Climate Action Plan

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The CAP was adopted on April 4, 2023. Please visit for information about implementation and projects. 

The City of Mercer Island has completed its first ever Climate Action Plan (CAP) to guide the government, business, and household actions needed to reduce the community’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and protect our environment.

This page was used for the public engagement components of the process, such as gathering feedback via public comment, online surveys, and Q&A. It also provides easy access to documents and presentations that supported the plan drafting.

The City used a range of other outreach tools such as workshops, pop-up events, and public meetings throughout the 16-month CAP process, and the CAP was adopted on 4 April, 2023. Now the City will turn to implementing the first Early Actions, and seeking additional funding.

Read our 2-page explainer summarizing the CAP process.

To learn more about CAP next steps, climate change in general, and to view GHG tracking information, visit the main CAP website at

The City of Mercer Island has completed its first ever Climate Action Plan (CAP) to guide the government, business, and household actions needed to reduce the community’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and protect our environment.

This page was used for the public engagement components of the process, such as gathering feedback via public comment, online surveys, and Q&A. It also provides easy access to documents and presentations that supported the plan drafting.

The City used a range of other outreach tools such as workshops, pop-up events, and public meetings throughout the 16-month CAP process, and the CAP was adopted on 4 April, 2023. Now the City will turn to implementing the first Early Actions, and seeking additional funding.

Read our 2-page explainer summarizing the CAP process.

To learn more about CAP next steps, climate change in general, and to view GHG tracking information, visit the main CAP website at

Public Comment

Please post your comment below; all comments will be considered as part of the public record and reviewed by staff. Be a good neighbor and keep your comments civil - please refer to our moderation policy for more details. If you have a question, please submit it through the Ask A Question tool for a staff response.

The CAP was adopted on April 4, 2023. Please visit for information about implementation and projects. 

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December 6, 2022.

Hello Ross and team. I attended the second Climate Planning workshop on Nov 29 and am offering additional comment. We were asked in breakout sessions if there are strategies that should be added and for our ideas about resiliency and implementation priorities. We talked about the first but didn’t get to the second two. I’ll offer my recommendations for all three here.

Resiliency target and strategies

I notice that resiliency strategies are included throughout the plan but there is also a special section being developed. That’s probably a good idea because it is often not possible to separate mitigation from resiliency. For example, if more people install heat pumps, we will reduce our carbon emissions (mitigation) and more people will be able to cool their homes (resiliency). If we preserve and add trees, we will sequester carbon (mitigation) and provide shade (resiliency). But, I can also see the need for a separate section on resiliency. It might be a good idea, in the separate section, to explain the overlap between the sections so that people will understand.

My suggestions for a resiliency target: “Limit the negative impacts of climate change, to the extent feasible, upon the health and wellness of Mercer Island’s citizens and natural environment.” Or, stated in the positive: “Respond to the negative impacts of climate change with strategies that, to the extent feasible, preserve and promote the health and wellness of Mercer Island’s citizens and natural environment.”

Resiliency strategies and actions should include responses to the climate threats that are listed in the Community Meeting #2 Discussion Guide on the second to last page. Here are some possible approaches:

Extreme heat: Shelters, heat pumps in homes, more trees and parks, trees to shade neighborhood streets so that people can still walk the dog (and themselves) during the day, outreach to vulnerable population, e.g. seniors.

Worsening air quality: Incentives/rebates for home air filtration systems, DIY filters, effective smoke masks for indoor and outdoor use.

Drought: Water conservation indoors and out, compost leaves on site, drought tolerant planting, provision of water for wildlife.

Wildfire: Train the fire department to fight fire in Mercer Island forests and adjacent neighborhoods in cooperation with regional fire services, educate the public regarding fire ignition risks, ban fireworks.

Extreme winter storms: Coordinate with the power utility, if needed, regarding prevention and response to outages, shelters during severe conditions (power outages, extreme cold, flooding, land slide), surface water management sufficient to prevent loss of life during worst case flooding.

