The Port of Bellingham has adopted a comprehensive Climate Action Strategy to address the urgent challenges of climate change with strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to sea level rise and other climate change impacts.
“The Port of Bellingham is on the front lines of climate change,” said Port Commissioner Michael Shepard. “Port infrastructure is directly at risk from sea level rise and storm events, our fishing industry is being disrupted by warming oceans, and changing weather patterns threaten one of the most productive agricultural counties in the nation. I’m pleased to see the Port of Bellingham take a leadership role in addressing one of the greatest challenges of our time.”
The Port’s Climate Action Strategy was developed in collaboration with climate change experts and includes goals to reduce Port-controlled greenhouse gas emissions by at least 90% from 2019 levels by 2030 and 100% from 2019 levels by 2050. To achieve these goals, the Port will work to reduce emissions from Port-controlled energy supply, buildings, vessels, vehicles and equipment along with emissions from employee commutes. The Port will also work with tenants to support emission reduction strategies in areas not controlled by the Port.
The Climate Action Strategy includes a Coastal Vulnerability Assessment identifying areas of the Port most at risk from sea level rise and associated flooding. The Port will use this information to prioritize infrastructure investments, make development decisions, and protect Port assets from coastal hazards.
The Port’s Climate Action Strategy builds on over two decades of environmental leadership in Whatcom County including cleaning up a legacy of historic industrial contamination from Bellingham Bay and Blaine Harbor, restoring salmon habitat, and improving energy efficiency and reducing waste throughout the Port’s diverse operating divisions. The Port recently installed the largest solar panel installation on any public building in Whatcom County and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 86% by switching to all renewable energy for its Bellingham operations through Puget Sound Energy’s Green Direct Program.
The Climate Action Strategy is intended to be a living document with future updates incorporated in the Port’s Comprehensive Scheme of Harbor Improvements.