Spokane Releases Sustainability Action Plan To Address Climate Change, Inequality

May 4, 2021

The sustainability action plan will address factors contributing to climate change, and poor quality of life in Spokane. Pictured here is a low-air quality day in Spokane in 2020, caused by smoke from nearby wildfires worsened by climate change.
Credit Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The city of Spokane has released a plan, which focuses on both greenhouse gas emissions and inequities in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.

The city’s recently released Sustainability Action Plan Draft, gives the city two overarching goals, make the entire community more resilient, and reduce sources of pollution, and greenhouse gases, says Kara Odegard, the city’s manager of sustainability initiatives.

“We know that our tailpipe emissions go beyond just the carbon dioxide. There’s particulate matter that gets emitted from the back of a tailpipe. People who live around higher traffic corridors in Spokane are breathing in more of that particulate matter. The more we can reduce that pollution, the better air quality can be for the people in our community.”

The plan also identifies the other biggest source of greenhouse gases in the area, temperature control in buildings. Solutions to those issues include encouraging the construction of carbon neutral buildings, remodeling older buildings and transitioning to transportation alternatives, such as buses and bicycling.

The plan also identifies the city’s goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Odegard said reducing emissions and addressing issues like housing, hunger will make the community more resilient.

“The city is uniquely positioned to help convene and connect organizations that are already doing this work and can identity this as a community priority. It’s not just about housing, it’s also about health outcome, it’s also about protecting our community against future challenges, whether they’re climate related, another pandemic, or economic related.”

The committee of volunteers that created the draft plan is still seeking input from the public. A survey is available on the city’s website and there will be city workshops about the plan over the next two months.

Once the plan is finalized, it will go to the City Council for review and ratification and then to the mayor’s office for her signature.