The world’s top scientists released their latest report on climate change this week, warning that the Earth is on pace for severe damage. The UN climate report is a clear call for more ambitious climate action to prevent the worst effects of climate change. While King County is leading the nation with solutions and has a strong foundation to rapidly cut greenhouse gas emissions, together we must do more.
At the Department of Natural Resources and Parks, we’re advancing King County’s Strategic Climate Action Plan goal to cut countywide greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of this decade, in part by reducing carbon pollution generated by waste with our new initiative, Re+ – the County’s approach to reinventing our region’s solid waste system. In addition to supporting innovative projects, Re+ will include actions aimed at reimagining the way we manage waste at the city, county, and state level.
We’re expanding regional trails that connect to high-capacity transit, offering healthier, non-motorized mobility options that connect more people to the best opportunities while reducing carbon pollution.
We began construction on a new 572-foot-long weathered steel bridge that will link 22-miles of uninterrupted trails to complete segments of the Foothills Trail at the King-Pierce county line. Last year we began construction on a new segment of Lake to Sound Trail – which will connect five South King County cities and two Link light rail stations – and began installing a new trail bridge that will connect Eastrail to Sound Transit’s Wilburton Station by the end of next year.
Our Solid Waste Division became the first organization in the state to roll out a new model of battery-electric heavy-duty truck manufactured in Renton, opening a new market for heavy-duty zero-emission fleets.
King County Executive Dow Constantine is making commercial buildings and multi-family homes more energy efficient by making low-interest financing available for energy and seismic upgrades to more than 4,000 existing and new buildings.
At the same time, we’re working with community partners to prepare our region for climate impacts, such as developing King County’s first-ever Wildfire Risk Reduction Strategy and preparing for more frequent, severe heat waves.
And we’re making our region’s critical infrastructure – including our wastewater treatment system – more resilient to climate impacts as we experience more frequent, severe storms.
Our actions are shaped by the expertise of frontline communities, those disproportionately impacted by climate change. Recognizing that climate change #ClimateChange deepens existing racial inequities, we will continue to partner with frontline communities to produce results.
There are actions we can all take, such as taking transit and trails for more trips, supporting local farmers, installing an energy-efficient heat pump at your home, and volunteering to help us achieve 3 Million Trees.
Climate change can be daunting, but we’ve already demonstrated what we can achieve when we mobilize as a region to produce measurable results that shape a resilient, equitable, sustainable future – and our commitment will endure.