Climate Action Plan

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

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

Widespread citizen participation will be critical to ensure that planning is a success and that the City hears what's most important to the community. This page will be used mostly for the public engagement components of the Plan: gathering feedback via public comment, online surveys, Q&A.

Other outreach tools such as workshops, webpages, and public meetings will also be used throughout the 12-month CAP process. The CAP is expected to be adopted by the City Council in December 2022.

To learn more about climate change and GHG information, visit the main CAP website at www.mercerisland.gov/CAP

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

Widespread citizen participation will be critical to ensure that planning is a success and that the City hears what's most important to the community. This page will be used mostly for the public engagement components of the Plan: gathering feedback via public comment, online surveys, Q&A.

Other outreach tools such as workshops, webpages, and public meetings will also be used throughout the 12-month CAP process. The CAP is expected to be adopted by the City Council in December 2022.

To learn more about climate change and GHG information, visit the main CAP website at www.mercerisland.gov/CAP

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.

You need to be signed in to comment in this Guest Book. Click here to Sign In or Register to get involved

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?

https://findenergy.com/providers/puget-sound-energy/#:~:text=Puget%20Sound%20Energy%20generates%20980%2C150%20megawatt%20hours%20of,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 8 days 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 19 days 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 22 days 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 about 2 months 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 ( https://energyinnovationact.org/ ). 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 2 months 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: www.mercerislandcan.org
We thank the City for committing to climate action and look forward to supporting the climate planning process.
Callie

Callie 3 months ago
Page last updated: 17 May 2022, 06:52 PM