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King County plans to cut emissions in half by 2030 in climate change fight

King County unveiled its goals to combat climate change over the next five years, including plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions and focus on climate equity.

King County plans to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and plant and protect 3 million trees in the next five years.

These goals are part of the county’s 2020 Strategic Climate Action Plan that King County Executive Dow Constantine unveiled Thursday.

In addition to slashing countywide emissions, King County plans to cut emissions from its operations by 80% by 2030, which it says is two decades sooner than it originally planned. It also hopes to lower emissions on county-owned vehicles by 45% by 2025.

Some of the county’s strategies for cutting greenhouse gas emissions include strengthening building codes and reducing energy use in buildings and industry, protecting federal vehicle efficiency standards, phasing out hydrofluorocarbons and implementing a 100% clean electricity law.

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The climate plan aims to focus new development in urban areas that are close to transit and develop “vehicle usage pricing strategies” to reduce car trips.

County officials also hope to achieve zero edible food waste by 2030.

The county also highlighted a new initiative to aid regions that experience inequity and are most impacted by the effects of climate change, most often communities of color. King County hopes to work with these “frontline communities” to help develop climate solutions in an equitable way, such as improving climate literacy, boosting diversity in green jobs, strengthening food security and increasing access to utility assistance and transit.

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The 2020 strategy builds on the 2015 plan, which stabilized countywide greenhouse gas emissions and cut per person emissions by 11%, increased green residential building certifications by 50% and planted 1 million trees, according to the county.