Environmental justice key to Seattle mayor's executive order on Green New Deal | KNKX

Environmental justice key to Seattle mayor's executive order on Green New Deal

Jan 9, 2020

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has signed an executive order implementing a Green New Deal for the city to fight climate change.

As she signed the executive order, Durkan also announced $250,000 in environmental justice grants, going to seven projects that respond to the impacts of climate change. 

The Seattle City Council began discussing a Green New Deal last summer and unanimously passed a non-binding resolution to create one in August.

Now, Durkan is directing the city to take concrete steps to systematically shrink Seattle’s carbon footprint, at a rate scientists say is necessary to limit average global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Actions will include a new requirement for fossil-free fuels to power heating, cooling and cooking in new municipal buildings. Existing buildings will have to phase out their dependence on natural gas and coal-power infrastructure and transition instead to cleaner, electric-based alternatives. There also will be a push for more high-occupancy, electric-powered transportation.

The executive order creates a Green New Deal City team that must come up with a top-10 list of actions by June 1. Detailed analysis is due at that time as well — on cost, impacts and compliance with the city’s Race and Social Justice Initiative.

Environmental justice is a key aspect of Seattle’s Green New Deal, which aims to ensure that the benefits of transitioning to clean energy go to communities that have been most burdened by the fossil fuel economy in the past.