Grid/electricity disruption: Our power utility is going to have to figure this one out. It is going pretty well so far for Seattle. They find reduced electricity demand with increased electrification of buildings due to the very substantial increase in energy efficiency required by their energy code. This is also expected with the new State Building Code electrification requirements for buildings and residences. If demand does threaten to exceed supply, strategies will be needed to limit disruption. California’s experience this last summer provides useful examples such a demand management. We will need good communication between the utility, customers, and City officials.

Additional Climate Actions

Add a new action under Community Resilience and Wellbeing (CR)

CR1.x (new, following CR1.2): Shade for neighborhoods

Improve Mercer Island’s capacity to respond to heat island effect in single-family and town center neighborhoods by adopting policies to encourage public and private efforts to plant and care for appropriate trees in public rights of way, where possible.

Discussion: The overall benefit of tree canopy is addressed in Natural Systems (NS). As noted in the Natural Systems (NS) section “natural cooling from tree shade reduces extreme heat stress and decreases energy demand for air conditioning”. While this is true, the draft CAP, so far, does not target the planting of tree canopy in built areas to reduce microclimate heat island effect. Specific placement of trees as a matter of Community Resiliency should be addressed in the Resiliency section rather than in Natural Systems.

This need could be expressed thus: People should be able to exercise themselves and/or their dog near their home during the day. The situation is quite undesirable at present. I walk daily and can confirm that there are few people walking during a good part of the day in hot weather due to heat radiating up from the pavement. As for myself, I strive to get from one shade tree to the next, avoiding the noon hour entirely, when no tree shades the street. Heat island effect in our neighborhoods already presents a great loss of benefit to residents. It should be addressed.

Trees next to the road make walking during most of the daylight hours feasible. This is a straightforward strategy that likely hits all targets for Action Prioritization (Cost, Impact, Synergies, Feasibility, Co-benefits, and probably Community Support). Plenty of research has been completed on the benefits of street trees. Street tree programs are ongoing in nearby cities (Seattle, Portland) and around the world. It has been recommended before. Why is it not included? Is the City staff opposed to it? If so, we should try to overcome that opposition. I recommend that this action be evaluated using the criteria used for the Draft Greenhouse Gas Strategies and Actions (June 30, 2022).

Seattle helps applicants determine where trees can be planted and with obtaining a permit while citizen volunteers help people plant and maintain their trees for the first year (Seattle’s Trees for Neighborhoods). Portland, Oregon offers free street trees and assistance with several years’ maintenance. There are Washington state grants available now for city urban forestry programs. Let’s intend to do it and figure out the details later, just like every other strategy in the draft plan.

Please also consider: This is not a new idea on Mercer Island:

The Mercer Island 2018 Tree Canopy Study, on page 31, states: “Rights-of-way in Mercer Island are prime areas for increasing urban tree canopy.”

The Mercer Island Comprehensive Plan states in Land Use Policy 27.6.4 “Mitigating urban heat island effects by expanding tree canopy and vegetation cover.”

(Note: The climate policies in the Land Use Element are under a section that was misnamed and called “STAR”. This was to be amended to the heading “Climate Change” but there was a mix up between the Planning Commission, the staff, and the City Council, and it didn’t get done. These climate policies continue to be hard to find. The heading will be updated in the ongoing Comprehensive Plan update.)

Add a new action under Community Resilience and Wellbeing (CR)

CR1.4: Prepare for urban wildfire

Collaborate with regional fire services to prepare for effective response to wildfire in urban forests and adjacent neighborhoods.

Discussion: Wild fires have, in recent years, broken out and caused considerable damage and risk in suburban neighborhoods of King and Pierce counties. There is no reason to think that it will not happen here. We should be ready to respond.

Add a new action under Natural Systems 2 Strategy: Foster healthy and resilient natural systems.

NS2.x (following NS2.1): On-site composting of leaves

Use educational campaigns to encourage the collection and retention of leaves on site to compost in planting beds.

