Like Bellingham, more than 1,000 communities in the U.S. are working to reduce global warming pollution as members of ICLEI’s Cities for Climate Protection campaign. ICLEI has supported emissions reduction efforts of local governments since 1993. Many of these local governments have adopted aggressive emissions reduction targets and developed action plans to guide their progress.
Since 2008, over 1,000 cities nationwide have signed the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement committing to advancing climate protection at the local level by reducing emissions in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement ratified by 164 countries worldwide. In 2014, the United Nations launched the Compact of Mayors to renew this effort and support the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Over 500 cities have joined the Compact, including Bellingham.
Many other levels of government and sectors of society are working to address the problem of climate change. Here are a few:
Whatcom County completed a Climate Protection and Energy Conservation Action Plan in 2007 that laid out specific actions and targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy conservation efforts in response to potential climate change.
Sustainable Connections is a non-profit organization and a network of locally-owned, independent businesses promoting sustainable business practices through programs such as Sustainable Business Development, Green Building & Smart Growth, Food and Farming, Energy Efficiency & Renewables, and Think Local First.
Community Energy Challenge is an energy efficiency campaign in Whatcom, Skagit, and Island Counties run by a partnership between Sustainable Connections, the Opportunity Council, Puget Sound Energy, Cascade Natural Gas, and others. The program provides whole‐building energy assessments for homes and businesses resulting in a customized list of prioritized upgrades from no-cost to low-cost measures, as well as financing options for larger retrofits. Participants can access utility rebate programs for lighting and insulation improvements, sealing, and more efficient appliances.
RE Sources helps community members actively safeguard the environment by providing information, trainings and workshops, and volunteer-led field programs. Programs include classroom climate change education in public schools, recycling education and advocacy, North Sound Baykeeper, Beach Naturalists, and the RE Store.
The Hub Community Bike Cooperative combines alternative transportation with reuse and recycling. The Hub offers self-service shop space for rent, high quality reconditioned bikes, professional full-service tune-ups and repairs, and bicycle parts for sale. The Hub reaches out to the greater Bellingham community through a variety of education efforts and events
Western Washington University’s Office of Sustainability incorporates sustainability into many areas of campus operations and academics through a commitment to energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste reduction, sustainability-minded courses, and Western’s Sustainability Committee.
Whatcom Smart Trips is an ongoing partnership between local government, public agencies, employers, and schools to promote transportation by bicycling, sharing rides, and riding the bus. Participants are rewarded for biking, busing or walking.
Whatcom Transit Authority‘s mission is to enhance our community by delivering safe, reliable, efficient and friendly service, offering environmentally sound transportation choices, providing leadership in creating innovative transportation solutions, and partnering with our community to improve transportation systems.
The Building Performance Center is a division of the Opportunity Council and an excellent source for home energy conservation resources. They provide training, consulting and retrofit services. In addition to fee-for-service work, they are able to provide free or reduced-fee services for those who are income qualified through the Opportunity Council’s Home and Energy Services program.
The Northwest Clean Air Agency (NWCAA) promotes local programs to reduce greenhouse gas through public education and interagency collaboration. The NWCAA also uses outside resources from enforcement settlements to establish effective local programs.
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency works to protect public health, improve neighborhood air quality, and reduce our region’s contribution to climate change..
The Climate Impacts Group is an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Washington. They are the pre-eminent experts on the likely impacts of global warming on the Pacific Northwest.