TCAT’s Carbon Free Thurston (CFT) campaign is encouraging local governments in Thurston County to adopt very strong, bold, and effective policies and investments to significantly reduce GHG emissions which result from activities of city residents and businesses. We are doing this by working with the Cities and the County on funding and developing their Regional Climate Mitigation Plan, and by helping local residents make their voices heard on this issue.
The Cities of Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey, along with Thurston County, have committed to developing the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan. (“Mitigation” means taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint, to avoid the worst effects of climate change.) Olympia started this effort in line with its commitment to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in late 2015. This included a commitment to reduce city-wide greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Conversations with Tumwater and Lacey started in 2017, and included the County in early 2018. Now all four jurisdictions have decided to work together on a regional plan. The Thurston Regional Planning Council is working with the Cities and the County to help coordinate their efforts.
One of the most important results of the Paris climate meeting in 2015 was a universal recognition that cities must play a critical role in reducing our planet’s greenhouse gas emissions to safe levels. So the local cities’ commitment to join this movement is especially timely.
CFT has already made a difference in moving our community forward on clean energy and a stable climate:
- We lobbied the Olympia and Lacey City Councils to include money in their 2018 budgets to complete a strong and effective climate action plan.
- We helped ensure the Cities of Olympia and Tumwater made strong statements to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission encouraging retirement of all of Puget Sound Energy’s coal plants by 2025. We also helped pack the UTC’s Olympia rate hearing for PSE with a record number of citizens demanding a clean energy future. A few days later, PSE agreed to take action toward closing the last two coal plants by 2027 and providing transition money to affected communities.
- We conducted outreach to community organizations, and encouraged local residents to attend City Council and County Commissioner meetings to voice support for strong local climate action.
- The City Councils of Olympia, Tumwater, and Lacey, and the Thurston County Commissioners, have adopted strong, science-based targets for reducing community-wide greenhouse gas emissions. Those targets are a 45% reduction below 2015 levels by 2030, and an 85% reduction by 2050.
This CFT campaign will continue to urge local Cities and the County to make significant investments in promoting community-wide energy efficiency and renewable energy to meet the targets they have adopted, as well as policies that support this goal. This will involve significant budgetary and policy challenges. We will draw attention to the choice between a future of floods, disease, heat waves, water shortages, and wildfires; or making investments and policies now which will require change but will save money, improve health and create jobs while assuring a livable climate in the future. We will urge the Cities and the County to choose the latter. We hope you’ll join us!