Discussion: The placement of decaying leaves in planting beds captures carbon and reduces energy used to blow and transport leaves off site. Co-benefits are reduced air pollution and noise, reduced watering, preservation of biota for bird and other wildlife food, natural fertilizer, avoidance of chemical fertilizer that leaches to creeks and the lake, and cost savings when compared to purchase of chemical fertilizer. What would the value of this strategy be if evaluated such as was done for the Draft Strategies and Actions?

Add a new action under Transportation (TR): Reduce aviation emissions.

TR3.x (following TR3): Air travel awareness:

Develop educational materials to keep residents informed on the carbon impacts of air travel and other types of travel so that they can make choices on their own travel impacts.
Discussion: Air travel choices by residents are a large part of our carbon impact. Keeping residents aware of the impact of air travel when compared to other types of travel will give them a basis for making decisions.

Recommendations regarding Prioritization of goals and strategies:

The list of criteria for prioritization of goals and strategies is good, if it is, itself, prioritized and used effectively. Consistent with Mercer Island Comprehensive Plan Land Use Policy 29.1 “Prioritize the prevention of climate change”, we must have at the top of our list of priorities to get the most carbon out of the air as fast as possible, since the science doesn’t lie. Fast on the heels of Policy 29.1, is Comp Plan Policy 29.2 “Develop an adaptive response to expected climate change impacts on the community.” These two good policies adopted by the City Council demonstrate, I think, that the Council intended to have carbon reduction and protection of people at the top of their list of priorities.

Seen through that lens, the most important criterion is Impact (#1). Feasibility (#2) includes Cost and Community Support. Cost (#3), in turn, includes Synergies and Co-benefits, both of which lower Cost, because you’re getting “two for one”. That is how I would recommend prioritizing action. There may be other criteria.

Thank you for the opportunity to offer additional comment. I hope that it is useful. I would be glad to discuss any of these recommendations with staff or the consultant.

You’re doing great work!
Carolyn Boatsman

Carolyn Boatsman 10 months ago

I just took the survey and was concerned about it enough that I think it is worth mentioning why on Let’s Talk.

The survey notes implementation of parking limits as a way to reduce harmful pollutants in the atmosphere. It is true that lessening our dependence on transportation (energy usage) reduces atmospheric pollutants, but just by itself, hindering residents' ability to use their automobiles in a “Suburban Community” like ours does the opposite. It forces residents to drive off-island for supplying all of their needs causing us to increase our production of Greenhouse Gases. It isn’t just me saying this but pretty much every noted Urban Planner in the country as well as noted colleges like my own which I just got done taking a class on in Sustainability to see if they would have changed their stance. They not only didn’t change their stance but began the class by pointing this out.

What they say works for a “Suburban Community” like ours to reduce our contribution to Greenhouse Gases is to implement a “Parking Management Program”. What that means is to implement a program that assures the proper type and amount of parking is available for residents so they aren’t encouraged to go out of the community for goods, dining out and entertainment. This program will also need to allot the correct amount of parking to everyone that needs it when they need it, commuters and Town Center customers, workers and residents so that each group is encouraged to drive less.

Just noting parking limits only emphasizes a lack of understanding of atmospheric pollution and what causes it. Instead what we want is leadership that understands how Greenhouse Gases are created and realizes the need for ample public “shared” parking that is managed in a way so that each group needing it will have it when they need it so they will be less reliant on transportation. This means public shared parking of at least four hours to encourage dining out and being entertained locally. It means short term parking of under 30 minutes to allow for quick pickup and delivery. It means medium term parking of 1-2 hours for single purpose visits to the Town Center. It means parking priced properly to encourage the correct users to use the correct parking at the correct time. It means safe and obvious parking so it will be used.

When we just say “we want to limit parking” in the Town Center, all that says is “we want our residents to pollute more.”

Transportation is the single largest contributor for “our” community in the production of Greenhouse Gases. All transportation, no matter whether the car is powered by electricity or hydrocarbons. Why because electricity comes from the burning of hydrocarbons and at least for now that is not going to change.

