to protect the climate is of overriding importance not just to the community of nations but to the community of Seattle, which relies so heavily on the stability of the climate for our water and power supplies; and

WHEREAS, the federal government has demonstrated an alarming unwillingness to play a leadership role in climate protection; and

WHEREAS, local actions can help to pave the way for national leadership, by providing working models of greenhouse gas reduction initiatives that reinforce other high-priority policy objectives; and

WHEREAS, 96 cities in the United States and over 400 cities throughout the world are inventorying greenhouse gas emissions and adopting reduction targets; and

WHEREAS, 16 cities from around the world have agreed in the Toronto Declaration to send a communique to the Conference of the Parties meeting in Morocco in November 2001 declaring their intention to achieve much higher levels of greenhouse gas reduction than those called for in the Kyoto Protocol; and

WHEREAS, many of the critical components of a local action plan for climate protection are already in place or under development in Seattle, including the Green Building Program, the Municipal Conservation Program, the Climate Wise Partnerships program; the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program, the Green Fleet Program, the Urban Forest Strategic Plan, City Light's Strategic Resource Plan, and others; and

WHEREAS, King County and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency are also developing climate protection plans, providing opportunities for a strong, coordinated regional approach to greenhouse gas emission reduction; and

WHEREAS, Resolution 30144 establishes Seattle City Light as a global leader in climate protection by committing the utility to an electric energy resource strategy that produces zero net greenhouse gas emissions; and

WHEREAS, Resolution 30256 affirms the above commitment by setting an ambitious timetable for securing greenhouse gas offsets sufficient to meet the goal of zero net greenhouse gas emissions; and

WHEREAS, greenhouse gas reduction activities contribute substantially to the achievement of many of the City's highest priority goals, including but not limited to: energy security and cost reduction; affordable housing; mobility and, transportation choices; solid waste reduction and recycling; salmon recovery; reliable, affordable water supply; urban and rural forest protection; sustainable economic development; and clean air; and

WHEREAS, the City's existing energy, solid waste, and transportation and air quality initiatives - all designed and implemented to meet established City priorities - are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than the reductions called for in the Kyoto Protocol while delivering tangible local economic and environmental benefits;


1. The City of Seattle is committed to the long-range goal of stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, and will do its part to achieve that goal.

2. The Office of Sustainability and Environment is directed to coordinate the analysis and planning of greenhouse gas emission reduction activities. Specifically,

a. By January 1, 2002, working with appropriate City departments and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, complete and deliver an inventory of 1990 and 2000 greenhouse gas emissions, including as a first step, defining the scope of activities and geographic boundaries to be included in the inventory. The completed inventory should include:

i. an accounting of greenhouse gas reductions associated with City activities to date, particularly those undertaken since 1990;

ii. an accounting of greenhouse gas reductions undertaken since 1990 within Seattle but not associated with City operations;

iii. a description of Seattle City Light's progress to date in implementing Resolutions 30144 and 30256

iv. A projection of future emissions through at least the year 2010.

b. By June 1, 2002 present to the City Council a proposed plan for the City's role in achieving greenhouse gas emission reduction targets ranging from 7% below 1990 levels (the Kyoto target) to 40% below 1990 levels by the year 2010. The plan should be coordinated with planning activities of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. The plan should include but not be limited to:

i. an assessment of the most promising alternatives for greenhouse gas reductions, the approximate costs and benefits of those alternatives, and the estimated time and resources required to implement them;

ii. recommended combinations of measures to meet a range of potential emission reduction targets from 7% to 40% below 1990 levels by 2010;

iii. an assessment of which of those alternatives require actions that lie outside the City's control and what the City can do to influence those responsible for such actions;

iv. an assessment of the time and resources required for continuing coordination of the plan and to assure its successful implementation.

3. The City of Seattle calls upon national leaders to support a strong, enforceable international greenhouse gas reduction treaty with targets and timetables at least as aggressive as those in the Kyoto Protocol.

4. The City of Seattle actively supports international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will exceed its share of the greenhouse gas reduction requirements of the Kyoto Protocol by a significant margin. This commitment applies to emissions caused by City operations and emissions in the Seattle community as a whole.

5. The City of Seattle joins with the cities that have signed the Toronto Declaration in calling for strong national leadership and pledging to promote cooperation toward the ultimate goal of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

6. In addition to the substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions it has already achieved, the City will continue to achieve steady progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions throughout the period covered by the Kyoto Protocol and beyond.