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Seattle: Being Carbon Neutral By 2050

1850 words - 7 pages

Seattle has made greenhouse gas mitigation a priority, having set a goal in the Climate Action Plan of carbon neutrality by 2050 (Simmons, 2013).

In order to achieve the goal of being carbon neutral by 2050, the City is measuring GHG emissions, engaging citizens in planning mitigation, setting priorities, developing policy, supporting citizen-led mitigation efforts, implementing municipal mitigation projects, and promoting mitigation with higher levels of government. This section summarizes the mitigation initiatives identified in the Climate Action Plan and discusses the financing mechanism that will be used to finance mitigation efforts.
3.1 Mitigation in the Climate Action Plan
The Climate Action Plan includes mitigation actions to implement by 2015 and actions to implement by 2030. The City’s climate change mitigation goals aim to reduce emissions from the transportation, land use, building, and waste sectors. The City has identified a number of indicators within each of these sectors, and has established targets for each indicator. Figure 3 shows Seattle’s 2008 Baseline emissions, the 2030 targets identified in the CAP, and projections for 2030 and 2050. This Figure excludes emissions from Commercial Transportation and from Waste.

Figure 3 Emissions Baseline and Targets for Passenger Vehicles and Buildings

An important function of the Climate Action Plan is to drive changes across other municipal planning functions. This influence and coordination is important because it reduces the cost of mitigation by piggybacking on and guiding ongoing municipal operations and development processes. A list of plans that relate to mitigation efforts identified in the Climate Action Plan is shown in Table 3.

Table 3 Municipal plans that relate to GHG mitigation
Transportation & Land Use Building Energy Waste
Seattle Comprehensive Plan
Transportation Strategic Plan
Consolidated Plan for Housing and Community Development
Transit Master Plan Bicycle Master Plan Pedestrian Master Plan Neighbourhood Plans Freight Master Plan (2014) Seattle City Light Integrated Resource Plans
Seattle City Light Strategic Plan
Green Buildings and Sites Policy
Municipal Resource Conservation Management Plan (2013) Solid Waste Management Plan
Public Utilities Strategic Business Plan
Solid Waste Facilities Master Plan

The requirement to coordinate across all municipal departments reveals the reliance of GHG mitigation on funding for other municipal functions. The CAP states that the full GHG reduction potential will only be possible if all related plans are fully funded, and notes that there is currently a serious lack of funding (especially in the Transportation sector).
3.2 Capacity
The City’s mitigation efforts are led by the Office of Sustainability (OSE). The OSE’s role includes coordinating city-wide sustainability efforts, leading the deployment of innovative projects, and planning climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts (Simmons, n.d.)....

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