City sets goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050
In May 2016, Mayor Greg Fischer signed the Global Covenant of Mayors, an agreement signed by over 9,000 cities across the world, which commits us to inventory and develop a strategy to reduce Louisville’s greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, cities play a major role in these efforts as 70% of greenhouse gas emissions come from cities.
Greenhouse gases get trapped in the atmosphere, which causes warming and leads to climate change. These gases are emitted when we drive, turn on the lights in our homes and buildings, and when waste breaks down in the landfill, among other sources.
The city’s reduction commitment is a three step process:
Setting a reduction target: A reduction target of of 80% by 2050 has been set.
Creating a strategy to meet that target: Determining a strategy will be the focus in 2019.
Why does reducing greenhouse gases matter?
In Louisville, climate change is causing temperatures to rise and more extreme weather events to occur. These changes are leading to more frequent rain events and flooding, challenges in food productions, more rapidly again infrastructure, and higher energy costs. These emissions also affect the health of our residents. Higher greenhouse gas emissions contribute to adverse health outcomes including respiratory and cardiovascular stress and asthma.
For Louisville, the next step is to develop a strategy on how we as a community will achieve the target in a way that supports our goals for creating a more resilient, equitable and environmentally just city. This strategy may require an investment by taxpayers, and the city has created a survey to gauge public interest and support for potential options such as planting more trees, conserving energy or using automobiles less. The feedback from the survey will be incorporated into the city's emissions reduction plan.
In 2019, the city will be focused on meeting with neighborhood associations, local corporations, environmental groups and other stakeholders to determine a strategy for reaching the 80% reduction goal by 2050. Staff will begin with the Rubbertown Community Advisory Council on January 10 and the 100 Resilient Cities Work Group on January 28. If you would like for staff to attend your neighborhood association, board or city council meeting, please call 574-6285 or email email@example.com.
What role does Metro play?
While reduction greenhouse gases will require action by all of our residents, the city understands that it cannot sit on the sidelines. Departments across the enterprise understand the cost saving and economic benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Examples of how the city is playing a role in the reduction include:
Cool Roof Incentive Program: Through Metro incentives, about 750,000 square feet of cool roof has been installed on residential and commercial structures.
Solar Energy: Louisville Metro is using solar energy on 7 buildings, varying from libraries to fire stations and the Louisville Zoo.
Traffic Control: Public Works uses a wireless traffic signal communication network and times the traffic lights to reduce the time that cars idle at traffic lights
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations: PARC maintains 10 electric vehicle charging stations in its garages.
Housing & Community Development repair programs: For each roof, that the Office of Housing & Community Development replaces, it will be replaced with a cool roof. This has resulted in an additional 50 cool roofs across the city (since July 2016) and cost savings for the homeowners.
Drive Clean Louisville: Air Pollution Control District is leading a cross-functional team planning for and exploring opportunities related to electric vehicles and clean fuel transportation for our government and community.
How can residents reduce their Greenhouse Gas Emissions?
- Plant A Tree: In addition to improving neighborhood aesthetics, reducing our urban heat island, increasing property values, and improving storm water management, trees absorb our greenhouse gas emissions.
- Replace Your Light Bulbs: Compact fluorescent or LED lightbulbs use less energy and last longer than regular light bulbs.
- Insulate And Seal Your Home: Reducing air leaks and adding insulation will reduce the needs to cool or hear your home and will save you money on energy bills.
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: By throwing less away, you can reduce the amount of waste in our landfill and reduce the amount of emissions from breaking down the waste.
- Drive Less and Drive Efficiently: Consider walking, riding a bike, taking the bus or carpooling to reduce the number of cars in the road and the amount of emissions coming out of our tailpipes.