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climate action

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

Seattle is working on changes to its tree protection ordinance. Trees provide shade and clean the air. They’re acknowledged by the City of Seattle for the ecosystem services they provide, which are increasingly called for as the climate warms. 

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

Youth activists concerned about climate change are gearing up for protest marches worldwide this weekend. On Saturday, for the second year running, they’ll take part in an event called The Zero Hour that was conceived by a young woman from Seattle.

Jaime Margonlin, a student at Seattle’s Holy Names Academy, was inspired by the women’s marches around the country and wanted to do something similar for climate. She’s in D.C. for the main march this year. But the movement she started is growing. 

Courtesy First American Project

A newly formed coalition of tribal leaders and communities of color plans to put its combined weight behind the latest voter initiative to curb carbon pollution.

Flickr via Compfight

Trees provide lots of benefits that make cities more livable and ecosystems healthier. Smaller cities around the region, including Redmond and Lake Forest Park, have ordinances in place to protect larger trees from being cut down by developers or homeowners.

Ellen Hoke / Great Pacific Race

Less than a week into an event that was expected to last well into July, Seattle climate rower Eliza Dawson is back on land.

All are safe, but strong Pacific winds ultimately thwarted her four-woman team’s attempt to travel 2,400 miles across the Pacific, on human-power alone.  

Ellen Hoke / courtesy GreatPacificRace.com

Seattle Climate Rower Eliza Dawson is in California now, in the final phases of training for the Great Pacific Race.

courtesy Rob Harmon, MEETS Coalition. MEETS stands for 'Metered Energy Efficiency Transaction Structure.'

One of the most effective sources of so-called ‘clean energy’ is increasing efficiency, so less is needed to heat or cool or light a building.

A new program from Seattle City Light incentivizes landlords to invest in those upgrades.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Confronting the likely effects of climate change can feel overwhelming. One recent graduate in atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington is channeling that fear into an ambitious athletic feat.

Eliza Dawson is joining three other women to row across the Pacific to Hawaii this summer. They hope to beat the world record in what she’s calling a race for the climate.  

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Environmental groups had high hopes going into the special legislative session that ended Thursday in Olympia. But even with Democratic majorities in both chambers of the legislature, passage of critical climate policies did not happen.

Have you ever wondered how big your personal contribution is to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change?

Hundreds of residents of Seattle and Edmonds are finding out by taking part in local competitions to see who can reduce their emissions the most over the next two months.  The game is called “Taming Bigfoot.”

Rick Bowmer / AP Photo

A public hearing on Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposal to tax fossil fuel emissions takes place Tuesday in Olympia. A coalition of environmental groups is urging people to go and organizing carpools to ensure a strong turnout.

They say the governor’s carbon tax is just one of at least three climate policies they want to see action on this session. And two groups have new polling data to back that up.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The federal government’s latest special report on climate change directly contradicts the Trump administration’s policies. Hundreds of pages long, the report outlines the latest science and states that humans are the main cause of planetary warming.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is in Bonn, Germany, this week for the United Nations latest conference on climate change. He’s part of a panel of local leaders talking about sub-national strategies for meeting commitments made in the Paris agreement, even after the U.S. withdrawal.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee are set to take part in an international conference on climate change Bonn, Germany. Brown and Inslee were invited to the 2017 UN Climate Change Conference by Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, who is presiding over conference proceedings this year.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Despite a lot of pressure from activists, Seattle will not be divesting from fossil fuel investments in its $2.5 billion pension fund. 

The board that oversees the pension fund for city employees met Thursday morning and faced a room full of protestors holding signs urging the city to take its money out of energy investments that pollute the air.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Edmonds is well-known as the first city in the state to ban disposable plastic bags. Now it’s taking concrete steps to more aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Donald Trump takes office later this week as President of the United States. After his election, many students in the Seattle area walked out of classes in protest. At a small public school in Redmond, they took a different approach. Students there have vowed instead to counter Trump’s threat to pull out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. They say even if the U.S. doesn’t meet the carbon reduction goals in the accord, they will.

Ted S. Warren, File / AP Photo

The Washington State Department of Ecology is recommending more aggressive efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the state. The agency has submitted new targets to the Legislature.