This is so fundamental in the field of Atmospheric Pollution where I have spent a large part of my career that it troubles me greatly that I have to emphasize this point so often.


JimEanes 12 months ago

One of my concerns so far is so few ordinary citizens have participated despite 60 proposals being drafted and presented to the council.

The survey had only 82 responses, and those responses mostly stated citizens love their green parks, trees and rural feeling residential neighborhoods. This site has 10 prior comments by my counting by 8 different citizens,

The new survey is overwhelming for an average citizen because each question began with:

"After reviewing the 60 Strategies and Actions are there items you think are particularly important for the City to include in its draft Climate Action Plan? (you can use the Action Number to easily identify each one)" .

This is simply overwhelming for a citizen, to study and respond to 60 different proposals, and any answer to the survey would assume someone did read all 60 and chose to not comment on those not commented on.

I understand why the council decided to limit proposals to those with a B+ rating or better, but also understand Carolyn's desire to allow the citizens to comment on all the proposals in the survey. Except the fact is few citizens will respond, certainly top 60 proposals, and most will be activists one way or the other. So the council will be flying blind.

Another reality is these proposals don't identify which are duplicative of existing or planned federal, state or county provisions. Many are really pre-pandemic, especially those focused on TOD and transit.

The key IMO is for the council is to segregate the proposals into two groups:

1. Those that are voluntary or educational. These could be unlimited. Islanders are educated and climate conscious, and if a voluntary program made sense to them I imagine they would opt for it.

2. Those that are possible code amendments, and thus mandatory.

Any proposal that would require a code amendment needs to be treated like a code amendment, and that generally means limiting the amendments to a very few, and complying with the requirement the amendments are docketed with any other amendments in October with a full public process.

Daniel Thompson about 1 year ago

As noted in this thread, transportation in the USA is the single greatest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, especially for suburban communities that are reliant on the automobile. For Mercer Island’s plan to be most effective it has to take this into account and work to reduce resident dependency on driving.

The best way to reduce our resident dependency on driving is not to deter the use of cars since for most residents this is not an option. Instead it is to assist residents so they don’t have to drive so far. What I mean by this is to promote the creation of ample shared public parking that is “obvious”, “safe” and “retail aware” so residents will shop local for all of their needs. This will bring residents back to Town Center and at the same time bring the retail with them needed for a sustainable community.

Thus, the only question is how much will this help? Since the maximum driving distance for anyone on island to get to Town Center is around six miles and the next closest shopping area (Factoria) is another four miles away, this means on average just by taking this one action you will have shortened driving distances for residents by over 50%. If you expand this idea further and include designing the Town Center retail parking so it can be shared with resident commuters, encouraging them to take transit, our dependency on driving is reduced even further.

In other words, as pointed out by most noted suburban planners, just by tackling the parking dilemma we will have done the most to lower our dependence on energy allowing us to do the most to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. This needs to be highlighted in our Climate Action Plan for it to be successful.


JimEanes about 1 year ago

Thank you City staff and City Council for your work on the Climate Action Plan.

I am writing to comment on the decisions made by the Council at the July 19, 2022 meeting 1) to delete certain Draft Strategies and Actions for the Climate Action Plan in advance of the September public survey and 2) to direct the Sustainability Committee to recommend deleted action items for re-inclusion prior to the survey – only if it is determined that the Council-selected mix will not result in sufficient greenhouse gas reduction to meet goals.

As a result of these two decisions, the survey, when it goes out, will be a de facto draft CAP for public input - even if a few actions are added back in before it is sent. The wedge analysis will have been conducted on the Council-selected actions, the draft GHG-reduction mix will be pre-determined, and the City will find out if the public agrees with what the Council has pre-selected.

I think the public should weigh in before the Council eliminates actions from further consideration rather than after, as the public involvement plan envisioned.

