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Climate

Aviation = 9% of Seattle-area emissions

King County emissions report 2008

Washington State’s King County (encompassing Seattle) just released their latest report on local climate emissions. The analysis, developed by the Stockholm Environment Institute and others, tracks both local emissions as well as emissions associated with the production of goods or services imported into the region.

According to the report, air transportation constitutes 9% of King County’s total emissions (page 12). This, despite:

  • the report was counting emissions from imported good (e.g. Chinese appliances, California produce)
  • the report was ignoring all Sea-Tac air transportation emissions from residents and business outside the county
  • it’s not clear if the report take radiative forcing into account

The report goes on to suggest that the key policy lever is the development of alternative infrastructure, singling out two of our favorite alternatives (page 36):

  • videoconferencing
  • high speed rail

There’s still a dearth of solid reporting on aviation emissions in the US, which is why the work of King County and SEI is so important. If aviation plays such a huge role in the Seattle area carbon footprint, it’s likely to be as significant in comparable major metros. Sea-Tac is only the 17th busiest airport in the US—this numbers may well be higher in other areas.

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About Anirvan Chatterjee

Anirvan Chatterjee is a bibliophile, technologist, and climate activist from Berkeley, California.

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