Seattle City Council on Aug. 12 adopted a resolution that lends Seattle’s support to the Green New Deal movement, proposing a sweeping local platform of ambitious ecological, social and economic goals.
However, a few days earlier a council committee tabled a proposed ordinance establishing oversight holding Seattle city government to the goals.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan praised the vote in a press release and signed an executive order directing city departments to evaluate how the city can meet the Green New Deal’s goals and to find ways of more quickly implementing the city’s 2018 Climate Action Plan (CU No. 1845 ).
Seattle’s Green New Deal resolution’s goals are far broader than federal legislation proposed in Congress, where it has made little headway. The city’s version addresses issues as disparate as rent control and mass transit electrification.
The resolution states that while the city “has made some progress towards reducing its dependence on fossil fuels, that progress is insufficient to make the necessary changes to shift Seattle’s economy to be more equitable and ecologically sustainable.”
It calls for rapidly advancing renewable energy, energy efficiency and transportation electrification.
The resolution says Seattle should be “free of climate pollutants, meaning those that cause shifts in climate patterns, including carbon dioxide, black carbon, methane, nitrogen oxides, and fluorinated gases, by 2030.”
It also says Seattle City Light should expand the amount of wind and solar generation in its portfolio “for export on energy markets to ultimately replace energy produced by utilities using natural gas, coal, and other fossil fuels.”
It calls for reducing utility costs for low-income households.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings is another theme in the resolution. More than one-third of Seattle’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2016 came from energy used to heat, cool and power buildings, according to a GHG inventory released by the city in February.
Construction of new fossil-fuel infrastructure in the city and surrounding King County should be limited, according to the resolution. Further, it calls for supporting energy efficiency and weatherization in buildings and homes.
The resolution proposes several strategies for the city to address climate change, including requiring “proposed infrastructure projects that use city funding estimate upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emissions,” and investing in electric grid modernization to improve efficiency and reliability.
Also called for is adoption of a plan to have ride-share and car-share services and for freight using only electric vehicles by 2025. Other parts urge establishing pilot programs to spur electric vehicle adoption, and say the city should aid King County Metro Transit in converting its fleet of buses to electric power (CU No. 1880 ).
While establishing a Green New Deal oversight board stalled in committee, it is not dead. Council member Mike O’Brien, who sponsored the resolution and the oversight ordinance, plans to propose a revised version in the coming weeks, reported Crosscut, a Seattle-based news outlet.
King County Council could see its own Green New Deal proposal, as well. County Council member Larry Gossett expressed interest in introducing a similar resolution, Crosscut reported.