Climate Adaptation event on March 16

Preparation for climate change is the topic of a free session on March 16, 12-1:30 p.m., at PSRC.

Come to a panel discussion on Climate Adaptation: From Policy to Action on March 16.

Climate change could affect our environment, communities and economy.

Central Puget Sound cities and counties have begun preparing for possible impacts in a variety of ways.

PSRC is offering a panel discussion on how communities are preparing for a changing climate, from developing policies and a climate impact assessment to implementing actions.

This session will include presentations from several climate experts and planners, along with a panel discussion.

Speakers will include Erika Harris and Kelly McGourty, Puget Sound Regional Council; Lara Whitely Binder, Climate Impacts Group; Stacey Justus Nordgren, Foresight Partners; Jennifer Sutton, City of Bainbridge Island; and Tracy Morgenstern, City of Seattle.


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Building Resilience in Puget Sound – workshop on August 23

The ResilientAmerica Roundtable will host a workshop in Seattle on August 23 focusing on how the region is incorporating climate adaptation and equity into transportation and land use planning.

Construction continues on the new Elliott Bay Seawall in downtown Seattle.

Construction continues on the new Elliott Bay Seawall in downtown Seattle. Its design anticipates higher sea levels due to climate change.

You can register here.

The Puget Sound region is one of four communities in the United States partnering with the ResilientAmerica Roundtable to build resilience to extreme events, save lives, and reduce the physical and economic costs of disasters.

At the workshop, participants will explore:

  • Key issues, big questions, and potential impacts of climate change, new technologies, and equity in the Puget Sound region.
  • The current state of practice for integrating climate adaptation and equity into transportation and land use planning to build more resilient transportation/land use systems.
  • Actions communities could take to incorporate climate adaptation and equity into their transportation and land use plans.
  • Challenges in incorporating wider climate variability and equity into transportation/land use planning.

The location for the all-day workshop is being finalized. To secure your spot, please register online.


Committee takes up state’s new transportation initiatives on climate change

The state transportation department outlined its role in addressing the Governor Inslee’s Executive Order on climate change in Yakima this week

Joint Transportation Committee

Committee reviews role of transportation in limiting greenhouse gas emissions

The legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee included at least one skeptic and others who expressed concern over economic impacts.

WSDOT’s presentation focused on the “Clean Transportation” elements of the state’s initiative, including: electric vehicles, technical assistance to local governments, the state’s next transportation plan, and transportation grants administered by state agencies.

“Consider me a skeptic.” said Representative Ed Orcutt of Kalama, ranking member of the House Transportation Committee, who was interested in the legislature’s oversight of statewide planning and grant making.

Senate Transportation Co-Chair Curtis King of Yakima raised concerns about possible new clean fuel standards and their costs.

“How can you implement these things without negatively impacting economic development,” King wondered, and asked that any new efforts consider economic development impacts.

WSDOT’s Assistant Secretary Amy Scarton reminded the committee that all of the new work is implementing state laws limiting greenhouse gas emissions enacted in 2008. 

Development of a new statewide transportation model is part of the planning effort.

The state hopes to complete the first statewide transportation plan incorporating limits on greenhouse gas emissions by December, 2016.

State advancing new climate and energy efforts

A group tasked with making recommendations to Governor Inslee on how best to use the market to reduce greenhouse gases meets again in Seattle today.

ClimateIn late November they are expected to advance market based carbon reduction strategies for consideration by the Governor and the state legislature in 2015:  A state carbon tax or cap and trade program.

Among topics being reviewed: The why’s and how’s of including transportation emissions in a state cap and trade system.

It’s one among many things underway because of the Governor’s Executive Order  on state’s next steps “to reduce carbon pollution in Washington state and improve energy independence through use of clean energy.”

Greenhouse gas reduction is also a new feature in the latest draft of Washington state’s transportation plan.

The plan by the Washington Transportation Commission’s draft WTP 2035 is an overarching transportation policy plan slated for adoption later this year.

The Commission has public meetings coming up in Bellevue and Bremerton seeking comment on the draft plan.

WTP 2035 is phase one of a two-step transportation planning effort to address climate change.

The state transportation department will lead phase two of the overall state plan.  Under the Governor’s direction, that plan will “focus on transportation strategies to increase efficiency and reduce both costs and greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Transportation elements of the Governor’s Executive Order have caught the attention of the legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee.

Meeting in Yakima next week, their agenda features a work session on the state transportation department’s “activities related to planning and clean transportation.”


Stay Cool and Green at Sea-Tac Airport

Cooling your jets at Sea-Tac Airport just got a lot cheaper and a lot easier on the environment.

Instead of burning jet fuel to keep passengers cool at the gate, Sea-Tac planes hook into the PCA System saving

Instead of burning jet fuel to keep passengers cool at the gate, Sea-Tac planes hook into the PCA Service.

Instead of burning fuel idling at the gate during boarding, aircraft can now turn off their engines and hook in to the Port of Seattle’s Pre-Conditioned Air (PCA) service, saving about $15 million in fuel costs and 40,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases per year.

The port installed over 15 miles of piping within the existing terminal to connect all of the gates to a system of chillers and heaters to provide the pre-conditioned air. A heat exchanger at the gate directs the air through a telescoping duct on the jet bridges, to a ventilation hose and directly into the aircraft’s cabin. Total cost of the project was $43 million, nearly $22 million of which was covered by a federal grant.  Projected payback is less than three years.

It’s all part of the Port of Seattle’s goal to become the cleanest, greenest, most energy efficient port in the nation. And it’s just another example of the innovative ways Puget Sound business and government leaders are working to grow our aerospace, transportation and logistics and clean tech industry clusters.

To learn more about the port’s PCA service, watch this video.

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New Fuel Standards Helping Region’s Greenhouse Gas Strategy

cover of Transportation 2040 planTransportation 2040 was one of the first regional transportation plans in the country to include a strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

One part of the strategy was to support development of technology to dramatically reduce tailpipe emissions. Technology like more electric cars, improved fuel economy, and cleaner fuels.

Thanks to federal action last summer, new federal fuel efficiency standards will nearly double fuel economy by 2025 to 54.5 miles per gallon.

That exceeds the most aggressive scenario anticipated in Transportation 2040 when it was adopted in 2010, which is great news.  This table shows what is in the plan:


This shows the likely and aggressive scenarios for reducing tailpipe emissions, included in Transportation 2040.

There has been other progress too, via investments in electric vehicles and infrastructure, the renewable fuel standard program, and new emissions and  fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy duty vehicles.

Check out this presentation for more information on the greenhouse gas strategy and the update to Transportation 2040.

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