The method used by the Council to trim back the list of actions was problematic in the extreme. Deleting action items from further consideration was not a topic identified in the meeting agenda. The public therefore had no opportunity to comment during appearances. Actions with very substantial GHG reduction potential quickly fell off the list just as easily as those with little impact. Consider: Among the three City Council members who assigned the ratings, if two gave A’s and one gave a C, the action was rated B+ and the full Council determined that it would stay in the mix. An A, B, and C results in a B, and off the list. (Only items casually rated B+ or above remained on the list.)

In short, a simple and casual rating exercise by only three City Council members and a subsequent cut off by the full Council is, as it stands, the basis for what is in and is not in Mercer Island’s Climate Action Plan – and all of this without public input!

Elected officials have practical and political roles to play in the CAP. The appropriate time for the Council to scale back the list of actions is after the residents’ input is compiled, various greenhouse gas reduction action mixes have been analyzed and compared, and budgets have been consulted, all as promised in the public involvement plan.

In summary, the full list of potential GHG-reduction actions should be restored. The mix of actions in the draft CAP should be determined by the Council after the public survey is completed and evaluated. I recommend that the Council ask the consulting team to design a survey that will solicit residents’ views upon the themes listed in the Draft Strategies and Actions.

With these changes in direction, a better survey will be drafted and the public involvement process will again be on track. The big winners would be all of us because the final CAP will be more likely to represent what residents support.

Carolyn Boatsman

Carolyn Boatsman about 1 year ago

When the CAP was presented to the City Council on July 19th, I was deeply disappointed to see that we are only aiming for a 1% reduction in vehicle miles traveled by 2030, and 5% by 2050.

This is absurdly low. Transportation is the single biggest contributor to emissions in the USA. We must make drastic changes to land use to reduce vehicle travel. This includes allowing corner shops within neighborhoods so people can walk for basic amenities, and increasing zoning density to make public transit and commercial activity economically viable outside of the town center alone.

We cannot accept defeatist thinking that Mercer Island is 'just a suburb' and thus we can't do anything about vehicle travel. We can reduce our climate impact if we're willing to make visionary changes.

kian about 1 year ago

I have been waiting for a long time for leaf blowers to be banned on Mercer Island. If we are committed to reducing our carbon emissions, why do we allow the horrific noise and air polluting blowers to roar around the island non-stop? As I sit here typing, it is difficult to concentrate because of the awful din coming from next door. What can I do as a concerned citizen? Is this an issue for the city council? There must be other like minded folks on this issue.

leaf blowers are the devil over 1 year ago

Will the CAP compare carbon savings between natural gas and electrical appliances based on how PSE generates electricity? And will it calculate how adding to the necessary electricity capacity for PSE will affect prices for electricity and possible brown outs. How much carbon is saved by switching to electrical appliances if PSE generates its electricity from gas and coal?,of%20their%20total%20electricity%20production%20from%20non-renewable%20fuels.

PSE is one of the largest users of coal and natural gas in the country to generate electricity.

"The average monthly residential power bill for a customer of Puget Sound Energy is $104.32, while the US average is $119.32. Customers of the supplier have a 12.57% markdown compared to the rest of the nation. The company's electricity generating facilities produce 6,972,356.18 megawatt hours from the burning of natural gas as the fuel source. This amount ranks them as the 72nd highest in the United States out of 3510 suppliers for total natural gas production. The provider is the 112th highest generator of megawatt hours from coal in the country out of 3510 electric suppliers. The supplier ranks 37th in the United States out of 3510 companies for total megawatt hours generated from wind turbines, with 2,064,369 megawatt hours produced."

Seattle has the luxury of getting its electricity from hydropower, but one irony is water levels in Lake Meade are so low that areas in the southwest are being asked to choose between electricity and water.

The other issue I hope the CAP addresses is the cost some of the proposals may cost citizens. For example, a heat pump still requires some kind of furnace and air conditioner and can double the cost of installation for a consumer. Solar panels can add thousands to the cost of a home, and are not applicable to multi-family housing (even though that would seem to be the place to start). If the city bans gas powered leaf blowers how will that affect the budgets of the parks dept. or homeowners who use gardening services and those businesses? We still need to maintain our yards, parks and public areas.

