Why a Plan?
The Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan presents a framework for climate mitigation in our region. It identifies strategies and actions to reduce climate pollution. Thurston County and the cities of Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater are working with the Thurston Regional Planning Council to craft this strategic roadmap for reducing climate-polluting greenhouse gases while maintaining—and even improving—our quality of life.
Climate change is already affecting our communities. Impacts like hotter summers, wildfire smoke, and flooding endanger our homes and affect public health and local business.
This is the first coordinated plan for the Thurston region that addresses local contributions to climate change, and it is the beginning of the conversation. Greenhouse gas emissions from sources like transportation, energy use, and waste are changing our climate in ways that will put our community at risk. Actions we take today will make it easier for us to reduce the risks that climate change poses to our community.
What is Climate Mitigation?
Climate mitigation refers to actions that take heat-trapping greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, out of the atmosphere or prevent them from entering the atmosphere in the first place. The amount of greenhouse gases we emit is directly related to how warm the planet will get. The more emissions we produce through our activities, the more severe and damaging the climate change impacts will be.
Reducing, or mitigating, our emissions locally will help to limit the amount of warming we will experience globally and will mean fewer negative impacts on our community and region. Reducing emissions can help protect our region’s infrastructure and the health and safety of our families.
What’s in the Plan?
The Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan is a road map for continuing regional collaboration on reducing local contributions to climate change, not a decision-making document. It is intended to provide perspective on the challenge of meeting emission reduction goals and provide a selection of actions that, if implemented, would help achieve these goals. This plan aims to leverage climate mitigation efforts already underway in our community and highlight the incredible energy and ingenuity that people in the Thurston County region are bringing to this global challenge.
To focus time and resources on actions that could best achieve the goals set for this process, the project partners narrowed the long list of actions using community engagement and qualitative and quantitative analyses to identify the most effective pathway to meeting our goals. While all the actions identified play a part, a few strategies stand out as bringing about the most substantial reductions. These include strategies that:
Reduce natural gas use
Reduce the amount that people drive and increase fuel efficiency when they do
Store additional carbon in soil and plants