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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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April 01, 2004

Just warming up

The City of Seattle’s auditor, Susan Cohen, has announced that she will be doing an audit of city departments to see how prepared they are for global warming. At a time of painful budget tightness, it might be wondered whether such a question might be postponed, perhaps to the next generation, but that is not the intention here.

Cohen says the global-warming audit was her idea, and that she got it from reading a Seattle Times story about skilift operators being worried about global warming and the snow pack. If global warming could shrink the snow pack, it could also shrink the runoff for the dams of City Light, and we remember what happened when City Light last came up short in that.

Cohen also read that the oceans might rise by two feet. If that happened, Seattle would have to make sure that in rebuilding the sea wall, the new wall would be high enough.

And then there is the matter of Seattle’s parks. Seattle Parks and Recreation is always planting new trees. The audit will inquire about the species of those trees, and whether they are suitable for a warmer world.

After having gotten this idea, Cohen went on an Internet listserv for municipal auditors, and asked her colleagues around the country whether any of them had conducted an audit around the issue of global warming. None of them had. We have in our city apparently the first one.

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Posted by Bruce Ramsey at April 1, 2004 04:39 PM



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