Finally, while I agree completely with Carolyn Boatsman that the city needs to do more to preserve and encourage tree canopy, I would oppose using zoning as part of the CAP process. Recent attempts to upzone MI's residential zones have tried to use global warming as a basis, but when new construction to implement new zoning is considered there is a net gain in carbon emissions from these emissions, and light rail post pandemic simply will not move the needle on carbon emissions, especially when one factors in the enormous amounts of carbon poured, rapidly declining ridership, and working from home. Interestingly these upzoning measures are supported by state representatives who get the majority of their campaign donations from developers, builders, and realtor groups.

In my opinion some of the proposals that I think the ordinary citizen are not following should begin as incentives rather than mandates, and we will need to see a real movement by PSE to generate more electricity from renewable sources at reasonable rates to consumers before many of the proposals that switch from natural gas to electricity make a difference in the amount of carbon emitted..

Daniel Thompson over 1 year ago

Thank you for starting the CAP process and asking for feedback. I support the goal of eliminating the use of natural gas for heating homes and replacing it with electric. However, given the number of days each year we are without power on Mercer Island due to windstorms, heating only with electric will force people from their homes until power is restored. I suggest the CAP include provisions to bury all power lines on the island to reduce or eliminate this possibility.

kjo over 1 year ago

Being an island community gives us many advantages for creating a sustainable future. I'm fully supportive of Committing to an Action Plan. My preferred priority is to find ways to reduce automobile traffic by improving alternative modes of transportation, including walking, cycling, and public transport. Transportation for local school students seems a logical place to focus on the short term.

Here are my short comments on the four reduction strategies suggested by others and noted by Mayor Nice in his Spring 2022 letter:
1. A proposed ban on commercial and homeowner use of small-gas-engine leaf blowers and other standard yard-maintenance equipment. I support except in case of emergency such as use of generators when power is out.
2. Building permits conditioned on fitting solar panels, electric car chargers, electric heat pumps for residential heating and cooling, and electric hot water heating for all new residential development and substantial remodels. I support the ultimate goal for this; however, affordability needs to be addressed.
3. A ban on commercial natural gas use for heating and hot water and no new residential gas connections (i.e., get ready for the fully electric home). I support the ultimate goal but again affordability needs to be addressed.

joncina over 1 year ago

It’s great to see the City staff working with the community and a consulting team to draft our first Climate Action Plan. Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

I appreciate the input from Jon Shakes about the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. I have signed up to receive more information about it. It will take action at all levels, as Jon states. Thanks Callie Ridolfi for your participation and the commitment of the League of Women Voters to promoting citizen engagement for climate action.

Action in the past two years at the legislature will be instrumental in reaching our greenhouse gas reduction goals. The Clean Energy Transformation, Clean Fuels, and Climate Commitment Acts will all substantially notch our emissions substantially downward. We hope for more action at the federal level.

The MI climate action process rightly takes advantage of previous City planning and climate-related work and the work of other cities in our area. It will also reference the King County Climate Action Toolkit, an incredibly useful source of information about the climate planning process and actions for climate planning. The schedule outlines a prompt planning process in three broad areas: reduce emissions, plan for climate impacts, and sequester carbon.

The climate planning guidance developed by the WA Department of Commerce for cities and counties might also be helpful.

The CAP Kick Off meeting was useful for acquainting the attendees with the project and for soliciting input. Many interesting and helpful ideas from citizens were compiled. Public involvement will continue to play an essential role in developing the Plan.

I won’t try to suggest all of the specific ideas that I have for climate action, trusting that the staff and consultants will be looking at all approaches. I will mention several, however, as follows:

1. Building materials (reduce carbon emissions, sequester carbon): We should look for opportunities to allow and encourage the use of materials in building construction that are less carbon intensive in their manufacture and transport. We should also embrace building materials that embody carbon instead of releasing it. We need to determine if there are state building code obstacles to this and work with the Regional Code Collaborative to find solutions.

