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EPA Presents Seattle With Climate Protection Award

Release Date: 5/30/2003
Contact Information: Bill Dunbar
(206) 553-1203

May 30, 2003

Cites “Exceptional leadership, personal dedication, & technical achievements in protecting the Earth’s climate”

During Monday’s City Council meeting, John Iani, Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will present the Seattle City Council with the EPA’s Climate Protection Award for the city’s on-going efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and become 100 percent "climate neutral" by next year.

Through the EPA’s Climate Leaders program companies and cities commit to working with EPA in order to inventory their greenhouse gas emissions, set aggressive reduction goals, and report their progress.

“Seattle has demonstrated a strong commitment to environmental protection in activities throughout its departments – and it’s made the commitment work,” says EPA’s Iani. “We are particularly impressed that the city’s latest greenhouse gas inventory shows that its year 2000 emissions are currently 60% below 1990 levels. That’s stunning. We congratulate – and thank – the city for its commitment to the environment.”

Among Seattle’s climate protection efforts recognized by the EPA are:
  • Seattle City Light’s (SCL) commitment to meet all future electricity demands with energy conservation and renewable energy. No major utility in the country has made this commitment. This is equivalent to taking 150,000 cars off the road each year. Seattle businesses have cited SCL's conservation program as the single best city government service.
  • SCL has committed to acquiring 876,000 annual megawatt hours of new renewable energy within 10 years. To date, the utility has contracted for 175 megawatts (equivalent to 525,000 megawatt hours) of new wind power which is the largest non-hydropower renewable energy purchase of any public utility in the country.
  • SCL will mitigate all remaining carbon dioxide emissions making it the first major utility to have zero net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. SCL is currently contracting for GHG mitigation projects for up to 300,000 tons and will be 100 percent "climate neutral" by next year.
  • The city’s latest GHG inventory shows that year 2000 emissions are currently 60% below 1990 levels.
  • Seattle was the first city to commit to achieving the silver level of the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system for all new municipal buildings or renovations of 5,000 square feet or more. Seattle’s LEED projects number 14 so far, including the new City Hall.
  • The city is aiming for a dual goal of minimizing waste production and recycling 60% of its waste by 2008. In 2000, approximately 300,000 tons of solid waste was recycled leading to CO2 emissions reductions of about 540,000 metric tons.
  • Seattle is pursuing a green fleet strategy that aims to increase the fuel efficiency and climate-friendliness of its vehicle fleet. The city now has 152 CNG vehicles and 31 gas-electric hybrid vehicles in its light-duty fleet of about 2,000 vehicles, with plans to purchase 20 more hybrids in the next two years.

EPA established the Climate Protection Awards in 1998 to recognize “exceptional leadership, personal dedication, and technical achievements in protecting the Earth’s climate.”

Candidates for the Climate Protection Award may be individuals or organizations (both public and private sector are eligible) and can be from anywhere in the world. They must demonstrate one or more of the following criteria: Originality and public purpose; Leadership and corporate responsibility; Global perspective and implication; and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2002 alone, Americans – with the help of the ENERGY STAR program– saved $7 billion dollars on their energy bills, saved enough energy to power 15 million homes, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 14 million cars off the road.

About Seattle's Climate Protection Award
  • Last Fall, the State & Local Climate Change Program (SLCPP) recommended Seattle for an award based on its strong record of climate protection.
  • SLCPP was aware of Seattle’s achievements primarily through the city's participation in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives’ (ICLEI) Cities for Climate Protection campaign. ICLEI selected Seattle to host their annual conference in '02, where representatives from the Office of Sustainability and Environment (OSE) and Council Member, Heidi Wills, made presentations on the city's climate programs.
  • SLCPP notified Seattle about the award and invited Heidi Wills to Washington, DC to participate in the Awards Dinner and sit on a local climate protection panel at the Earth Technologies Forum.
  • Other local government awardees for 2003 include

SLCPP Assistance to City of Seattle and WA State

  • Supporting Puget Sound Clean Air Agency climate change stakeholder process to promote economically viable GHG reduction strategies that demonstrate how climate solutions can simultaneously address local energy, transportation, and environmental challenges in the region.
  • Highlighted Seattle’s climate protection achievements through a Climate Protection Award and an article in SLCPP’s “Inside the Greenhouse” online newsletter.
  • Completed 30-page report on Washington State’s climate-related initiatives, featuring descriptions of policies, programs, and projects across sectors. Contact information provided, as well as emissions reductions data where available.
  • Candidates may be individuals or organizations (both public and private sector are eligible) and can be from anywhere in the world. They must demonstrate one or more of the following criteria: Originality and public purpose; Leadership and corporate responsibility; Global perspective and implication; Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • An international panel of judges representing government, industry, and non-governmental organizations reviews recommendations; EPA makes the final award selections.
  • Winners of the 2003 Climate Protection Awards were announced during the 2003 Earth Technologies Forum in Washington, DC, April 22-24. Awards were presented at an Awards Dinner attended by Governor Whitman and other high-level EPA officials on Earthday, April 22, 2003.
  • Chula Vista, CA, Salt Lake City, UT, and Ann Arbor, MI
  • In its first six years, 81 awards have been presented to individuals and organizations from 14 countries.