If you’ve had occasion to visit your local government web site looking for guidance on climate change issues (not likely), you may have come away unimpressed. Here in Marin County, we’ve got one of the more sophisticated sites that I’ve visited (and I got to visit hundreds of them in my work at Trilogy). But none of them hold a candle to King County, Washington’s site.

Here, you find not just the government essentials, wrapped up in a pleasant design. You have what amounts to a combination community newsletter, streaming video channel, RPIN (Regional Public Information Network) alert link, and – within its Natural Resources and Parks Department, a collection of information, reports and opportunities dedicated to conservation, mitigation and adaptation.

Then you get to the internal web site of County Executive Ron Sims and his initiatives, which include Global Warming, and Environmental Protection. These two initiatives alone -ronsimsgw.jpg if they were the only things King County was doing besides “the essentials,” would put it ahead of all but two or three counties in the U.S. in terms of advance planning for climate change.

I’ve spoken with Elizabeth Willmott, the Global Warming Coordinator for the initiative. She referred me to Peg Reagan, Executive Director of Conservation Leaders Network.

I talked to Peg.  As someone who is always trying to get the attention of county commissioners (or whatever their local titles may be), she informed me that they are predominantly understaffed and overcommitted. I’m not surprised, but the contrast between what King County is able to accomplish and what the vast majority of counties seem able to accomplish is dramatic.