The Washington Legislature directed Ecology and other state agencies to develop climate response strategies for state agencies, local governments , public and private businesses, and nongovernmental organizations. These strategies are intended guide preparation for, address, and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Guiding principles for Washington’s climate change response strategy
- Use best-available science.
- Build on principles of sustainability.
- Increase our resilience and protect the most vulnerable populations.
- Ensure integrated approaches that maximize mutual benefits and avoid unintended consequences.
- Emphasize collaboration and strengthen partnerships.
- Recognize the impacts of decisions made by other regions and countries.
Washington's climate change response strategies
- Protect people and communities most vulnerable to climate impacts by increasing state and local public health capacity to monitor, detect, plan, and respond to emerging threats and climate-related emergencies. Also increase awareness of climate risks among the public and health-care providers.
- Reduce risk of damage to buildings, transportation systems, and other infrastructure. Identify vulnerable areas and take proactive steps to reduce risks to infrastructure, avoid climate risks when siting new infrastructure and planning for growth, and enhance capacity to prepare for more frequent and severe flooding, rising sea levels, wildfires, and changes in energy supply and demand.
- Reduce risks to ocean and coastlines. Help communities prepare for rising sea levels and storm surge and protect people and property. Prevent the degradation of habitats and create opportunities for upland habitat creation. Reduce shellfish vulnerability by reducing land-based contributions of carbon and polluted runoff to the marine environment.
- Improve water management by promoting integrated approaches that consider future water supply and address competing water demands for irrigated crops, fish, municipal and domestic water needs, and energy generation. Implement enhanced water conservation and efficiency programs and incorporate climate change realities into agency decisionmaking.
- Reduce forest and agriculture vulnerability by enhancing surveillance of pests and disease. Promote and transition to species that are resilient to changing climate conditions, conserve productive and adaptive forest and farmland, and reduce forest and wildland fire risk in vulnerable areas.
- Safeguard fish, wildlife, habitat, and ecosystems and improve the ability of wildlife to migrate to more suitable habitat as the climate shifts. Protect and restore habitat and sensitive and vulnerable species. Reduce existing stresses from development, pollution, unsustainable harvest, and other factors.
- Support the efforts of local communities and strengthen capacity to respond and engage the public. Identify existing and new funding mechanisms to support adaptation work at the local level, and ensure a coordinated and integrated approach among levels of government and society. Support research and monitoring and ensure scientific information is accessible and responds to needs of decision-makers.