Edmonds, Washington, is located 15 miles north of Seattle and 18 miles south of Everett. The vibrant city, is easily accessible by various transportation methods such as Amtrak, Sound Transit commuter rail, buses, ferries, automobiles, and bicycles.
During Tuesday’s Edmonds City Council meeting, the council members voted unanimously to approve the city’s Climate Action Plan for 2023. The adoption of this plan sets the stage for a determined effort to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within the city of Edmonds.
In addition to approving the Climate Action Plan, the council also passed the Stormwater Management Action Plan, a mandatory state requirement. The council members also received a presentation on a potential purchase of a residential property in South Edmonds with the intention of converting it into parkland.
Citing numerous reports on the urgent need to address climate change worldwide, Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson thanked the council “from the bottom of my heart” for approving the plan.
History of the Climate Action Plan
In 2010, the city implemented its Climate Action Plan with the objective of significantly reducing GHG emissions. However, in recent years, the community has fallen behind in meeting this goal.
- Reduce emissions to 7% below 1990 levels by 2012 (per the Kyoto Protocol)
- 25% below 1990 levels by 2035
- 50% below 1990 levels by 2050 (per Washington State GHG goals in place at the time)
- In response, a new plan was approved during a city council meeting held on Tuesday evening. While the approved plan outlines various tasks that aim to mitigate climate change, some tasks require additional legislative action by the council at a later date. An implementation plan created by the city staff and Climate Protection Committee will ensure the city stays on track with the designated goals.
However, after a 2017 analysis the community discovered Edmonds reduced GHG emissions in some sectors but increased emissions in others. The GHG emissions in Edmonds have remained essentially the same since 2000 despite plans to reduce them. The largest contributor to the increase in GHG emissions is on-road transportation, which increased by 27% between 2000 and 2017. Additionally, natural gas consumption in buildings increased by 25%. Edmonds has the potential to make strides in decreasing GHG emissions in the future, given the alterations in market conditions and state legislation that have taken place.
Action Steps for the City
- Adopt regulations to require new multi-family and commercial buildings to be 100% electric by 2023.
- Support changes to state building code to allow Edmonds also to mandate that new single-family residences be 100% electric.
- Require EV charging infrastructure with new development.
- Support mixed-use and transit-oriented development in neighborhood commercial centers.
- Develop a green building incentive program.
- Develop an action plan to adapt to sea level rise in Edmonds.
For Businesses and Individuals
- Replace fossil-fuel-burning heating systems, hot water heaters, and cooking equipment powered with efficient electric appliances.
- Replace fossil fuel-burning vehicles with electric vehicles.
- Reduce vehicle trips by using transit, telecommuting, biking, or walking.
- Conserve energy wherever possible, especially energy from fossil fuels.
Stormwater Management Action Plan
The Stormwater Management Action Plan was also passed with unanimous agreement. As per the Washington State Department of Ecology’s stormwater planning guidance, the city must pick and prioritize a local watershed for enhancement before March 31. After careful consideration of various factors, such as the proportion of the watershed’s jurisdiction under Edmonds’ authority, social fairness, public opinion, and its ability to promote other plans/projects, the city opted for the Perrinville Creek watershed.