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Climate

Human activities are rapidly increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, trapping extra heat and causing our climate to change. These changes are felt globally, nationally, and here at home, threatening Tacoma’s unique and treasured natural systems, our built environment, and the health and safety of our communities.

 

What does Climate Change mean for Tacoma?

Tacoma’s vulnerabilities to climate change impacts include:

  • Increasing summer temperatures, especially in our urban areas
  • Susceptibility to wildfire smoke and the effect on human health
  • Rising sea levels that cause high-tide flooding, coastal erosion, and affect important species in our tidal flats
  • Declining snowpack which impacts freshwater availability, winter recreation, and important species like salmon that spawn in our rivers
  • Changing stream flow and stream temperature as snow melts faster in the spring and rain patterns change
  • Heavier rain storms, and more. 

You can find more information about how climate change is impacting our City here.

 

The City of Tacoma has set aggressive carbon pollution reduction targets and is tracking progress on priority environmental actions. Explore the topics below to learn more about what we are doing at the City to address climate change.


Photo of climate action march urging City of Tacoma to take action
2020-2021 Climate Action Planning

In response to Resolution No. 40509 declaring a climate emergency in Tacoma and Resolution No. 40622 affirming Tacoma’s commitment to anti-racism and system transformation, the City of Tacoma is taking on a new process of updating the Environmental Action Plan through a new climate action planning process that centers equity, anti-racism, and transformation.

 

Strengthen the City’s Commitment to Decarbonization

In April 2021, City Council approved Resolution No. 40776, a commitment to  

reducing the City's municipal carbon footprint by restricting the use of natural gas and new fossil fuel for existing municipal buildings and future capital investments, encouraging other local jurisdictions to do the same, and assessing impacts for imposing the same restrictions on new commercial and residential construction. This resolution will go into effect January 1, 2022.

 

In December 2019, City Council approved Resolution No. 40509, declaring a climate emergency in Tacoma, and affirming Council’s support of initiatives that mitigate impacts.

 

Environmental Action Plan

The 2016 Environmental Action Plan charts the course for taking action at both the City and community level to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet the climate goals laid out in the 2008 Climate Action Plan.

 

Climate Risk AssessmentGraph of Tacoma's carbon emissions over time

A study conducted in 2016 to understand Tacoma’s climate vulnerabilities, and to help the City become more resilient in the face of climate changes.

 

Greenhouse Gas Inventory

An inventory of our City and community greenhouse gas emissions is conducted every few years to monitor the sources of our emissions and to better understand the effectiveness of the actions we are taking to reduce emissions.