SEATTLE — “Without federal leadership – I think we need to give up on federal leadership for a while – I think it’s up to cities and states to lead,” Moon told Seattle’s Morning News.
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Moon unveiled a plan for Seattle to address human-influenced climate change Tuesday. In a post on Medium, Moon relates the need for action to Hurricane Harvey that struck Texas, leaving many without shelter and destroying entire communities.
The climate crisis is escalating. In the case of Hurricane Harvey, we can see how lack of leadership and poor planning intensified the impacts of the storm. Over the last 25 years Houston irresponsibly permitted commercial development to cover half of the wetlands that could have soaked up storm water runoff. Many Seattleites have family in Texas who are stranded, seeking evacuation, and who need our support. Nearly 500,000 people need disaster relief and, as I write, levees are failing and nearly 30,000 people are in shelters. As we have seen across the world, too often the impacts of climate change fall first and worst on the people who did the least to cause it.
Moon argues that Seattle has the tools and the willpower to address carbon emissions and pollution at the local level. She cites the city’s opposition to Shell’s Arctic drilling rigs being docked in town as proof of that willpower. But she also notes that the effects of climate change will be less in the Northwest; something that local climatologist Cliff Mass has taken a lot of heat for saying. But wetter winters and warmer summers, along with reduced air quality from more wildfires could make life uncomfortable in the region.
Moon’s plan for climate change
There are a range of ideas that Moon promotes for Seattle to tackling climate change. She was in favor of one idea that KIRO Radio’s Mike Lewis asked her about — providing electric cars free parking in Seattle.
“We have to do the energy retrofits we need in commercial buildings and homes,” Moon said. “We have to do a lot more local- and district-based energy systems so we can get to 100 percent renewables. We have to invest in compact growth and transit so that 45 percent of our emissions that come from transportation, we can reduce.”
Moon puts forth a few specific actions for the next mayor to take:
- Ensure that low income and people of color befit from a green economy.
- Build a climate justice strategy with the Alliance for Jobs & Clean Energy and Front & Centered.
- Increase transit access to encourage less reliance on cars.
- Take a regional approach to mitigate carbon emissions related to the city. Also, mitigate the emissions from people forced out of the city who have to now drive to work.
- Establish Seattle as a center for the green energy economy, and the jobs that come with it.
- Divest city money from fossil fuel related activity.
- Incentivize onsite energy production, green infrastructure, and building practices.
Cox Media Group