Mercer Island was recognized nationally for its work in reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and confronting climate change.
On March 9, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) bestowed a 2016 Climate Leadership Award on the King County-Cities Climate Collaboration (K4C), of which Mercer Island is founding member.
The K4C is a voluntary but formal partnership that was formed based on the recognition that neighboring local governments can achieve greater action on climate solutions by working together. Since its inception, K4C has grown to 14 member jurisdictions, representing 75 percent of King County’s 2 million residents.
Using this K4C structure since 2011, King County and a growing list of local cities – including Mercer Island – have been working across political boundaries to set targets, pool resources and make true progress in reducing GHJG emissions.
“Increasingly, it’s up to cities and counties to step up and take action at the local level, because that’s where people are really starting to notice the effects of climate change: stronger storms, shrinking snowpacks, and more landslides,” Mercer Island Mayor Bruce Bassett said in a statement. “The K4C allows us to join with partner cities and maximize the positive actions we need for a healthy future.”
Honored for “Innovative Partnerships,” the K4C is one of only 17 organizations, partnerships or individuals across the United States to win the prestigious recognition from EPA.
“I am proud to distinguish the King County-Cities Climate Collaboration for its outstanding actions and dedication to reduce harmful carbon pollution that leads to climate change,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “K4C is leading the way towards a healthy environment, and demonstrates that meeting challenges of a changing climate can be done.”
K4C’s accomplishments include:
-Supporting formal adoption of shared near and long-term countywide GHG emissions reduction targets of 25 percent by 2020, 50 percent by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050 (2007 baseline).
-Developing a comprehensive shared vision and policy framework for confronting climate change that addresses energy supply, green building, land use, forests, and more.
-Mapping out specific action commitments to reduce emissions that are tailored to King County energy sources, city and county development patterns, and local government areas of influence.
-Partnering on municipal policy and code changes, joint grant funding proposals, and increased influence among other stakeholders at the state level.
-Exploring the potential to partner with local utilities and businesses to jointly invest in and develop a large-scale renewable energy project, such as wind or solar.
-Sharing technical support and learning across K4C members: K4C staff and elected officials from cities large and small now have an extensive network of people on whom they can count for expertise, lessons learned, tools and resources.
Learn more about conservation on Mercer Island at www.mercergov.org/SectionIndex.asp?SectionID=86.