Seattle’s Green New Deal law focuses on fighting climate change

The Green New Deal aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Seattle and build community resilience against the effects of climate change.

SEATTLE – On Thursday morning, Mayor Bruce Harrell signed the Green New Deal bill, which includes a series of projects that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Seattle and build community resilience against the effects of climate change.

The Green New Deal legislation includes nearly $ 6.5 million earmarked for various climate projects across the city.

“We know the impacts of climate change,” Harrell said. “They are already falling on our city. As we fight for tomorrow, we have to think about today’s impact. Here lies the challenge, but it is a challenge for which we are ready.”

The new law represents a part of the investment in personnel expenditure for the fight against climate change. Staff spending, which passed in 2020, has already committed $ 14.5 million this year, nearly $ 20 million in 2023 and over $ 20 million in 2024 to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Here are the key projects that will begin as part of the city’s Green New Deal:

  • $ 2.4 million to identify and develop resilience hubs in Seattle: Harrell said Resilience Hubs help ensure communities are supported in preparedness, response and recovery from climate change-related emergencies such as extreme heat events and fire smoke. The city is working to meet community needs at the nexus of resilience, emergency management and response, climate change mitigation and social equity. Mayor Harrell also proposed $ 2 million in his Parks district budget proposal for the Resilience Hub effort.
  • $ 2.3 million to support efforts to get all city-owned buildings off fossil fuels by 2035. The city of Seattle owns 650 buildings, including 27 public libraries that are increasingly at the forefront of community assistance during climate emergencies. Harrell said the money will provide heating, cooling and clean air to the NE and SW Library branches to support communities during times of climate crisis.
  • $ 2 million to increase the number of city-funded affordable housing projects. Harrell said investing in the electrification of affordable multi-family housing will lead to fewer new fossil fuel systems “that lock up newly created affordable housing – and its residents – in decades of climate pollution.”
  • $ 300,000 to support climate data and the Community Health Indicator project. Part of the Green New Deal’s goal is to collect data to monitor the climate impact on transportation, community health and other programs. Officials said these metrics will enable the city to refine climate justice and reduce the impact of greenhouse gases.
  • $ 100.00 for community effort to inform climate elements of One Seattle’s global plan update. This investment sets aside funds to support community engagement that will inform the climate components embodied in One Seattle’s global plan, a pivotal effort to shape land use, transportation, and infrastructure investment over the next 20 years.

Council member Teresa Mosqueda said one of her main goals is to protect communities and frontline workers from the negative effects of climate change. These communities are often closest to highways, air and noise pollution, she said. Frontline workers also have the highest exposure to toxic pollutants.

Patience Malaba of the Housing Development Consortium said that communities of color and low income are negatively impacted by global warming.

“Most of the climate pollution and environmental damage occurs where BIPOCs and low-income individuals reside,” Malaba said. “It is imperative that Seattle’s climate investments are designed to make our buildings safe, healthy and resilient for our communities and that they prioritize vocational training and professional development for those most affected by the extraction and combustion of fuels. fossils “.

Mosqueda said it is important to act locally even if climate change affects the whole world.

“It’s about this moment,” Mosqueda said. “It’s about having a climate that we can breathe and live in right now and make sure Seattle is more liveable right now. The global crisis we’ve seen may seem too big to address, but we can and must act locally.” .

LOOK: Tipping Point: A look at the effects of climate change on the future state of Washington

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