Greenhouse Gas Emissions & Carbon Sequestration

Advance and support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration.
Climate change threatens the health and wellbeing of Puget Sound and its inhabitants, as well as our ability to achieve recovery targets and goals. This strategy aims to decrease the vulnerability of Puget Sound to climate change by decreasing the magnitude of climate change.

Specifically, this strategy focuses on decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the potential for carbon sequestration in ways that are equitable and synergistically advance Puget Sound’s statutory goals. This work also includes prioritizing the restoration of habitats and ecosystems that have the potential to sequester carbon as well as benefit key species, like salmon, shellfish, forage fish, groundfish and benthic invertebrates, and zooplankton. In addition, this work includes using our positions of power and management levers to advance legislation, policies, and initiatives that aim to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon in a socially just and inclusive manner.
  • Achieve net-zero emissions

Develop and implement plans, regulations, and incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all sources, especially primary emitting sources (those that account for more than 16 percent of emissions) including land use and transportation; electricity; residential, commercial, and industrial building; and heating. (ID #136)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Fully implement the Clean Fuel Standards Act, Clean Energy Transformation Act, and Climate Commitment Act; maintain continued engagement and accountability practices to ensure policies have long- term impact;
  • Strengthen commercial building efficiency in partnerships with cities, businesses, chambers of commerce, and other appropriate organizations;
  • Incentivize the transition commercial and residential buildings from use of fossil fuels to electricity (for example, heat pump retrofit programs);
  • Support the electrification of public fleets, including Washington State Ferries; increase use of renewables, decrease use of fossil fuels, and promote the creation of circular economies;
  • Decarbonize the energy grid, integrating it with other states’ grids and increasing its efficiency so it serves communities across the region equitably;
  • Reinforce and fund the renewable energy storage and distribution infrastructure and systems to increase the capacity of renewables;
  • Expand support for farmers and encourage regenerative agriculture practices and employing best practices for increasing carbon sequestration (Sustainable Farms and Fields);
  • Mandate zero waste initiatives and funding new avenues to reduce waste and create a circular economy.

Monitor, evaluate, and assess the effectiveness of greenhouse gas emission reduction programs and projects. (ID #138)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Increase research and monitoring of regional emissions, and opportunities and strategies to decrease emissions and increase sequestration;
  • Ensure monitoring, evaluation, and assessment of the effectiveness of greenhouse gas emissions reduction programs and projects are comprehensive, current, and independently conducted, evaluated, and reported and funded for the long term.

Develop and implement land use and transportation planning to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change. (ID #139)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Increase the electrification of the transportation sector (including passenger vehicles, trucks, boats, and freight) and increase the funding, availability, and access to support transition;
  • Distinguish rural from urban needs and solutions, when developing and implementing land use and transportation policies and plans;
  • Decrease barriers and increase incentives for development within small rural cities (including Urban Growth Areas and Local Areas of More Intense Rural Development (LAMIRDs));
  • Support reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation system while ensuring that rural transit services are maintained.

Develop, expand, and improve financial and technical incentive programs that protect, promote, and support carbon sequestration and emissions reduction. (ID #140)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Catalyze new markets in both rural and urban settings that incentivize mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration, including markets for blue carbon ecosystems and carbon stored in harvested wood products;
  • Incentivize the use of renewable energy in commercial and residential buildings; educate residents of Puget Sound on programs, incentives, financial options, and energy-saving technologies;
  • Incentivize car companies to transition production to electric vehicles and suspend production of gas and diesel vehicles;
  • Consider the full carbon budget of the forest ecosystems, including particularly carbon storage in forests, soils, forest products, kelp forests, and blue carbon as well as the full suite of ecosystem services;
  • Consider the opportunity and value for enhanced carbon sequestration of state-managed forest lands to generate income that supports funding enhanced employment in our forests, schools, fire districts, governments, and other taxing district;
  • Increase coordination for carbon sequestration and other ecosystem values developed jointly by tribal nations and state agencies and guided by best available science.

Increase and ensure institutional infrastructure and funding for research and monitoring to explore, track, and evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of carbon sequestration and emissions reduction. (ID #141)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Research, fund, and utilize low carbon technologies, including battery technology, energy storage, and distribution, as well as carbon sequestration in forests, soils, and as blue carbon;
  • Ensure that research and monitoring efforts are comprehensive, current, independently conducted, evaluated, and reported.

Quantify and maximize carbon sequestration benefits of habitat protection and restoration projects. (ID #142)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Support, advance, and conduct research and monitoring on carbon sequestration in Puget Sound ecosystems to prioritize restoration of habitats (including tree canopy and soil) and ecosystems with the greatest potential to sequester carbon;
  • Estimate carbon sequestration potential of various habitats, determine suitable locations, evaluate effectiveness, and determine program feasibility;
  • Select restoration-focused pilot projects to measure effectiveness and efficacy.

Implement and improve emissions accounting tools and inventories at the local, regional, state, and tribal nations levels. (ID #144)

Key opportunities for 2022-2026 include:

  • Guide and fund the development and implementation of local and tribal nations’ action plans that include emission accounting tools and inventories that are scientifically sound.
Implementation Considerations

No related implementation considerations. 

What We're Measuring

We achieve our recovery goals of healthy human populations, healthy water quality, and increasing functioning habitat by reducing human-caused greenhouse gas emissions in Washington State by 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, and increasing the amount of carbon sequestered in Puget Sound forests, kelp, soils, and other significant means. The indicator of success is reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced statewide or regionwide.

Current Legislative Actions