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Seattle Launches New ‘Climate Portal’ to Track and Visualize Climate Emissions Using Updated Neighborhood-Level Data

The Office of Sustainability and Environment (OSE) is excited to debut the first components of a new map-based website, featuring dashboards that track building and transportation greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) across Seattle neighborhoods. As called for in the Green New Deal Resolution (Res 31895), the site will be updated on a quarterly basis to provide more frequent and granular data indicators of emissions in Seattle’s neighborhoods.

“Fighting the global issue of climate change requires cities to take bold action, reduce emissions, and protect our communities here at home. Through the new Climate Portal, we can now see where climate emissions and pollution are occurring in our city and make decisions guided by science and equity — bringing people together to create more effective policies and programs that drive progress and invest in those hardest hit by the climate crisis.”

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell

The Climate Portal launch comes after the recent 2020 GHG Inventory report, which found a significant, but temporary decrease in emissions attributed to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Seattle’s 2018 inventory showed emissions increased 1.1% since the last report, and without additional action the City projects emissions will not only rebound to pre-pandemic levels but also continue this upward trend.

“Our GHG inventories can give us a broad understanding of how our emissions are trending, but they’re not detailed enough in scope or depth to use as the primary source for making decisions that center racial equity. The Climate Portal comes in to address these limitations and provide more frequent, neighborhood-level data that show how climate pollution is worse in certain parts of the City. There’ll be more coming next year – it’s our goal to keep iterating on the Portal to make it more useful and accessible to all Seattle residents.”

Ani Krishnan, Climate Data & Policy Manager, OSE

In addition to continuing GHG inventory reports and maintaining the Climate Portal dashboards, OSE is exploring new updates to the portal which will incorporate community led data efforts, as well as ways to spatially track city-led investments that are informed by budget recommendations from the Green New Deal Oversight Board. The Portal will also feature community climate stories and track additional indicators that can help inform Seattle’s progress in equitably stewarding a healthy and sustainable city.

“We know that not all in Seattle bear the burden of climate change and air pollution equally. Our communities experience this disparity everyday, and now we have better quantitative data to back up these lived realities. This data can help make the case for investments to ensure communities are supported in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from climate change related emergencies such as extreme weather events and wildfire smoke.”

– Debolina Banerjee, Green New Deal Oversight Board, Puget Sound Sage

The creation of the Climate Portal was guided through feedback from a 2021 community engagement series of listening sessions to identify data gaps, equitable approaches to data collection and more. A report outlining the takeaways from these sessions can be found here.

“As the climate changes, Seattle residents are noticing environmental, health, and economic effects. These changes are harmful for everyone, but our frontline communities bear a disproportionate burden of harm. I thank the Oversight Board, City staff, and community members, who have worked together to guide the development and future iterations of the Climate Portal.”

Jessyn Farrell, Director, OSE

Learn more about the climate portal and watch a brief video demonstration featuring OSE Climate & Policy Manager, Ani Krishnan.