Fossil fuels will no longer be used for heating, cooling, cooking or any other use in all new and substantially altered city-owned buildings under a "Green New Deal" executive order Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan signed Jan. 8.

The ban, which includes some significant exemptions, also directs that city agencies collaborate to come up with a plan by 2021 to eliminate fossil fuels from all other city-owned buildings. However, the measure did not set a deadline for achieving the goal.

It also directed all city departments to work with an oversight board to advance goals laid out in the Green New Deal. The resolution, which the Seattle City Council passed in August, said the city would aim to eliminate ""climate pollutants . . . that cause shifts in climate patterns" by 2030 (CU No. 1915 [15]). It says those sources include carbon dioxide, black carbon, methane, nitrogen oxides and fluorinated gases.

"We must eliminate our city's reliance on fossil fuels—from cars to buildings," Durkan said when she announced the policy. "More than half of the world's population lives in cities. We have an opportunity in Seattle to chart the right response to climate change, and that starts with actions like the ones we announced today to limit our greenhouse gas emissions."

Durkan's measure provides exemptions for some buildings, such as the new KeyArena currently under construction, The Seattle Times reports. Those facilities will be covered by the Buildings Electrification Strategy to be completed by 2021.

The executive order also directs city departments to develop better metrics to measure the city's progress on decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. The indicators will be updated at least quarterly and be accessible via an online dashboard to go live by Oct. 30.

Contributing Editor

Dan has covered stories from Seattle to Tbilisi; spent time with the AP, Everett Daily Herald and Christian Science Monitor; and was twice a member of a team nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He and his wife have three young children and live in Seattle.