On April 20th, Tacoma’s City Council unanimously passed a clean energy resolution that sets a path forward for clean and safe buildings in their city. The resolution commits to constructing all new municipal buildings without use of fossil fuels, instead using 100% clean and renewable energy for heating and cooling. The resolution also dedicates funding for several studies, including research to assess the impact of decarbonizing all new residential and commercial buildings in Tacoma.
Climate Solutions joined numerous other local and regional organizations, including Stand.Earth, Citizens for a Healthy Bay, Sunrise Tacoma, Washington Environmental Council, and more in advocating for this resolution. The policy came about as a result of a letter that the Sustainable Tacoma Commission had sent to City Council late last year, which urged action on building electrification.
Tacoma residents showed up enthusiastically on April 20, when the City Council met to discuss and consider clean energy and clean buildings. Public comment was dominated by voices emphasizing the urgency of addressing the climate crisis. Buildings are the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Washington, and gas appliances also release pollutants both indoors and outdoors that harm health. Community members also stressed the need to include historically underserved communities in planning around climate; Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and low-income communities all carry a disproportionate burden of air pollution. We must ensure that we do not leave behind the most impacted communities as we work to create climate solutions and green jobs.
Tacoma has a lot to be proud of with this commitment to pursue clean buildings, but it is also only a first step. We’ll need to continue to build momentum for clean and safe buildings by tracking the impact assessment study and making sure that Councilmembers consider its recommendations. City officials can also continue to take action on buildings while the study is ongoing, so that the urgency of this work is not lost in procedure and planning. We thank Tacoma City Council for passing this resolution, and we’ll continue to push for the strongest possible policies to address the climate crisis.