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Technical Assistance to the City of Seattle on Climate Change Adaptation

The Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment (OSE) coordinates the city government’s efforts to address environmental challenges, including risks associated with climate change.

Abt Associates’ staff provided technical assistance to help the OSE in its efforts to adapt to climate change. The primary focus of this support was evaluating how Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) – the local water and wastewater authority – and Seattle City Light (SCL) – the city’s electric utility – are prepared to adapt to climate change. For example, for SCL Abt assessed the vulnerability of the city’s electricity transmission and distribution system to extreme weather events.

Abt’s analysts and adaptation specialists reviewed regional climate science projections, assessed internal documents and planning processes being used by SPU and SCL, and conducted interviews and workshops with key staff and stakeholders. Through this information collection exercise, Abt was able to identify and assess risks from climate change. Based on these risks and information provided by SPU and SCL staff, Abt proposed adaptation solutions and identified how SPU and SCL could mainstream climate considerations in their decision making processes.

In addition to providing technical support to the SPU and SCL, Abt assisted the OSE by reviewing the city’s Comprehensive Plan and identifying opportunities to incorporate climate change considerations.