KUOW asks: How can Seattle meet its climate change goals?
KUOW is asking Seattle voters the same questions it is asking candidates for mayor in the 2021 primary election. This week, we asked about Seattle's approach to climate change.
Question: After almost two decades of promises to lead the nation in reducing carbon pollution, Seattle’s emissions continue to increase (based on the numbers that have been released). What’s one thing you’d do differently to help Seattle meet its climate change goals?
Listeners suggested solutions like downtown congestion pricing. Encouraging more solar energy. Even pedal-powered mass transit. One person wants to "ban gas-powered leaf blowers, and tree trimmers." Those are just a few ideas from KUOW's audience for how to help Seattle meet its climate goals.
Despite Seattle's reputation as a 'green' city that's taking steps to address climate change, the city has continued to increase its carbon pollution over the past couple decades. Planes and automobiles are the biggest factors. Just this year, King County reacted by approving a new plan to cut carbon emissions by 50% by 2030.
But what would you do?
"Stop giving priority to cars and give the space back to people," Jeff wrote to KUOW. "If we give people safe, accessible space to move, they will use. Instead we seem to believe that cars are important. They are not, they take up too much space, are dangerous and polluting. Make other ways to move a priority."
Other listeners had similar sentiments, such as providing incentives for people to ditch their cars, or use car-sharing, even pressing the city to come through on its commitment to electrify its vehicle fleet.
"Subsidize electrical retrofitting of condo and apartment buildings to allow for electric car-charging," Jim wrote to KUOW.
Listener, Rick, wrote: "Take a city position against trains carrying oil, coal or nuclear waste traveling through Seattle. Make city retirement funds Green only. Ban gas heat from all new construction, including single family."
Em wrote in to promote solar power programs: "Put solar panels over parking lots and high-congestion streets to keep concrete from intensifying heat and to keep cars/drivers cooler/calmer. Hire solar panel drive-by cleaners to keep the panels clean from exhaust, creating new, green, easy jobs."
Solar power was also a popular idea with KUOW's Instagram followers. They also suggested a carbon tax, downtown congestion pricing, and lowering taxes.