Whatcom County Climate Action Plan
The Whatcom County Climate Action Plan (CAP) was adopted by the Whatcom County Council on November 9, 2021 through Resolution 2021-049. The CAP is an advisory document informed by key technical reports and extensive community engagement efforts, including the 2019 Community Research Project.
The CAP’s objectives are to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improve ecosystem health, and increase climate resilience in Whatcom County. To meet emissions targets set by the Washington State Legislature, the goal is to reduce countywide emissions 45% from 1990 levels by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The CAP goal for County government operations is to reduce emissions 85% from 2000 levels by 2030.
Progress towards implementation of the Climate Action Plan strategies and trends in greenhouse gas emissions will be assessed annually by staff. For more information about community and local government emissions sources, please visit the 2017 Whatcom County Greenhouse Gas Inventory.
Whatcom County Climate Action Plan Communitywide and County Government Targets
See p.7-11 of the Whatcom County Climate Action Plan to learn more about greenhouse gas emissions goals and trends.
Climate Action Plan Goals by Sector
All reduction metrics listed below are emissions reductions from 1990 levels unless stated otherwise.
- Electricity & Buildings: Reduce communitywide GHG emissions from electricity and buildings 45% by 2030, while creating equity-centered resilience in these sectors. County government will lead this effort and demonstrate action and operational cost savings via energy efficiency and new building concepts for government operations, effectively reducing government operations emissions 85% from 2000 levels by 2030.
- Industry: Eliminate 90% of the GHG emissions from the refineries by 2050.
- Transportation: Reduce transportation-related GHG emissions 45% by 2030, including eliminating fossil fuels from County government transportation operations where technology permits, while ensuring climate-resilient transportation systems.
- Waste: Reduce the volume of communitywide solid waste transported to landfills and the growth in methane emissions from wastewater 40% by 2030 through the use of education, incentives, and regulations on disposal.
- Land Use: Enhance carbon storage and sequestration and create climate resilience in the County through sustainable land use and development policies that preserve, protect, and enhance the health and function of our natural resources.
- Water Resources and Fisheries: Ensure long-term, equitable and climate-resilient water resources in Whatcom County that address the impacts of climate change on water quantity and quality, sea-level rise and storm surge, and the challenges associated with water resource management.
- Agriculture: Employ farm management practices that create climate resilience while at the same time reduce operational costs in agriculture and ensure a viable long-term food supply.
- Forestry: Ensure a long-term, equitable and resilient forest resource in the county by acknowledging, educating, and preserving the benefits from current forest sources, addressing the impacts of climate change on forest health, and adapting forest management practices to this new reality.
- Ecosystems: Develop climate resilient ecosystems by protecting and restoring ecosystems and the carbon they store and maximizing ecosystem health to enhance carbon sequestration.
Key Supporting Documents
Whatcom County Climate Advisory Committee
The Whatcom County Climate Impact Advisory Committee (CIAC) provides review and recommendations to the Whatcom County Council and Executive on issues related to the preparation and adaptation for, and the prevention and mitigation of, impacts of climate change.
Meetings are generally held the third Thursday of the month, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and are a hybrid format, in person and remotely. See the CIAC webpage for more information.