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GHG reduction targets

In Tompkins County, NY, Interim Targets and Strategies on the Way to Achieving a 2050 Emissions Goal

by Katherine Borgella, AICP Principal Planner Tompkins County Planning Department Oct 27, 2010

Tompkins County by Matt.Hintsa on flickr

Tompkins County. Photo credit: Matt.Hintsa on Flickr

In 2008, the Tompkins County Legislature amended its Comprehensive Plan by adding an element that addressed energy and greenhouse gas emissions. Included was the first community-wide greenhouse gas emissions goal: to reduce emissions by a minimum of 80% from 2008 levels by 2050.  When that goal was adopted, it was recognized that such a long-range achievement would need to be segmented into more manageable and accountable steps along the way.

The measures outlined in the newly released Tompkins County 2020 Energy Strategy are poised to help Tompkins County achieve progress toward the first of these steps; reducing emissions by 20% by 2020.  Two of ICLEI’s planning tools, CAPPA and CACP, were invaluable in developing this Strategy, as it was prepared in-house by County Planning Department staff and did not involve hiring outside energy experts. Although these types of reports can be off-putting to the general public, great effort was made to create a document that is short, simple and easy to read and understand.

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20 Local Governments Honored for Climate Progress

by Don Knapp Sep 27, 2010

LAS milestone award winners 2

Recipients of an ICLEI Milestone Award on stage at the Local Action Summit.

At last week's Local Action Summit, ICLEI honored honored 20 cities and counties that have achieved significant milestones in reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Each city or county has completed one or more of ICLEI's Five Milestones for Climate Mitigation, a proven process by which hundreds of local governments across the country measure their GHG emissions, set realistic emissions reduction goals, develop hands-on climate action plans, and implement those plans in a measurable way that will yield results.

“The Milestone Awards recognize the great work of our cities, towns, and counties that are actively engaged in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and want a better quality of life for their residents,” said Mayor Patrick Hays, City of North Little Rock, AR, and President of the Board of Directors, ICLEI USA. “Each step of our Five Milestone process is critically important to ensuring local success and achieving measurable reductions.”

The following ICLEI USA local government members were recognized with a Milestone Award:

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Inside the District of Columbia’s Climate Action Plan

by Don Knapp Sep 13, 2010

Washington monument (credit: S.E.B. via flickr)

Photo credit: S.E.B. via Flickr

There is impressive climate progress to report from Washington, DC, but maybe not what you're thinking. Last week, the District released a draft climate action plan, reinforcing its reputation as a green city and reminding us again that climate leadership is still something found in abundance at the local—not federal—level.

District of Columbia Climate Action Plan thumbnailThe plan, “Climate of Opportunity—A Draft Climate Action Plan for the District of Columbia,” establishes aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for the District government and lists the measures required to reach them. It suggests community-wide reduction measures as well, paving the way for public input and discussion toward a finalized plan with targets to reduce the entire community’s GHG emissions and steps to address climate adaptation. 

For interested local government staff working on their own climate action plans, we’ve assembled some of the most notable features of the District’s plan, which, by the way, was created with consulting support from ICLEI.

  • Aggressive short-term targets. The District aims to reduce GHG emissions from government operations 20 percent below 2006 levels by 2012 (and 80 percent by 2050). This is a target that would seem out of reach for many cities, but the District calculated that its existing progress on emissions reductions—especially for green buildings—made the goal achievable. One of the keys to success is the District government’s newly negotiated contract to purchase 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources (this includes District agencies and DC Water purchasing jointly via a reverse auction called the Municipal Aggregate Program, or MAP).
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Lessons Learned Using ICLEI's CAPPA Tool

by Eli Yewdall, Southeast Regional Officer Sep 06, 2010

Flow Chart 3-D banner

ICLEI's Southeast Regional office has been working since June with a small group of ICLEI local government members to apply the Climate and Air Pollution Planning Assistant (CAPPA) to their climate action planning efforts. CAPPA is am Excel-based decision support tool designed to help U.S. local governments choose achievable emissions-reduction targets and select appropriate strategies for a climate action plan.

CAPPA logo smallICLEI provided hands-on CAPPA assistance to Sarosota County and the City of Sarasota, FL; Tallahassee, FL; and Carrboro, NC. These local governments shared information on climate actions they are looking at in common, and finally, shared their experiences with the region on a webinar held August 30.

>> View the Event Recording

Read on for details on how local governments used CAPPA in ways that you can replicate.

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Emerging Best Practices in Energy and Greenhouse Gas Management

by Don Knapp Jul 21, 2010

Rulers on Green

The business of tracking energy use and greenhouse gas emissions is moving to a whole new level for local governments -- and the benefits are astonishing. That much is clear after yesterday's webinar, "Emerging Best Practices in Energy and Greenhouse Gas Management," hosted by ICLEI USA and software leader Hara.

