Seattle’s greenhouse-gas emissions are on a downward trend, dropping 6 percent between 2008 and 2014, despite a building boom and a 13 percent surge in population, according to a report released Wednesday.
Seattle’s greenhouse-gas emissions are on a downward trend, dropping 6 percent between 2008 and 2014 despite a building boom and 13 percent surge in population, according to a report released Wednesday by the city’s Office of Sustainability and Environment.
But these emissions would have to fall a whole lot farther — and the pace of decline quicken — for the city to meet the goal set in an “action plan” of a 58 percent cut by 2030 over the 2008 baseline.
While the progress is positive, “We are currently not on pace to meet our 2030 climate goals,” wrote Jessica Fin Coven, the office’s director, in a letter accompanying the report.
The biggest source of the city’s greenhouse emissions is combustion of transportation fuels, 66 percent of the 2014 total. Over the six-year period, those emissions declined by 2 percent as vehicles have become more fuel-efficient and residents have been traveling fewer miles.
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Lower energy use in buildings also is driving down Seattle’s greenhouse-gas pollution. The 13 percent decline in building emissions reflected greater energy efficiency, more multifamily living and warmer weather that reduced heating needs.
The report also analyzed emissions generated per Seattle resident, and found that those emissions decreased 17 percent between 2008 and 2014.
Fin Coven, in her letter, noted a number of steps the city has taken to quick the pace of emission declines. They include a “Drive Clean Seattle” strategy to move the transportation sector away from fossil fuels and a proposed commercial energy code — expected to take effect next year — to increase the efficiency of new construction and substantial alterations to existing buildings.
Scientists warn that the buildup of greenhouse gases is behind climate change that could have widespread impacts, including rising sea levels.
In December, more than 190 nations came together in Paris to forge a global agreement to reduce these emissions and try to limit the global temperature rise to no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.5 degrees Fahrenheit).