The Storm weren’t the only team to bring home the bacon for Seattle this week. Team Durkan also deserves some credit for landing an award worth $2.5 million to help the Emerald City stay green.
Earlier today in Kerry Park, Mayor Durkan hosted billionaire former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg (and apparently as of yesterday, 2020 presidential candidate), who has spent most of his post-Big Apple retirement advocating that cities take a bigger role in fighting climate change. He was in town to give Seattle the proverbial oversized check as one of 20 winners in the American Cities Climate Challenge, an effort funded by Bloomberg’s foundation to help cities meet the Paris Agreement’s goals.
So what does Seattle get out of the deal? A dedicated paid staffer who can craft climate-specific policies, free training on climate plan implementation for top city brass, and “citizen engagement support”—that’s a fuzzy one which could mean we all get free Nests but probably just means some eco-friendly swag bags at next year’s West Seattle Summer Fest. Still, if it all works out, the extra money and staff from Uncle Mike will help reduce emissions from buildings and transportation, the city’s two biggest sources of greenhouse gases.
For Bloomberg, our fair city was a convenient stop on his way home from a major climate summit in San Francisco convened by California Governor Jerry Brown, aka President of the Resistance. The two defiantly declared “We’re still in” after Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Agreement last year, and proceeded to tally up “America’s Pledge,” an inventory of cities and states working towards greenhouse gas reductions to prove that the U.S. can live up to our global commitment even if the other Washington sticks its head in the sand. (Good news: We’re still on track to meet the national goal we signed onto in Paris back in 2015.)
The Stranger has been hanging out at the summit this week, where Starbucks said it was greening its stores—but nothing about making its coffee taste less like pisswater—and Governor Inslee told us why he supports Initiative 1631, the carbon fee on this November’s ballot that the SECB will probably tell you to vote for. Outside the summit, Puyallup tribal members joined indigenous leaders from South America to protest the market-based approaches to fighting climate change that summiteers like Bloomberg and Al Gore favor. Yesterday morning, protesters linked arms to block delegates from entering the convention center. One person said it reminded him of the 1999 WTO protests. Ah, the good old days.
The Stranger spotted Mayor Durkan in San Francisco City Hall on Wednesday during a one-day mayors meet-up, where she shared a stage with the top dogs in LA, Pittsburgh, and Salt Lake City. She stopped to say hello but didn’t have the time for a proper interview about the climate plan she released in April, we guess because when we flagged her down she was too busy talking to the mayor of Toronto. Maybe she was getting some good tips on making a u-turn with our city's greenhouse gas emissions. At the summit, 27 cities, including Toronto and every other major city on the West Coast, announced that over the last five years their emissions have peaked and started to decline even as their populations and economies grow. Twenty-seven cities… except Seattle. Getting beat on an environmental issue by LA? That’s just embarrassing.