Rachel La Corte / AP Photo

More than half of the new revenue in the budget proposal announced by Governor Inslee this week comes from the introduction of a tax on carbon pollution. That’s even after Washington voters resoundingly rejected a carbon tax proposal on the fall ballot.

But research from the non-profit Nature Conservancy shows Inslee’s proposal is actually consistent with what voters want, even though only about 40 percent of Washington voters supported Initiative 732, the “carbon-neutral tax swap,”

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

It’s been eight years in the making, but Washington state finally has a rule that places limits on carbon pollution from its largest sources. It comes in response to reduction targets on greenhouse gas emissions first called for by the Legislature in 2008. That law called for limits that would get the state back down to 1990 levels by 2020, to 25 percent below the 1990 level by 2025 and 50 percent below it by 2050.

The Washington kids who filed suit against the state Department of Ecology to get tougher limits on carbon pollution say current policies don’t go far enough. Together with their backers, they’ve unveiled more aggressive legislation they say would protect their constitutional right to clean air.  

AP Images

Hundreds of activists are gathering in Anacortes this weekend for protests aimed at keeping fossil fuels in the ground.

The Pacific Northwest “Break Free from Fossil Fuels” event is part of two weeks of actions that have been taking place in dozens of cities all over the globe. Other U.S. cities on the list include Denver, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. 

Local authorities are warning residents to prepare for congestion.

About a dozen demonstrators blocked the tracks at a Burlington Northern Santa Fe yard to protest oil trains.
Elaine Thompson / AP Images

Five activists who joined forces in an attempt to stop oil and coal  trains from traveling through the Northwest have been convicted of criminal trespassing. That’s after a jury in Lynnwood handed down its verdict on Friday.

The so-called “Delta 5” lost their key argument, about whether it was necessary to chain themselves to the train tracks along with a huge tripod and banner, designed to stop the trains.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

Kids packed a courtroom in Seattle on Tuesday to hear oral arguments in a case about their future. Eight young teenagers are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the state Department of Ecology. They want to force action on climate change.

“It just feels like there’s not enough people who care about, like, animals and other things that can’t talk for themselves – babies who haven’t been born yet, people from the future, basically,” said 13-year-old Lara Fain.

Ted S. Warren / AP

More than 150 groups in Washington state have come together to form the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. It’s an effort to fight climate change that some are calling “historic in scope.” The consortium has announced plans to put a statewide carbon-capping initiative before voters in 2016. 

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

Mount Rainier is famous as the most glaciated peak in  the contiguous United States. But the massive flows of ice and snow that cover the mountain are retreating rapidly, likely more rapidly than ever in the record warmth of this summer.

Participants in the 2015 "Climate Boot Camp" put on by the Northwest Climate Science Center gathered this week in Mount Rainier National Park to learn more about the dynamics behind this phenomenon. 

Ted S. Warren / AP

Governor Jay Inslee’s plan to put a cap on carbon emissions and make big polluters pay got its first hearing in Olympia today. The bill would charge the state’s top emitters for each ton released, starting in July 2016. 

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

Small communities can be laboratories for societal change. That was one of the messages as a coalition of cities in King County celebrated commitments they’ve made to reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Leaders representing more than 60 percent of the county’s population have now signed on to goals outlined by the King County-Cities Climate Collaboration.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

More than 100 Washington businesses are calling for action on climate change and urging others to join them.

Companies including Microsoft, Foss Maritime, REI and Virginia Mason Medical Center have signed an open declaration, saying climate change is real and happening and that more action is needed to address it.

Steve Liptay Photo

This Saturday, environmental activist and author Bill McKibben will lead a rally against fossil fuel exports and the Keystone XL pipeline in Seattle. 

Known as one of the first voices to warn of the dangers of global warming, McKibben is on tour with his new book, Oil and Honey. He is also the founder of an international organization called 350.org, which he created to fight climate change. 

McKibben says 350 is "the most important number in the world, but nobody knew it until 2008, when Jim Hansen and his team at NASA published a paper saying we now know enough about carbon to know how much in the atmosphere is too much." 

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