The highlight of the presentation was an overview from Karl Van Orsdol, City of Palo Alto, CA's energy risk manager. Van Orsdol described how the City has overcome key challenges and inconsistencies with more sophisticated and pinpoint tracking of energy, emissions, water, and waste. The City not only has a clearer view of its progress on long-term goals, but it can make more targeted decisions on its energy initiatives and more effectively involve City staff in its efforts. The bottom line: In 2009, the City saved $550,000 using Hara's Environmental and Energy Management (EEM) solution.

Municipal and county staff: View the free recorded webinar to learn these latest trends and understand the money- and energy-saving opportunities you might be missing.

small green arrow icon View the Recorded Webinar

small green arrow icon View the Presentation Slides (pdf)

Palo Alto's approach is truly innovative, supported by the national standards and best practices developed by ICLEI and Hara. Get the details in the recordings. In particular, check out page 27 of the slides, where Van Orsdol sums up his City's implementation challenges and lessons learned for other local governments.

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Webinar: Emerging Best Practices in Energy and Greenhouse Gas Management

by Don Knapp Jul 14, 2010

Hara partner logo large


Join ICLEI and Hara for a webinar discussion on how leading local governments are more accurately tracking and optimizing energy use and GHG emissions—to save money and implement targeted strategies

Wednesday, July 21
1 to 2 p.m. Eastern

Register Now green large icon

Today, countless local governments already conduct periodic greenhouse gas emissions inventories as they work through ICLEI’s Five Milestones for Climate Mitigation process. But forward-thinkers like City of Palo Alto, CA, are becoming more sophisticated in how they measure, manage and optimize their emissions and energy use.

By establishing an auditable environmental and energy system of record, they can better identify, prioritize, and track reduction strategies and projects. The bottom line? Bigger money savings, deeper emissions reductions, and more focused and effective energy strategies.

In this free webinar, featuring the City of Palo Alto and experts from environmental and energy solutions leader Hara, we will discuss the following:

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Broward County, FL, Exceeds GHG Reduction Targets for Government Operations

by Rena Ragimova Jun 23, 2010

Broward County Library

Broward County Library. Photo credit: hanneorla on Flickr.

A recently released environmental progress report finds that Broward County government exceeded its annual reduction goal of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2009 with an estimated reduction of 8,130 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (eCO2) from 2008 levels. This exceeds the reduction target of 6,826 tonnes per year established by the Broward County Climate Change Government Operations Workgroup.

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Milestone Award Winners in the South Central Region

by Samantha Hughes, South Central Regional Intern Apr 03, 2010

Gold Trophy

Congratulations to the 17 local governments across Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Arizona that have received an ICLEI Milestone Award to recognize their achievements through our Five Milestones for Climate Mitigation process or our Five Milestones for Sustainability process.

In addition to our congratulations, we'd also like to say thanks to staff from these local governments, who conducted check-in calls with us in the first quarter. We appreciate your willingness to communicate what’s going on in your community -- it gives us that much more of an opportunity to highlight your success. Click below to view the local government winners and see what Milestones they have achieved...

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Tallahassee Hits Its Greenhouse Gas Targets

by Eli Yewdall, Regional Office, Southeast Region Mar 14, 2010

Tallahassee city (credit: reprinted from City of Tallhassee website)

(Image credit: Reprinted from City of Tallahassee website)

New ICLEI member Tallahassee, FL, has rapidly distinguished itself. The municipality is now among the elite number of local governments to have achieved its own greenhouse gas emissions reduction target. Emissions across government operations were reduced 5.3 percent from 2008 to 2009, accomplishing the city's 5 percent reduction goal.

The City, the capital of the state of Florida, is among the municipalities that owns and operates its own electric utility. Through measures described below, the city has reduced greenhouse gas emissions produced by the electric utility in 2009 to 7.5 percent below 1990 levels. Generation and purchase of electricity by the utility represent approximately 98 percent of emissions from City of Tallahassee government operations, and 44 percent of community-wide emissions in Leon and Wakulla counties (which include the City of Tallahassee).

Tallahassee emissions graph

City of Tallahassee electric utility emissions. A significant decrease in CO2 per MWH
(yellow) has allowed a reduction in total emissions (red), even as electric demand
(blue) has increased. The demand curve can be seen to begin bending down in the
last few years.Click to view a larger version of this image.

The Key: Increasing Efficiency at Its Power Plant

Tallahassee’s emissions reductions were achieved primarily by increasing the efficiency of electric generating plants and by switching the primary fuel from oil to natural gas. The emissions reduction was achieved despite a 47 percent increase in electricity use by customers from 1990 to 2009. At the Sam O. Purdom Generating Station, originally built in 1952, two steam boilers were replaced with the 233 megawatt (MW) combined cycle Unit 8 in 2000, increasing efficiency by 30 percent. Unit 2 of the Arvah B. Hopkins Generating Station, built in 1977, was repowered with a 300 MW combined cycle unit completed in mid 2008. In addition to reducing emissions, the Hopkins repowering is expected to save $12-24 million a year in fuel costs which will be passed on to customers as lower bills.

Further Reductions Require Decreased Demand

The City Manager has set a goal to reduce community emissions by an additional 2 percent in 2010. City staff recognize that maintaining emissions reductions will require turning the demand curve downward, and Tallahassee offers electricity customers a variety of loans, grants, and rebates for energy efficiency measures. In a promising trend, electricity use by customers has decreased in each of the past three years, with 2009 consumption one percent lower than in 2008. In 2010 work will begin on additional programs for commercial demand response, residential demand response, demand reduction and energy efficiency, and low-income energy assistance.

While the electric utility represents the vast majority of local government emissions, Tallahassee has not neglected other areas of its operations. A reduction in the number of fleet vehicles, right-sizing policy and minimum mileage standards for new vehicles, and anti-idling policy all contributed to reducing gasoline and diesel use in city vehicles by 6.2 percent and 7.9 percent respectively in 2009. Programs to turn off equipment when not in use and adjust thermostat settings reduced electricity use in city facilities by about one half percent. Tallahassee is also working to address community emissions sources through increasing transit use and educational campaigns.

Tallahassee has reached the limit of efficiency possible with fossil-fuel generation, and further emissions reductions will have to come from encouraging customers to reduce electric usage and from developing renewable energy sources. Tallahassee became an ICLEI member in January 2010 and has completed ICLEI Milestone One and Milestone Two -- completion of a baseline inventory and setting a reduction goal -- in ICLEI’s Five Milestones for Climate Mitigation process. With the support of the ICLEI Network, the City of Tallahassee is creating a climate action plan that will allow it to continue the impressive progress it has already made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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Baltimore and Annapolis Reach Climate and Sustainability Milestones

by Megan Wu, ICLEI Regional Officer, Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Region Mar 02, 2010

Baltimore Inner Harbor (Flickr Creative Commons)









Baltimore Inner Harbor. Photo credit: Kevin Labianco via Flickr Creative Commons.

One is a small coastal city with population less than 50,000, while the other is the hub of a bustling metropolitan area. So what do Annapolis and Baltimore have in common, besides being located in Maryland? They both share a clear vision for climate protection and sustainability, and have recently achieved ICLEI milestones in their efforts.


Baltimore Completes GHG Inventory, Adopts Sustainability Plan

  • After joining ICLEI in 2007, Baltimore wasted no time in moving through ICLEI's Five Milestones for Climate Mitigation process. The City hired an intern and completed greenhouse gas emissions inventories for both government operations and its entire community in 2009. (Milestone One)
  • In the meantime, the City completed and adopted its Sustainability Plan that addresses all three sectors of a sustainable community: Planet, People and Prosperity. The Sustainability Plan gives special emphasis on climate protection by adopting a GHG emissions reduction target of 15 percent by 2015 against the 2007 baseline. (Milestone Two)
  • Baltimore will soon embark on the creation of a Community Climate Action Plan, which involves an extensive community outreach process (Milestone Three).

Annapolis harbor (Flickr Creative Commons

Annapolis harbor. Photo credit: Mr. T in DC via Flickr Creative Commons

Annapolis Completes GHG Inventory, Sets Targets, Approves Plan

  • Annapolis joined ICLEI in 2003, not long after hurricane Isabel visited the City. Seeing the critical role a city can play in reducing and eventually reversing the consequences of climate change, Annapolis followed ICLEI’s Five Milestones for Climate Mitigation, and completed both its government operations and community greenhouse gas emissions inventories in 2008. (Milestone One)
  • The City set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent below 2006 levels by 2010, 50 percent by 2025, and to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. (Milestone Two)
  • In 2009, the City launched the Sustainable Annapolis Program, which kicked off a six-month public outreach initiative to help the City complete its Community Action Plan. The plan was adopted by the City Council in the same year and became the guiding document on the City’s climate and sustainability path. (Milestone Three)
  • Congratulations to the City staff who have achieved an incredible amount of work within two short years!

In early 2010, both Baltimore and Annapolis have welcomed new Mayors, who have shown strong interest and leadership in climate and sustainability initiatives, and I'm sure they will lead the two cities to even greater successes. As an ICLEI staff member supporting these two cities and other members in the Mid-Atlantic Region, I feel truly inspired by Baltimore's and Annapolis' leadership, and sincerely congratulate them on these achievement, for which they will receive ICLEI milestone awards.


>> View Annapolis' Climate Action Plan

>> View Baltimore's Sustainability Plan


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