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Mayor Durkan Commits City of Seattle to New Actions to Fight Climate Change through Executive Order on Green New Deal

City will no longer build municipal buildings with fossil fuels, announces applications for youth climate council to advise the City 

Seattle (January 8, 2020) – Mayor Durkan signed an Executive Order today committing Seattle to new steps to combat climate change. The order requires that all new or substantially altered City of Seattle buildings operate without fossil fuels, and by January 2021, the City will develop a strategy to eliminate fossil fuel use in existing City buildings. Through the Executive Order announced today, the City will set an example that buildings can and should operate entirely without fossil fuels.

“We must eliminate our City’s reliance on fossil fuels – from cars to buildings,” said Mayor Durkan. “More than half of the world’s population lives in cities. We have an opportunity in Seattle to chart the right response to climate change, and that starts with actions like the ones we announced today to limit our greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Executive Order also directs City department to work with the Green New Deal Oversight Board and the Mayor’s Youth Climate Council to integrate the following Green New Deal principles into City work:

  • Reduce pollution at the rate of progress scientists say is necessary to limit average global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C; 
  • Promote economic opportunity and inclusive access to stable, well-paying jobs; and
  • Advance environmental justice by ensuring the benefits and investments of the clean energy transition accrue to those communities and populations historically most burdened by the fossil fuel economy. 

The Executive Order also improves the City’s data collection and sharing process on GHG emissions, requires annual Green New Deal reports through 2030, and directs the Office of Sustainability & Environment to engage stakeholders like the philanthropic community, business community, labor community, non-governmental organizations, health care community, county and state agencies, state legislators, and tribes achieve the goals of the Green New Deal.

The Executive Order directs departments to outline the actions and investments necessary to eliminate fossil fuel use in municipal buildings. Buildings with existing plans for substantial alterations and new buildings will be immediately prioritized for design without fossil fuel use. A strategy to eliminate fossil fuel use in existing City of Seattle buildings and projects will also be developed by an Interdepartmental Team of City departments by January 2021.

The Mayor and OSE also announced today that the City is investing $250,000, through the Environmental Justice Fund, to seven community-based projects to improve environmental conditions and respond to the impacts of climate change. Funding of up to $40,000 was awarded to projects that will be led by and benefit those most impacted by environmental and climate issues, including communities of color, immigrants, refugees, and Indigenous people. You can find more information on these investments here.

Applications for the Mayor’s Youth Climate Council will open next week. Any Seattle resident between the ages of 16 and 22, who is passionate about averting the climate emergency and environmental justice is encouraged to apply.