New resolution in Seattle to cut greenhouse gas emissions

Seattle passes a resolution that will begin laying out an ambitious plan for the city to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and improve its residents’ lives. Not yet binding, the resolution envisions, among other things, free public transit, a limit on new fossil fuel construction, 100 percent electric vehicle and an infrastructure plan that takes sea level rise into account.

The move by Seattle highlights how local and state governments are setting ambitious targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the absence of federal action. No policies have changed yet, however the Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said that city lawmakers are researching their options and working with constituents and community leaders to determine how to move forward.

The resolution mentions a congestion pricing plan to support low-income transit and developing “green zones” to provide financing in neighborhoods that have historically borne the brunt of pollution.

Durkan proposed a tax on home heating oil to help thousands of homes transition to some form of cleaner energy. If enacted it would impose a tax on heating oil starting July 1, 2020 on heating oil providers and a requirement for heating oil tank owners to decommission or upgrade all existing underground oil tanks by 2028. Revenue from the tax will provide rebates and grants for Seattle homeowners to energy efficient electric heat pumps.

This spring, Washington became the fifth state or territory—following Hawaii, California, New Mexico and Puerto Rico—to pass legislation committing to 100 percent clean electricity by 2045. Other states, including New York, have adopted aggressive policies to meet goals set by the Paris climate agreement, which the Trump administration abandoned in 2017.

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