Seattle/King County Climate News 9.10.22

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Robin Briggs

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Sep 10, 2022, 7:44:39 PM9/10/22
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I woke up this morning to smoke filled air, and have received a number of alerts today from the City of Seattle about extremely unhealthy air quality. Before about 10 or 12 years ago, I went on hikes over the summer and never had to worry all that much about smoke or fires. Now it is a yearly event. I hope you are all staying healthy in spite of it all.

Here's the latest on climate from our region:

Seattle

The City Council voted to approve a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers. It will phase in over several years.

The Mayor has stated approval of the Green New Deal Oversight Board's spending recommendations for 2022. The full Council will vote on this Sept. 13 as part of a larger budget update bill.

The Office of Sustainability and Environment (OSE) is hiring a Green New Deal Strategic Advisor to "serve as an advisor and thought leader to OSE leadership and staff on the Green New Deal Oversight Board, and will represent OSE both internally and externally to a variety of audiences".

The Transportation Committee approved the nomination of Greg Spotts as the new head of SDOT. Full Council will vote on Sept. 13. Councilmembers questioned Mr. Spotts on their priorities for SDOT, in addition to their previous questions where the written answers were posted here. Questions centered around mobility, safety & Vision Zero, bridge maintenance, climate resilience, and decarbonization. Mr. Spotts is also having a listening tour to "walk, bike, roll and ride transit ... to see what is working well and what needs improvement". Sign up here if you or your group would like to ride transit, bike, or walk with Mr. Spotts and point out problems or concerns in your neighborhood.

The Public Assets and Homelessness Committee discussed a resolution to "reimagine Third Ave", sponsored by Andrew Lewis. The Downtown Seattle Association is advocating for expanding sidewalk space, with more public space with seating and more space for walking and transit stops. 

King County

The County is circulating a survey on affordable housing and climate change in the Comprehensive Plan, with some questions about how the County should act on climate.

Sound Transit

Claudia Balducci proposed that Sound Transit do an early start on the East Link line with service from Mercer Island to Redmond, while waiting for bridge repair work to complete the link up to Sound Transit Line 1 in Seattle.

PSRC

PSRC announced some ongoing work:

  • 2030 GHG analysis and 4 part GHG strategy will be released by Dec. 2022.

  • A Regional Emissions Analysis will be released by Dec. 2022 including an updated regional GHG inventory for 2019 (previous is from 2015; updated every 4 years), a wedge/reduction analyses across all sectors, with work contributed by seven partner agencies.

  • Working with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency on an online clearinghouse and webinars to advance zero emissions vehicles in the region

  • Puget Sound Climate Preparedness Collaborative is multi-agency regional coordination on climate preparedness and resilience 

PSRC will be holding a webinar on TOD for All: Planning for 1 Million+ New People Near Transit to "explore innovative techniques and best practices to build and sustain equitable transit communities that are accessible to all people and help to achieve the region’s vision for growth." On October 21, 9am-12pm.

State

The State Building Code Council is working on a new version of the state's residential building codes, which apply to single family houses and small apartment buildings. They are considering amendments that would require high efficiency heat pumps and improved ventilation for gas stoves. Unlike the commercial codes, local jurisdictions cannot have their own building codes, so these codes are doubly important for reducing emissions in buildings.

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