2. Trees (plan for climate impacts, carbon sequestration)

a. Heat island effect: We should address heat island effect where people live, in both residential and Town Center neighborhoods. The Mercer Island tree canopy study completed in 2018 determined that canopy had increased by 8% in the previous decade, but it does not address whether the tree canopy performs well to address heat island effect. We need to understand where the trees are needed, what kind, and how to get them there.

b. Public trees: We should preserve large publicly-owned trees in the margins of rights-of-way as much as possible. We should explore the possibilities for increasing the number of trees in rights-of-way, as many cities do, Seattle and Portland among them. Trees are removed, at times, by the City and are not replaced in the immediate neighborhood, as required. Sometimes they are replaced on site with small, pruned bushes instead of trees. These trees are often the best ones to retain for their ability to reduce heat island effect: they are near the road and they are large, buffering temperatures and shading pedestrians. The 2018 tree canopy study concludes on page 31: “Rights-of-way in Mercer Island are prime areas for increasing urban tree canopy.” Let’s see what we can do about it.

c. Carbon sequestration: We should determine if our tree canopy is working well to provide a robust level of carbon sequestration. We should take steps, as needed, to improve the quality of our tree canopy. A measure of the percentage of tree canopy does not, in itself, provide this information. The tree canopy study measured areas covered with what appeared in Lidar to be trees greater than 10 to 15’ tall. My concern is based upon the fact that large, older trees, some greater than 100’ tall, sequester much more carbon than small, ornamental trees typical of residential properties.

d. Tree retention: We should determine if more trees should be retained when property is developed. For example, the current code does not require any tree to be saved if there is only one to start with. If there are two, one must be preserved. If three, one must be saved, and so on. (The requirement is to save 30% of what is there.)

e. Tree replacement: The City does not reach out to those who have removed trees under permit to determine if the replacement trees have been replanted, as required. A simple outreach program should be established to get to better than nothing.

Carolyn Boatsman over 1 year ago

Mercer Island is family-friendly, well-educated, wealthy, and surrounded by natural beauty. We are positioned to be leaders in the greatest challenge of our generation, which is, of course, to protect our free-range pets from wild coyotes. Just kidding! Seriously: we’ve got to stop adding to the planetary environmental debt, in the form of long-lived greenhouse gases, that our children will have to repay.

Forest fires and freaky weather keep reminding us how interest on that environmental debt is compounding rapidly. In response, our city has committed to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030. That’s just eight years away.

Acting at the individual and city levels is necessary, but it won’t be enough to meet our city’s commitment. Since the environmental debt is shared globally, our local actions should include advocating for measures at the county, state, federal, and international levels. Compared to city-level action, higher-level actions have more leverage and greater benefit.

The highest-leverage action I’ve found so far is a piece of federal legislation called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act ( ). Coincidentally, the Energy Innovation Act will reduce America’s carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, meeting Mercer Island’s goal. We could check that one off our list! The act will also enable the entire U.S. to remain a leader in renewable energy, improve the economy, and save 350,000 lives each year that are currently lost to air pollution.

As individuals and as a city, our to-do list should include asking our legislators to support this policy. Luckily, our federal Representative Adam Smith is a co-sponsor of the bill, and council members Craig Reynolds, Dave Rosenbaum, Wendy Weiker, and Ted Weinberg have already endorsed it as individuals.

As a citizens, you can encourage our entire city council to endorse the act, joining 160 other local governments across the U.S. that have already done so. You can also ask Senators Cantwell and Murray to put a price on carbon as they work to reconcile the federal budget.

Jonathan Shakes over 1 year ago

As a representative of the League of Women Voters and a long-time resident of Mercer Island, I appreciate the City goals for greenhouse gas reduction and acknowledge it’s success at reducing emissions from City operations. Since 98% of our Island emissions come from community sources, cutting emissions in this area is our current challenge. The League will focus on citizen engagement to support the City climate priorities. Recognizing that public outreach will be key to our success, we provide a website with ideas for action:
We thank the City for committing to climate action and look forward to supporting the climate planning process.

Callie over 1 year ago