Emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) cause climate change, which negatively impacts humans across the globe. However, it is at the local level that emissions of GHG emissions must be systematically reduced to stabilize and reverse climate change.
Hundreds of cities around the U.S. and globally are developing or considering climate action plans (CAPs), to do their part for aggressively reducing GHG emissions under larger state, regional and national programs. A typical city or regional CAP targets a 40% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 (“40 by ‘30”), and/or an 80 percent reduction by 2050 (“80 by ‘50”), relative to a 1990 baseline. These are the necessary levels of GHG emission reductions believed by many top climate scientists to stop the planet from warming an additional two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Customized Planning: GNA uses established national and international protocols for a wide array of control measures that cities can adopt to achieve these reductions; many focus on transportation-related GHG emissions, which tend to contribute from ⅓ to ½ of total GHG emissions in large urban areas. Examples include:
- Reduction of local vehicle miles traveled through the use of “mode shifts” that reduce single-occupancy use of personal automobiles, by encouraging and incentivizing carpooling, public transit, walking and biking
- Use of extremely low emitting vehicles powered by electricity, hydrogen, or renewable natural gas
- “Zero waste” programs to reduce the tonnage of waste that is sent to landfills; this can greatly reduce formation of methane, a powerful GHG
- Programs to capture landfill gas (mostly methane), and clean it up into renewable natural gas for use as an extremely low carbon intensity transportation fuel
Relevant Work: GNA is working at the forefront of these techniques, technologies and processes that are focused on reducing GHG emissions. In the specific area of working on local CAPs and other efforts to reduce GHG emissions, current examples include:
- Assistance with development and quantification of control measures under New York City’s “80 X ‘50” CAP, which seeks to reduce 43 million metric tons of GHG emissions by 2050
- Review and assessment of the methodology and GHG-reduction targets established under the City of San Diego CAP
- Support of the natural gas industry to review, asses and participate in California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard program