Building Actionable Climate Action Plans (Text Version)
Courtney: Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the Building Actionable Climate Action Plans webinar. Today our host is Jennifer Clymer from ICF International, and we will be taking questions at the end of the webinar. If you can type in your questions, then we will read them and address them out loud at the end of the webinar. Before we jump into today's presentation, I'd like to take a few moments to describe the DOE Technical Assistance Program a little bit further. TAP is managed by a team in DOE's weather station, an intergovernmental program, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
The Department of Energy's Technical Assistant Program provides state, local, and tribal officials the tools and resources need to implement successful and sustainable clean energy programs. This effort is aimed at accelerating the implementation of Recovery Act projects and programs, improving their performance, increasing the return on and sustainability of Recovery Act investments, and building protracted clean energy capacity at the state, local, and tribal level. From one-on-one assistance to an extensive online resource library, to facilitation of peer exchange of best practices and lessons learned, TAP offers a wide range of resources to serve the needs of state, local, and tribal officials and their staff.
The technical assistance providers can provide short-term, unbiased expertise in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, program design and implementation, financing, performance contracting, and state and local capacity building. In addition to providing one-on-one assistance, we are available to work with grantees at no cost to facilitate peer-to-peer matching workshops and training.
We also encourage you to utilize the TAP Blog. It's a platform that allows states, cities, counties, and tribes to connect with technical programs and experts, and share best practices. The blog is frequently updated with energy efficiency or renewable energy-related posts. We encourage you to utilize the blog to ask questions of our topical experts, share your success stories, best practices or lessons learned, and interact with your peers.
You can also request direct technical assistant online via the Technical Assistance Center or by calling the number on the screen. Once a request has been submitted, it will be evaluated to determine the level and type of assistance TAP will provide. And with that, we will go over to Jennifer Clymer
Jennifer Clymer: Thank you, Courtney, and welcome everybody. Thanks for joining us this afternoon. Just to give you a little background on myself, I do currently work for ICF International in their energy efficiency practice, and mostly help support the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in energy efficiency-related programs and initiatives, but I did previously work for the City of Austin with their climate protection program for about three years. Much of the information I'm going to be sharing with you today comes from my lessons learned during my time there, so just FYI, I have been in your shoes before.
I just have a quick agenda up here on the screen. Before we get started I'm going to give you a quick acronym review to get through all the alphabet soup, and then give you a big picture overview of why it's so important for local governments, specifically, to be addressing climate change and taking action. Going kind of the nuts and bolts of what is a climate action plan and how is it similar and different from related energy management and sustainability plans, things along those lines, and how climate action plans tie into the EECBG and SEP grant program.
And then, kind of really getting into the meat of today's presentation, walking you through the steps of getting started with a climate action plan, and then just briefly wrapping up with a preview of upcoming webinars that you might be interested in. So, a quick acronym review.
The first one is probably the one you'll see most often. GHG stands for Greenhouse Gas. It could be referencing any combination of the six greenhouse gases that are recognized under the Kyoto Protocol, so that would include carbon dioxide, which is the most common. It is primarily contributed from the burning of fossil fuels; methane, which also comes from the combustion of fossil fuels as well as the decay of organic materials and from a local government perspective, if you operate your own wastewater treatment utility, it comes from that wastewater treatment process as well.
Also there's nitrogen dioxide, which comes from the burning of fossil fuels, wastewater treatment process, fertilizer applications, things along those line. Perfluorocarbons and hexofluorocarbons â€" they are kind of more obscure. They basically were created to replace ozone-depleting substances. They are commonly found in refrigerants and fire-suppressants. And then the sixth one is sulfur hexafluoride which is commonly used in transmission and distribution equipment by electric utilities as well as in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. So just a quick overview of the various greenhouses gases. When I say GHG I'm referring to any combination of those six.
CO2 you see up there is carbon dioxide. CO2-equivalent is another way for me referring to a combination of those six greenhouse gases, and it's just basically a way of comparing them relative to CO2 in terms of their impact in causing climate change, and the ability of heat-trapping gases. MT stands for Metric Tons. The international community kind of stepped up to the plate before the U.S. did so they got to use their metric system, but a metric ton is equivalent to about 2,200 pounds, or 1.1 U.S. tons, just to help for frame of reference there. A CAP, the Climate Action Plan, is the subject matter of today's presentation, and then IPCC is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I'll just provide a few statistics from some of their summary of reports later on.
So with that, why local climate action? Well, first of all, urban areas disproportionately contribute to climate change. Roughly half of the global population is housed within urban areas, but those urban dwellers consume greater than half â€" in fact, 75 percent â€" of global energy and, in turn, emit 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. So if half of the global population is emitting three-quarters of the global greenhouse gas emissions, and the urban population is projected to increase from half up to about 60 percent within a 20-year timeframe, by 2030, what does that mean for potential increase in greenhouse gas emissions from cities and urban areas?
Well, this slide gives you a little bit of a snapshot. I know it's busy and it's got lots of colors and lines all over the place, but essentially what it's showing you is a variety of projections that IPCC has developed for estimating what the global greenhouse gas emissions will be on an annual basis between 2000 to 2100. What this is showing is that in the absence of any further climate action at the U.S. or international level, that emissions are projected to increase on an annual basis to roughly 25 to 90 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents by 2030. So again, I mentioned 2030 was when we're expected to see the urban population jump from 50 percent of the global population to 60 percent, so a 10 percent increase.
And here, right now in 2009, the latest data that's available, the global emissions profile was roughly 30 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per year, so we're already exceeding that minimum emissions threshold of 25 billion metric tons and we're going to be up in the higher end of the range. Metric tons really doesn't mean a whole lot to most people, so one way of kind of putting that into perspective for you is saying that in 2030 we could see greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the CO2 output of anywhere from 6,500 to 23,000 coal plants each and every year starting in 2030. So we're definitely on an upward trajectory.
I've outlined that urban areas disproportionately cause climate change, and in turn, urban areas may be disproportionately impacted by climate change. I'm just going to go over a few of the scenarios that that might be the case. One is that in urban environments already we see a little bit of a heightened urban heat island effect, meaning that due to a lack of vegetative cover, kind of a dense concentration of asphalt and concrete structure that absorb rather than reflect heat. In addition we're having excess exhaust heat from a denser concentration of vehicles, from their tailpipes, from power plant smokestacks, from air conditioning units. All of these things already elevate urban temperatures such that they can be anywhere from 2 to 22 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than surrounding suburban and rural environments.
We're already started from an elevated temperature, and now we're saying that climate change may cause an increase, again, in those urban temperatures, so the urban heat island effect can really heighten that expected increase in temperature. One of the things that we could see is that urban areas may be at increased risk for more extreme heat days, which could present a higher risk for heat and air pollution-related illnesses and deaths. You're especially concerned about your vulnerable populations â€" the elderly and children, particularly. And I mention not just heat-related illness and death but air pollution-related illness and death as well, because there's kind of a two-way effect that urban heat island effect has on air pollution.
First, those elevated temperatures increase the need for air conditioning, assuming it's available, which in turn increases the demand for electricity, which means there are higher emissions from local power plants, so you're emitting more local pollutants into the air â€" both greenhouse gases and other types of air pollutants. And then number two, one of the more common urban air pollutants besides greenhouses gases is ozone or smog, and hot stagnant air really provides a rich, ideal condition for ozone formation, so now we have those concerns.
Due to historical development patterns along ports and things like that, a lot of urban areas are built along coastal locations, so you may see increased risk of damage from rising sea levels, hurricanes, and other activities that can contribute to localized flooding. Inland urban areas are also at risk of heightened, more extreme weather events such as droughts, flooding and tornadoes, all of these things. But even in the absence of direct climate or weather events, inland cities that house perhaps coastal evacuees or other evacuees from areas experiencing extreme weather, they can be impacted as well.
If you think about it, typically during evacuation events, those who have transportation, adequate financial resources, and other housing options will leave the affected area. Those without such means are often times provided transportation to sister cities. For example, I'm here in Austin, Texas. We're a sister city for Galveston, Texas, which is an island along the coast of Texas, just outside of Houston. So when Galveston and Houston are impacted by hurricanes, we take in thousands of evacuees at a time. Well, these visitors can often become permanent residents, and given that they're typically from the lower-scaled income spectrum, they can put a strain on the receiving community's social services, as they seek assistance finding housing, jobs, food, medical care, and the like. So local, state, and federal government assistance programs are really left to fill the gap. So it's not just the direct climatic effects, but it can have social and economic ramifications as well.
Now that I've outlined a little bit of why we should be taking action, I want to go into a bit more detail about what exactly is a climate action plan. This is just a really simple definition. A climate action plan is one that outlines an entity's strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions â€" what we refer to as climate change mitigation â€" as well as outlines their strategies for preparing for the effects of climate change â€" what we refer to as adaptation.
I'm not a big proponent of climate action plans addressing both mitigation and adaptation. I know that some are concerned about if we address adaptation, well, does that mean that we're just giving up and saying that there's nothing that needs to be done to try to reduce emissions further, that climate change is already a done deal, it's happening, and we're throwing in the towel, essentially? Well, we are already seeing some of the impacts of local climate effect, so it is incumbent upon local governments to consider both mitigation and adaptation. So the plan really describes the actions to be taken and by whom. The "by whom" is very important so that you are assigning responsibility to a specific actor.
We talked a little bit about climate action plans interchangeably with energy management plans and sustainability plans, so this slide is really intended to show some of the difference between the three. It's really a matter of scope. Energy use is typically the largest component of any greenhouse gas emissions inventory, and therefore any climate action plan, and I think it's fair to say that for a local government, just looking at their municipal operations or looking at the larger community's emissions, probably anywhere from 50 to 75 percent of their greenhouse gas emissions are going to come from energy use.
Energy management has to be a critical, critical feature of any climate action plan, but it really is a subset of a climate action plan, because climate action plans address different types of emission sources such as transportation, solid waste, and those types of things. But then a climate action plan, in turn, is a subset of a broader sustainability plan. We're seeing some movement in that some local governments are kind of evolving, so to speak, from climate action plans and ___ sustainability plans that touch on other aspects of a local government's environmental footprint, such as the toxicity of the products they buy, and perhaps other types of air and water pollution in addition to just greenhouse gases. And then also sustainability plans will typically incorporate the other two legs of the sustainability stool â€" the economic sustainability and social sustainability in addition to the environment considerations. That just kind of shows you how they relate to one another.
This slide gives you a snapshot of the some of the uses of EECBG funding at the local level, so we're seeing some local governments just starting with what I'm going to show you in a minute, is the first step of developing a climate action plan, and that is measuring your impact now, developing a greenhouse gas emissions inventory, just to see what your impact is at this point and perhaps to forecast out what your emissions are going to be in some future year. And then a related consideration is developing some sort of tracking mechanism to monitor changes in your emissions over time, to see if you're making progress in implementing your climate action plan. Otherwise, they're using the funding simply to create a climate action plan for the first time or to update it.
For example, in California there's a state-wide goal to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and so local governments are being encouraged to develop climate action plans to help the state comply with that commitment. So we're seeing a lot of activity in California, but that's certainly not isolated. I know, for example, in Fulton County, Georgia, they're developing a sustainability plan, and they're actually starting to at, as part of that plan, at individual measures. So they're looking at retrofitting their government facilities as one of their greenhouse gas production activities. So local governments are using the funding not just to evaluate their options but starting to implement some of those specific activities as well.
And then, even looking further ahead in a post-___ world, looking to develop long-term sustainable financing mechanisms to fund ongoing greenhouse gas reduction and adaptation activities. For example, Charleston, South Carolina, and many other cities are looking at establishing revolving loan funds to finance community-wide energy efficiency projects. So that just gives you a flavor for some of the applications of our funding related to climate action plans, and I'll provide many more examples throughout the rest of the presentation.
That gives us kind of a broad overview of what a climate action plan is. Now I want to outline the steps that one would take to develop a climate action plan. This is what I like to call the ICLEI-Plus model. ICLEI are Local Governments for Sustainability. They are a global nonprofit dedicated to improving the sustainability of local governments. They have greater than 600 member cities in the U.S. and thousands worldwide, and they really espouse a five-step model for developing climate action plans, and they use that five-step model for doing sustainability and other types of plans as well.
But essentially, if you're looking at this cycle, their step one starts with "Inventory Greenhouse Gas Emissions," and flows clockwise to the "Monitor and Report" step. I added the sixth step of "Recognizing Achievement" because I think it's critical for ensuring the long-term success of any action plan. It rewards success and provides recognition where it's due, to get continued buy-in and support, not only from local government staff members but from the community as well. And then, of course, the overarching first step of developing any type of policy or programmatic document is securing high-level support, so that that can be carried throughout the process.
The next several slides I'll walk through each of these steps in much greater detail. As you can see, there's plenty of detail here. Step one is Developing the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory, and there are essentially four key components to help you get going in determining how to start your inventory. The first is to determine the scope of your inventory, which in turn determines the scope of your climate action plan that will be based on that initial emissions inventory. Another way of thinking of this is saying, "What are the boundaries of the emissions I want to look at?"
There are two main options for local governments. One is to address only the emissions associated with your internal government operations, meaning the day-to-day activities that you undertake to keep your departments and facilities running. And two is look at more of a community-wide perspective, and so in this sense, the local government operations is really a subset of the broader community. I'll go into those two options in more detail, but again, I'm going to provide some reference and some perspective based on the work that the City of Austin has done, and they actually ended up developing both types of inventories.
They developed an internal government operations inventory, because they really wanted to try to communicate to their city employees areas where they could help lower the city's greenhouse gas emissions profile. And then they developed a separate one for the broader community, to help communicate to the public where they could help lower the community's collective carbon footprint. You may hear me switch back and forth between emissions inventory and carbon footprint, but they're the same thing. And also, just so you know, in the next slide I'll show you a snapshot of what one of these inventories looks like.
The second consideration is to determine what your base year and your future target years are going to be. What I mean by that is what are you going to measure your progress from â€" the emissions in what historical year? â€" and then, what is your goal for reducing emissions â€" what future year? I've provided a few common years up here and I'm going to go into those in more detail about why they're common, and some things you might want to think about in a few slides.
And then methodology, of course, is going to be the most importance piece. There is absolutely no need to reinvent the wheel when determining how to calculate your greenhouse gas emissions. That's been done for you, at least from the perspective of measuring the emissions from your local government's municipal operations. In 2008, because California has their state-wide greenhouse gas regulations and inventory requirement, their air quality _____ the California Air Resources Board got together with the California Climate Action Registry, which is a voluntary institute that helps local governments and businesses and all kind of organizations develop emissions inventory.
They got together with the California Air Resources Board, California Climate Action Registry, at the time what the newly emerging Climate Registry, which is the California Climate Action Registry on a larger, North American scale, and ICLEI, and a whole host of other governments. They all got together to form this working group to develop a standardized methodology for calculating greenhouse gas emissions from local government operations. I provided a link to that protocol. You can access it through the ICLEI website or through the Climate Registry website.
Each of those workgroup members â€" ICLEI or the Climate Registry, California Air Resources Board â€" they agreed on the standardized methodology but then they had a few slight variations on how they wanted their emissions reported. Those were included as appendices and you can see those differences if you go to either of those links. But for the most part they're the same and they allow for an apples-to-apples comparison, more or less. Just to let you know, too, if you are interested in developing a community-wide inventory for now, you can take the general methodologies and procedures outlined for local governments and apply that ____ community scale. And also, ICLEI is working on developing a really comprehensive community-scale ____ document that should be finalized in August of next year, so stay tuned for that. You can read more about it at ICLEI's link also.
The third option is kind of user-defined. Like I said, you can take bits and pieces of the difference guidance documents from ICLEI and the Climate Registry and others and make your own if that feels right. Most guidance documents are built on the same foundation called the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, developed by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development a number of years ago, and so they're all pretty much the same, just with slight nuances and slight references for what their mission factors are and things like that. But it's becoming more standardized all the time, especially now that EPA has their mandatory reporting rule for power plants and regulated industry and things like that, so it's becoming more and more streamlined.
And a final consideration is to determine how you want to report your emission. This is largely determined by if you use one of these protocols â€" the ICLEI or the Climate Registry protocol. They each have their own software, so if you wanted to joint them, they're both a ____-based organization, so there's a due, an annual due. But they have software that allows you to plug in how much gasoline you use in a given year, how many kilowatt hours of electricity you use, how many tons of waste you created, and then it spits out the greenhouse gas emissions created by those different activities, so that's a nice feature. But typically, if you're going to report through those inventory mechanisms, they will require third-party verification.
That third-party verification, it's great and that will provide an extra layer of accountability and transparency, and it also may be required if, for example, you are participating in either a state-wide greenhouse gas regulations or voluntary regional cap and trade program, the third-party verification is likely required. However, there are some cons in that. It's costly. Like I said, there's an _____ fee, and then actually securing a contract or to do that third-party verification can run in the tens of thousands of dollars for each year, so that can add up, and you have to learn each reporting system.
ICLEI has its own, the Climate Registry has its own, and EPA has yet another one if you happen to operate your own electric utility or wastewater utility, something like that, and you're required to report to them. If you're doing that, it might be good to use the Climate Registry because they're working on syncing their reporting systems with the EPA. So just some nuances you have to learn, depending on which one you use.
This slide gives you a snapshot of what a greenhouse gas emissions inventory looks like when it's all said and done. Like I mentioned earlier, Austin did the two inventories. They developed one for just their internal municipal government operations, and then they developed another for the community scale, so what you're seeing is the community-wide greenhouse gas inventory for 2007, which is their base year. What you can see here is that greater than 90 percent of their greenhouse gas emissions come from energy use. Nearly 50 percent of it, in the green â€" the solid green and the striped green â€" comes from building energy use, and then another 40 percent comes from transportation energy use, which is the solid purple, striped purple, and the dotted purple there.
And then the remaining 11 percent comes from waste, whether it's area landfills or wastewater treatment plants. And I will point out here, you know I mentioned how do you define what your community is, what are your boundaries, what's your scope? They opted to go with the county in which Austin resides, because they operate their own electric utility and water and wastewater utilities, and provide solid waste collection services, and they extend all those services outside of the city limits, so the county was just a better alignment for them.
Actually, just let me go back. This slide gives you a sense for where the emission is coming from, where are the major contributors, but it doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot in terms of, okay, so Travis County emitted almost 16 million metric tons in 2007. Well, what does that mean? Is that a lot? Is that a little? I don't know. As part of the local government operations protocol that I mentioned, the California Air Resources Board, ICLEI, the Climate Registry, and others developed back in 2008, they also identified what are some standard metrics to help compare apples to apples across different localities.
What this graph does is it tries to show Travis County per capita emissions against other geographic subdivisions. So you'll see that in Travis County, each individual resident here emitted almost 15 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2007, so you can compare that to the world average at about 5 metric tons, so it's roughly three times the world average, but it is less than the United States average of 20 metric tons. So it's all relative and this just provides you a way to show that relativity.
Alright, Step Two. Simply, you should use your greenhouse gas inventory to guide your reduction targets and ensure that they're meaningful and achievable targets. I just showed you Austin/Travis County baseline emissions inventory, but many localities like to also develop a forecast for what their emissions are going to look like in some future years, so you should use the current emissions profile versus the forecasting emissions profile to set a reasonable target that makes sense for you. Typically, the way that is written or how it looks is that it will be a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by some percent below a historical year's level by some future year.
Often that historical base year, in coming years ___ actually shown â€" on this slide you'll see 1990 and 2005 are the most frequently used. What this shows is ICLEI's member governments as of 2009, where they were going to measure their emissions from, basically. So 20 percent showed 1990 and that's really because of the Kyoto Protocol; that's the base year for the Kyoto Protocol so people have really latched on to that. The problem with that is that we're not really great about keeping records, especially not back two decades now, so it's a lot harder to find records on your electricity usage in 1990, or how much waste you threw away in 1990, things like that.
So it may not be a terribly practical base year. The year 2005 actually was the most popular and that's because ____ conference in ____ Climate Protection Agreement was launched that year. That was led by the city of Seattle and really was a rising storm, so to speak, ____ surge for local governments to take action in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, and start thinking ahead about how climate change may impact them. So that's a common year as is 2000, which was just kind of the beginning of the decade in which most of these plans were developed. And then 2007 was also a really active year for local governments adopting climate action plans and related policies as well, so those are some common ones.
But going back, looking to the future target years, the two that you'll see most often are 2020 and 2050. The year 2020 is mostly tied to federal greenhouse gas cap-and-trade proposals. It doesn't look like anything's headed in that direction in the near future, but in the past few years there have been several legislative proposals introduced that have been tied to some commitment to reduce emissions by 2020, so that's where that comes from. And then 2050 is often used. It's often a stretched goal tied to the IPCC's projection.
But I think it makes the most sense for local governments to really look at their related policies and environmental initiatives, and seeing what year works for them. So if you have an overarching, comprehensive, or general plan that's tied to 2035, then by all means use 2035. Or if you adopted a commitment to reduce ozone emissions and related local air pollution from 2003 levels, then use 2003 as your base year. So really look at what works best for you.
And then I would recommend even going a step further and phasing in your goals, your future year targets. So instead of just having one long-term stretch goal or one immediate-term goal, stepping them in, like this example is shown from Annapolis, Maryland. That stepped approach allows governments to claim intermediate wins that will bolster support for further climate action, and it can be used to reevaluate future targets in light of how well those earlier targets were achieved or not achieved. So it gives you just a little bit more flexibility in implementing and learning from your plan as you start to implement it.
And then the point of this slide is to stress that there's really a fine line between setting realistic and achievable goals versus setting goals that kind of match the magnitude of the climate change problem. For example, the City of Austin had a goal, or still has a goal to become carbon-neutral by 2020, meaning they want to reduce their emission 100 percent below 2007 levels by 2020, carbon-neutral, zero net emissions. In order to achieve this goal, the city would need to halve its greenhouse gas emissions each and every year â€" reduce them by 50 percent each and every year. So this graph illustrates the greenhouse gas reductions that Austin has been able to achieve for the past two years.
So from 2007 to 2008, you see a decline of 3 percent â€" that's great. They were able to double their reduction between 2008 and 2009 to 6 percent, for a total combined reduction of 9 percent between 2007 and 2009, which is really very laudable but in order for them to get to that carbon neutrality goal, like I said, they have to see 50 percent reduction year over year. That's a bit more challenging. We would love to achieve carbon-neutrality but it may not be feasible given the time frame, without perhaps the use of carbon offsets, engaging another entity outside of the city of Austin to voluntarily reduce their emissions. It's just something to keep in mind.
And even as seemingly small as 3 and 6 percent reductions seem, the Carbon Disclosure Project, they did a survey of U.S. cities that were undertaking climate action plans a couple of years ago, and they actually found that on an annualized basis, even the most aggressive target called for less than a 3 percent reduction per year. So I guess what I'm suggesting here is to be ambitious in setting your goals, but also make sure that they are ones that are attainable and are going to be able to give you continued support for reaching those goals.
Moving on to Steps Three and Four, I think of this as basically developing and implementing the climate action plan, and this slide here includes some of the basic content that would go into that plan. Those that are highlighted in blue, bolded fonts are things that we're going to go into more detail in the next few slides, and those that aren't in blue are things that we've already covered in the previous slides. But just walking through these a little bit, you want to start off your plan with the basic introductory, up-front matter that starts off any type of policy-related document, so first being the purpose. Why are you adopting a climate action plan?
This is a good place to include some background information on climate change science, and what are some of the expected local impacts, and really why your government is committed to taking action. Maybe mention linkages with broader programs, whether you have state-wide or regional initiates that you're tying into and helping support. And then I think it's particularly important to reference any sort of authorizing or related policy. So again, if you'll recall back to that circular slide that showed the steps that we were going to walk through, before you even got to the cycle, the first step was to secure high-level support, so one way of doing that is having your council or whatever your policy-making body is adopt some sort of broad, high-level policy statement in support of it, directing the development of the climate action plan.
Scope and accountability we'll get to in just a few moments. Baseline â€" again, we already went over this in the past few slides, but essentially it's documenting what your baseline emissions are so that you can measure future progress from that level, so that you can see changes in emissions from that base year. Goals, we also touched on, but just to reiterate, the mitigation-based goals â€" and again, I'm a proponent of including climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation strategies and goals.
We only talked about the mitigation before, which are typically in quantitative terms, you know, in the forms of either absolute tons of emissions reduced or a percent reduction, something like that. Whereas adaptation goals are typically talked about more in qualitative terms, so making a commitment to consider and prepare for the impact caused by a local change in climate. A couple of things to talk about and think about â€" and we'll go into more detail in a minute â€" but maybe looking at, identifying hot spots of vulnerability, where social services may need to be stepped up in your community.
For example, looking at areas where residents may be vulnerable to extreme heat, for example, where there may be reduced vegetation overlapped with low income areas where central air conditioning may not be prevalent â€" something like that. Reviewing emergency management procedures and revising those if appropriate, ____ may be called upon more frequently. Something along those lines.
And then under Strategies, again, I probably will mix up my terms, when I say "strategy" to mean actual actions and activities that you'll undertake to try to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for a change in climate, and I just presented some of the more common categories of ways to group strategies here, and we'll go into those in just one moment.
First let's start with the scope of the climate action plan. I mentioned that greenhouse gas inventories were typically done for either just the local government's emissions, from their day-to-day operations, or from the larger community's consumption of electricity and burning of transportation fuels, and ____ of waste. So those kind of tie into the different options for crafting a climate action plan as well. I put three different options up here. One is to develop a single, comprehensive, master document that encompasses the entire community, and in that sense the local government emissions and the actions that they commit to take are a subset of the larger community. So that's probably the most common approach but it is just one approach.
Another alternative is to separate out, have two distinct documents, one for government emissions and activities and another for community outside the government emissions and activities. I'll talk about that one more in just a minute. The third bullet here is a modification on the separate called-out government climate action plan, so that you can also look at developing department- or agency-specific climate action plans that are more specific to an individual department's scope of operations, their barriers, their resources that they have available to them. So in the next few slides I'll go through the pros and cons of each different approach.
Starting with the single, comprehensive, community-wide plan, again, as I mentioned, this is typically the most common approach employed. The benefits are that obviously it's more comprehensive, that it assigns responsibility to both the government and community in one document, although I will say that you can potentially lose some of the detail due to this larger scope. The second pro is that it provides better linkages between the government and the community, and what I mean by that is that much of what the government does that creates emissions is done to provide services for the community. So, for example, most of the transportation emissions are going to come from your public works department that's building roads and facilities, and from your emergency response â€" your fire, your EMS, the police. Those are all providing services to the community, so then having them all combined in one document makes that in a relationship clear.
The third thing I highlighted that is a positive thing is that it provides a forum for community engagement, it makes the public feel included and relevant. It allows for cross-collaboration that can facilitate information exchange by building on, not just the knowledge and ideas of internal government staff but from the public as well.
On the cons, it can possibly weaken accountability, and the only reason I say that is that it's harder to tie specific actions to a specific actor if you blend in both the community and the government. There's sometimes a tendency for finger-pointing, so to speak, where they say, "No, no. We're not responsible for that. The city's got to take care of that." Or, "No, really, the business community should be addressing that due to private sector." So it can make it a little bit more difficult in that sense. As I'm sure many of you are familiar, anything that will involve public engagement typically adds time to the process. It's not necessarily a bad thing â€" just something to be aware of.
And then I mention, as a pro, is that by engaging the communicate you can facilitate idea exchange, but actually it can also stifle idea exchange in that there may be some fear, for example, from the government staff that if they disclose information that public could use it against them in other contexts, and vice versa, the public may be fearful of disclosing information to avoid government intervention. So if they identify some emissions source that the local government hasn't thought about, well, there might be fear of being regulated in one way or another so they may not be open to sharing ideas if they're all working together in one environment and one document. So just some things to think about with the single plan approach.
Now, if we look at breaking them out into two separate plans â€" one for internal government operations and one for the broader community â€" brings a whole other set of considerations. In my opinion, it can improve accountability because the smaller scope of each plan allows for more detailed assignment of responsibility to a specific actor. So because you can just address government operations in one document, you can get down into the weed more, okay, and, "Which department's going to deal with this?" and which working group, and that sort of thing. And similar for communities, you can break it down by sector and assign responsibility that way.
Another pro, that it may expedite the process, again, because you can have two simultaneous efforts going on, one with a government staff working group and another with a community working group, working independently but in parallel to move things along a little bit more quickly. And as I mentioned, a con of the single document is actually a pro of the split documentation, that it can facilitate information exchange where government staff may be more open to sharing information and ideas if they don't have to worry about the public using that information in another context, or using the process as a forum for placing blame.
Cons, on the negative side, it can be difficult â€" like I said in the last slide â€" because of the interrelationship between government and community emissions. It can be difficult to break them out and assign government-only emissions versus community-only emissions. And again, I've mentioned this several times now, but it can hinder or support information exchange. It goes both way, depending on the audience and the context. And then, of course, so there can be a real or perceived reduction in transparency, so the community may feel like they're being left out of the process and intentionally excluded. And then, of course, it can duplicate effort as well. Many of the strategies that would be adopted at the government level could be applied to the community level, and vice versa.
And then finally looking at sub-government level plans, I really don't intend this to be a stand-alone approach, but really more of a modification of developing a government-only plan, so it can be used as sort of a first step for identify greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation strategies by department and/or agency that didn't get rolled up into a larger government-wide plan. Or it could be used as a later step to assign responsibility for individual action to a specific department or actor, after those actions have been identifies.
So the pros are that more aid can increase accountability and applicability, in the sense that it gives individual departments and employees ownership, which can generate increased buy-in and support, which tends to lead to more successful implementation. And in terms of applicability, if you are looking at situations that are unique to a department-specific budget, for example, for their political issues that they're dealing with, for their staffing issues that they're dealing with. Maybe their dominant emissions sources are different from another department â€" it just makes it more tailored to what's going on within that department or that agency.
The cons should be fairly obvious. Again, it could be duplicative and have a overlap of a lot of the strategy. It can definitely be more resource-intense. If you have dedicated staff or a contractor that works with each department independently, they could potentially cover some similar topics repetitively. And then also, again, this concept of either stifling or facilitating information exchange, that if you break out departments to work on their own department-level plans, you may miss out on some ideas generated by cross-department collaboration. That can be overcome. You can have both intra- and inter-department efforts, but just some things to be aware of.
Alright. So those are some considerations related to scope. Now I want to move into, how do you build accountability to ensure that this plan is actually followed to the ____? I've put up a few options, a few ideas up here on the screen. These are certainly not mutually exclusive. I would encourage you to look at adopting as many of them as possible, and in the next few slides I'll go over each of these, again taking a pros and cons approach to each one of them.
So, central oversight office or authority. This is pretty common or is becoming increasingly more common. The biggest pro is that it does control the accountability. It allows for a single person or subset of persons to be held accountable for accomplishing the goals. And also, one option is that if you tie funding for that office or FTE position, something like that, if you tie funding to any cost savings that are identified, then they have extra motivation to uncover new emissions reduction and cost-saving opportunities.
For example, the cities of Cleveland and Fayetteville took this approach, where they built this self-sustaining model for their central environmental or sustainability or energy offices through using the savings to pay for the positions approach. It also can facilitate cross-department interactions. What it does is it creates a common thread across related environmental programs and initiatives and allows for that individual or that subset of individuals to take a big picture perspective instead of getting bogged down in the intricacies of a specific department's day-to-day operation. And then, finally, it provides a single, unified voice that can avoid confusion with mixed messages across different departments. It can kind of just streamline that communication out to the community as well as to the government staff that can lead to improved public perception of and support for their program.
On the negative side, it can be cost-prohibitive. Again, like most local governments at this point are facing decreased budget, and unfortunately energy and sustainability offices aren't often viewed as critical and can be one of the first to go, so it can be prohibitive in that sense. But of course, like I mentioned, a self-funding model may help overcome that cost barrier. And then this may seem a little bit counterintuitive but I'm going to throw out there the idea that having a centralized office may be a little too centralized, meaning that the central office or officer may not have intimate knowledge of a specific department's operations or community activities that can be afforded by a more decentralized approach.
So, to me, the key is really to avoid the pitfall of missing opportunity via centralization is to take a combined, kind of centralized/decentralized approach where you have a single office or authority figure, and then have them linked with liaisons in key departments to be the eyes and ears of that department. That really provides the best of both worlds, because it empowers a central figure to take cross-departmental action while maintaining departmental level buy-in and knowledge.
The next strategy is looking at tying in with the budget process, so if you already have performance-based budgeting in your government, then you can adopt department-specific climate action performance measures. What this does is it overcomes that argument I was just making, that perhaps a central office is too centralized, in and of its own, so this kind of diffuses accountability out to the departments by tying outcomes to department-level budgets. In that sense, you can have reporting on the performance measures can influence funding decisions.
There's a possibility that if you're not hitting your target, perhaps the result could be punitive and that you're not given money to support those programs, but more than likely it could be positive support and maybe you're not hitting your targets because one of the barriers to your success is you need funding to do some capital-intensive projects, or something along those lines. So it provides a built-in reporting and accountability structure. Again, as I mentioned, if you already have performance-based budgeting in your jurisdiction, then you can use the existing budget development and performance measurement reporting process.
And then the final pro about the department performance measures is that it can facilitate employee-level performance measurement as well. Some governments are structured such that you can't develop employee-level performance measures unless department-level performance measures are already included in that department's strategic business plan or their budget plan for each year, so it allows those measures to flow down to individual employees as appropriate.
Some of the downsides are that if you've ever developed performance measures, it can be difficult coming up with them altogether, and then specifically related to greenhouse gas reduction and adaptation measures, it can often be difficult to assign individual emissions, and therefore responsibility for reducing those emissions to a specific department. So, for example, would a social services department be responsible for planting shade trees in areas where residents might be subject to extreme heat pressures? That department typically provides services to the low-income community impacted by increased temperatures. Or, should it be the responsibility of the parks department since they typically care for the government's trees?
So it's hard to determine which department gets which accountability measure. And one other example is, looking at facilities maintenance and utility operating costs. Do you make the individual departments responsible for reducing their energy and water use, or is it the facilities maintenance department that has responsibility since they provide maintenance services and they control the capital budget for HVAC and other building systems? That can be a complication as well, deciding who gets the performance measure.
And then, unless your government has a fiscal year that aligns with a calendar year, most times the budget timeline and the emissions reporting time are not going to match. Emissions are generally reported on a calendar year basis, just for standardization because everyone's fiscal years are different. And then there's also a delay between having a several month window to gather all the data â€" such as what were your utility bills, how much waste did you generate, how many miles did you drive â€" and then doing the calculations to determine the emissions output from that. So you have to be able to sync up your emissions reporting and your budget timelines that say, "Okay, your performance metrics are due now." So that can be a challenge as well.
And then finally, sometimes it's outside the department's control whether or not they're hitting their greenhouse gas reduction targets or other climate action goal. Often energy and water use is driven by weather fluctuations that departments have absolutely no control over. They can be conserving energy to their utmost degree, but if you have just an extremely warm year, then that might be for naught. Or related to water, if it's an extremely dry year you may be using more water than normal for watering and those types of things. So, do you normalize for the fact that you do have changes that are due to outside forces beyond the department's control? Do you penalize or reward the department for things that may not be outside of their control? So again, just some things to think about with this approach.
With the employee performance measures, there is some more to the department measures, but it even further decentralizes accountability _____, encourage individual employee buy-in and performance. I have stressed that it may not be necessary to include a climate action performance measure for every single employee, but perhaps for key management, just for reporting and minimizing paperwork and things like that. And then, another pro is that it uses an existing reporting structure. Assuming that most local governments do have some type of performance review process already in place, they can tack on to that structure that's in place.
And then on the negative side, again, just like with department-level performance measures, it can be hard to assign responsibility to the appropriate individual or individuals, and they also may have limited control over some of the emissions changes that are driven by, and I used weather as the last example, but say, for example, one of your departments collects waste that's illegally dumped by members of the community. Well, if the community is dumping more waste than normal, they have to make more truck trips out to collect it; they're generating more waste ____ landfill. Oh no, all of a sudden their emissions went up instead of down. Was that really their fault or was that the community's fault, which you've taken out of the equation already by splitting out the government and the community climate action plan. So again, more things to think about.
And then, finally, just public disclosure. I think this is a great way to build in accountability that doesn't cost a whole lot. You use essentially a public pressure to ensure accountability. The Climate Registry, that I mentioned, ICLEI, the Carbon Disclosure Project, and I'm sure there are others out there, but they all provide a forum for disclosing your goals and reporting your results. And of course this promotes government transparency and inclusivity, and from the public's perspective, the more inclusive the better, right? And then, just on the downside, that once you start that reporting function there is an expectation that the reporting will continue, so you have to make sure that you are able to dedicate resources in the long term to continue that reporting process.
Alright. So we've covered quite a few of the components of climate action plans and now we're getting into, what are some actual examples of greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation strategies? Typically you see â€" I've listed five types of emission sources that are usually included, but really I would say the first three are the most common, the energy, water, and transportation. The reason for that is, like I mentioned earlier, energy is the dominant contributor to pretty much entity of greenhouse gas emissions inventory. It can be anywhere from 50 to 75 or even more of a community's greenhouse gas emissions, so a lot of emphasis is going to be placed on energy conservation, renewable energy development, and things along those lines.
Water. You can't ignore the critical energy water linkage. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to treat, pump, and heat water. I know, for example, half of the City of Austin's electric bill went to their water utility because of all the water that they moved around the city, and had to treat, and all of those things, so it can be incredible energy-intensive. And then, in turn, it takes a tremendous amount of water to create electricity. That's mainly for fossil fuel and nuclear-based electricity generation, and then that can be one of the reasons, perhaps, for moving to distributed renewable resources such as on-site solar, ____ gas, something like that.
And then transportation is typically included, one, because we typically have pretty good reporting systems in place now of vehicle fuel use and mileage and things like that. And because, due to standardization and common features, fleet vehicles provide a good environment for testing and implementing potential transportation greenhouse gas reduction activities. For example, incorporating fuel economy thresholds and other green sweep requirements into procurement specifications, or adopting anti-idling technologies, or putting together a fuel conservation competition â€" things like that, they're really conducive to a fleet environment. So energy, water, and transportation are pretty much standard across the board included in climate action plans and emissions inventory.
It's harder to get data on solid waste and the supply chain, the procurement and materials management _____, but it can be done and I think it's important to link the two because almost everything, if not everything the government purchases ultimately has to be disposed of. So the two kind of go hand in hand. And then I added materials management as well, which is thinking about how we use things in the operation and management of our facilities, of our vehicle fleet, things like that. So thinking about, what does your government do with used motor oil? Do they have a preventive maintenance policy in place for their vehicles? On the building side of things, does your government have a refrigerant management plan?
You'll remember back to one of the first slides I mentioned that two of the greenhouse gases are typically found in refrigerants. Refrigerants are greenhouse gases and they're very potent greenhouse gases, so trying to put processes and procedures in place to reduce leakage of refrigerants when you're replacing them, and when you're operating the air conditioning system, or refrigerators, or ice machines, or anything like that. So those can't be ignored as well.
What I suggest is that for each emission source category â€" whether it's transportation, wastewater, etc. â€" that you kind of group strategies in one of three areas, whether it's a measure strategy, where you're assessing, what are the current situations? What is the magnitude of the problem that I'm trying to get at? Or whether it's an act strategy, where actually implementing individual measures to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or prepare the local government for coming climate change impacts. Or whether you're tracking progress in achieving your goals. So tracking here, I say, typically it's appointing a responsible party to monitor progress. It can also include some sort of inherent tracking system, for example, taking use of the smart grid and other smart infrastructure developments, and things along those lines.
One recommendation I have is to group it by these â€" measure, act, tract â€" or you can also potentially group them into operational and technological strategies. This helps you identify who might be the best party to implement each strategy. Operational is typically more behavioral-based, just changing processes and thinking of individual employees and workers responsible for things, or different sectors of the community responsible for things. And then technological strategies are thinking more about perhaps capital-intensive projects. This type of categorization could also better align with the existing structures, so operational measures could go into the O&M budget, and technological measures could go into the capital budget, things like that.
In the following slides I'm just going to walk through some examples of mitigation and adaptation strategies for each emission source category, and again, when I say emission source category I mean energy, water, waste, et cetera.
So starting with energy â€" I know this is a very busy slide but I'll walk you through it. Again, if you take the fact that we want to address both climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation, and if we want to break our actions or strategies into three different categories, whether it's measure, act, or tract â€" so that's kind of the structure here and then I provided just a couple of examples under each, that I'll go into. So the first, under mitigation, for measure, I recommend starting, for both your government and your private sector commercial facility, that you really want to establish a baseline assessment, across your portfolio, buildings that are under government's management or a private commercial management company.
You want to assess their energy use performance. EPA has a tool called Portfolio Manager, and there are other comparable tools out there, but it allows you to look at your building's relative energy use compared to comparable buildings throughout the U.S., and so it gives you an easy, numeric 1 through 100 score, where if you score 50, half the buildings in your building category perform better than you in terms of how efficiently they use energy and the other half performs worse than you. It allows you to be able to target your areas for action. One strategy would be following up on that baseline assessment would be going in and doing more targeted energy audits and more detailed energy studies of buildings that are low performers, that have scores on the low end of that 1 to 100 range, and really go after then to pursue energy efficiency upgrades first, because you'll get bigger bang for your buck that way.
Of course, it's important to regularly reassess your progress through re-benchmarking, so there should be this continuous effort to try to measure the performance of your buildings in terms of how efficiently they use energy. It could be applied at the government level; it can be applied at the community level, where you identify high energy use or energy-intensive sectors, or maybe different neighbors throughout the community. Basically it's helping you to determine who you want to target for outreach, for financing programs, just to try to increase awareness and opportunities to improve energy efficiency.
Under the Acts category, for government I chose just a sample strategy of implementing a green information technology program. A comprehensive green IT program could include such things as implementing computer power management software that allows central IT groups to remotely power down and power up computers, so that they either automatically shut off the computer when it's not being used during non-business hours or they can turn it back on to install updates, things like that. Perhaps adopting a policy to only purchase EnergyStar or EP-qualified equipment; EP is another green IT ranking mechanism that looks at the energy use and other environment impact of computers, monitors, and things like that. Or you could perhaps look at a data center energy management plan. The point here is that I put very high-level strategies, that each one of these would have subcomponents to flush them out in more detail.
On the community side of things, I mentioned maybe hosting an energy challenge, something similar to EPA's recently ended National Building Competition or Chicago's Green Office Challenge, or Portland; they're all over the place now. What it does is it provides a competitive environment to get typically commercial facilities to benchmark and understand their energy use and encourage them to drive down their energy use over a defined time period, and the energy use reductions can be achieved through operational and behavioral measures, and they can incorporate on-site renewable energy as well.
Under Adaptation, in the interest of time I'm going to maybe just take one of these from the rest of the slides, but one thing to think about is whether your community is overly reliant on a single or limited energy source that could be disrupted by some type of climate change-induced event. For example, a hurricane or flooding, or something like that. Are you actual energy supplies vulnerable to that severe weather event?
Under the Acts side of things, one of the ___ I mentioned is to work with your energy provider to start to incorporate forward-looking climate or weather models that take into account the effects of climate change, rather than just relying on historical climate and weather patterns. So when a lot of electric utilities and water utilities right now get together to forecast out how much energy or water they think they're going to need to provide in the future, they commonly look at the past 10 or 20 years of weather and climate patterns, but they don't take into account the fact that the climate is change. So it will slowly account for it as the historical years start to change, but it doesn't take into account forward-looking models, so that's one option there.
And then under the Track category, it uses pretty consistently throughout all of the different emissions categories, but basically what I'm suggesting at the government level as just a starting point is to appoint some type of coordinator whose role is to monitor and report on areas for improved efficiency or reduced waste, and also look for ways for how the government or the community might be impacted by local climate change events, so starting to think about that adaptation piece as well.
And then on the community side, the strategies I've identified on this slide and future slide, it really comes down to providing better information, coupled with dynamic pricing that will influence customers' decisions, and it also improves the energy or water, or whatever provider's ability to plan for demand in the future and how they're going to meet those demands. So a lot of it is tied to smart infrastructure, so in this case implementing a smart grid program that will enable real or near-real time energy use monitoring that increases the consumer's awareness of their relative energy use â€" not just their use energy, but in a lot of cases we're starting to see comparisons to neighbors or to peer commercial office buildings, or something like that, and so that hopefully engages them to try to improve their energy management and lower their energy usage, and in return, lower their emissions. That's a couple of ideas on the energy side of things.
For water, the ____ is very similar. Maybe just a couple of differences to highlight is under the mitigation, on the left-hand side of the slide, under Measure. The second one is just an example of strategies for community, thinking about the water intensity of different types of vegetation and landscaping. So maybe one action to be taken is to rank different landscaping designs and vegetative cover by how water-intensive they are, and then work towards lowering the water demands of landscaping that's used on public lands.
There's an initiative called the Sustainable Sites Initiative that looks at the different carbon profile of different types of vegetative cover. That might be something, taking a look at that and really adopting a policy to pursue native or locally adapted species, or forego landscaping altogether for a more natural look and one that doesn't require additional watering beyond what is already provided in your area naturally. And, of course, use those results of what you're able to accomplish on public lands and provide that information out to the public to adopt them on private lands as well.
Something to point out under the Act under mitigation for government â€" use untreated or reclaimed water where feasible. I think I've mentioned a couple times now, the wastewater treatment process is, one, energy intensive, and two, it's pretty greenhouse gas emissions intensive as well, so as much as you can avoid the use of water that needs treatment, the more you're going to reduce your emissions profile. A comparable approach on the community side is evaluating if you have any local gray water regulations, maybe look at modifying those to support on-site reuse in private facilities and homes as well.
I think maybe I'll just let you read over the rest of those again, in the interest of time, and they're fairly similar to the energy strategies as well.
Okay, transportation. Under the mitigation and measure, again, the point here is really to learn where the problem exists and what the magnitude of the problem is, so that you can better target your greenhouse gas emissions or adaptation strategy. So, looking at government ____, one thing that's especially critical is to try to conserve fuel, so it's important to not only conserve fuel but also to perhaps look at less carbon-intensive renewable fuels, but really we want to reduce the amount of any type of fuel used first.
So one strategy under Measure could be to identify, take a survey of the local government's vehicle fleet and identify ones that are either underused, and in that sense relatively unnecessary â€" but perhaps because it's in the parking lot, employees might use it just because it's there â€" and again identifying individual vehicles that may be oversized for their application. So is it really necessary for just a staff vehicle that you use for getting around for meetings to be a van or a pick-up truck, or something like that? Look for opportunities to downsize the over size, the number of vehicles in the fleet, as well as opportunities to downsize the actual physical size of individual vehicles.
On the community side of things, again the major area of emphasis should be on fuel conservation. Vehicles, when they are at idle, consume fuel at a faster rate and they emit pollutants including greenhouse gases at a faster rate. So one way to reduce unnecessary vehicle idling is to reduce capacity choke points, congestion points to improve vehicle flow. This strategy here is to evaluate capacity constraints of the road network, and this can be applied to a multi-nodal network as well; it doesn't have to be surface roadway.
Under the Acts category for mitigation, one way to reduce emissions is to employ route optimization software. This can allow individual fleet managers to identify paths that reduce travel distance and time, which in turn cuts down fuel use and associated emissions. And then if you tack on an onboard GPS component as well, it can allow fleet managers to remotely monitor compliance with the route, and also, in some cases it can monitor compliance with anti-idling policies. So if you have a policy not to idle for longer than five minutes at a construction site or something like that, it can actually monitor how long it's been idling and even shut it down remotely if that feature is enabled. So that's one option.
On the community side of things, I mentioned maybe implementing a parking cash-out program. This is a way to promote alternatives to driving along, where there's already a premium that's placed on parking. So whether that means that the employee has to pay parking for themselves or even if it's employer-paid parking, either way it can work. But the idea is that employees who agree to not drive to work alone â€" maybe they get a few days a month that they can do that to account for doctor's appointments or something like that â€" but if they agree not to drive to work alone, by themselves, in their car for more than three days a month, then they receive some type of cash or cash-equivalent payment that would be more than the employee otherwise would get â€" it would have to be more than zero â€" but it would be less than what the employer provides to pay to provide that additional parking space.
In that sense the employee is getting more money than they would have otherwise, and an employer is paying out less money than they would have other, so it's kind of an incentive for both, and what that does is that it encourages them to carpool, to take the bus, do other things that conserve fuel and create fewer emissions. And it also, from a cash flow perspective, some local governments and state governments as well, looking at it as an option to be able to free up capacity to rent out those parking spaces to non-employees, where they can charge daily or monthly rates, so it can be an income-generating model as well. The downside there is that you do have to have some type of an infrastructure in place that would ensure compliance, whether that would be parking gates or key cards, something along those lines that can monitor who is coming in and parking, basically, and whether they've committed to not park.
Under Adaptation, one thing to think about on the measurement side of things is identifying infrastructure that might be vulnerable to heat stress, or even to changes in precipitation. For example, asphalt is sensitive to temperature and water changes. Extreme temperature stress causes extra surface stress which can cause cracking, and of course if you have cracking it allows for water infiltration which creates larger cracks and potholes. And then on the water side of things, too much or too little water in the form of rain or snowfall or whatever can cause moisture imbalances which also lead to cracking. So climate change may accelerate the need for road maintenance, is what I'm suggesting here, so local governments need to be aware of that fact.
Under the adaptation side of things, a couple of different measures that can be taken are developing new purchasing specifications for more heat-tolerant asphalt, or even targeting tree planting to maximize street coverage. That reduces some of the direct sunlight and heat impact, and of course it provides other benefits of beautification, it shades sidewalks, carbon dioxide sync, meaning it takes in carbon dioxide, it can filter other air and water pollutants, and things of the like. It's always good to call out those ancillary benefits as well when talking about the different actions and activities to include in your climate action plan.
Under mitigation and adaptation, again you'll see the standard appoint a coordinator to monitor opportunities on the government side of things. Under community, the way that the smart infrastructure works for transportation is implementing what's referred to as intelligent transportation systems, so it can allow real time or near-real time information to be displayed on boards along roadways. That can influence transportation behavior, rerouting them around events, or it can also enable the option of road pricing policies or restricting entries during peak travel times, things like that. And it also allows the transportation authority â€" whether that's the local government or working with the regional planning organizations â€" it allows them to monitor changes to the system and estimate future planning demands and how that might influence emissions as well.
Alright, moving into waste. There's currently very, very poor data on solid waste flows. I would say that's probably pretty standardized across local governments. So a good starting point for assessing both the waste stream for government facilities as well as for the larger community is to do some type of audit that would identify the different types of waste that are generated, how much is generated, and where that waste is coming from and going to. This improved data could help facilitate effective strategy identification and implementation, and then long-term monitoring as well.
Under the Act strategy under mitigation, it can be simple behavioral strategies such as labeling trash cans as "landfill" and providing clear signage and directions for how to recycle, what to recycle, if composting is available. I know one of the primary requests from City of Austin staff, when they were working on their climate action plan, was to just simply provide better labeling and information on what could and couldn't be recycled. One way to increase recycling rates and reducing our waste into landfill at the government and community level is to adopt a single-stream recycling, where everything is comingled and thrown into together.
The idea is it simplifies the recycling process so that more community members participate in recycling. It can substantially reduce recycling rates. So, for example, at the City of Austin, at their City Hall, they did a waste audit before and after implementing single-stream recycling in the City Hall, and the results showed that there was a 23 percent reduction in the total volume of waste created, of any type of waste created throughout the day, so a 23 percent reduction, and then a 42 percent increase in the volume of waste that was recycled.
So not only did they increase the amount of waste recycled but they also decreased the total amount of waste that was generated, just through awareness, getting people thinking about it and trying to look for more creative ways to reuse and cut down on their waste in general. When you scale that up to the community level, sometimes the results can be even more impressive. I know the city of San Antonio, for example, here in Texas, when they adopted single-stream recycling, they saw their recycling rates go up by 200 percent, and Dallas saw them go up by 300 percent, so it can certainly be an effective strategy as well.
Under adaptation, again, just starting to think about whether climate change could potentially generate new or modified waste streams. For example, like I mentioned that there may be an increased cycle for road maintenance because it's going under more temperature and precipitation, and differences in precipitation stresses. When you upgrade that infrastructure â€" whether it's the road network or perhaps you have to increase your electricity transmission capacity because there's higher demand for energy because of the elevated temperature, something like that â€" all of that generates waste that wasn't there before. Under that kind of thing, you could get more creative about exploring some reuse options for those new and modified waste streams.
And then under the mitigation and adaptation track component of waste, I'll point out under community that the one thing is implementing a waste collection measurement system so that you are able to charge by weight rather than a flat fee. So again, this couples better information with dynamic pricing strategies. If you are able to obtain accurate weight measurements and then provide that data, and then associate a price tag with that to the consumer, then maybe they ought to be able to modify their disposal habits, and then it also allows the solid waste facilities to monitor changes in how people are disposing of things and plan appropriately.
The last category is procurement and materials management. Again, this is another area where there isn't great information, so I'd start pretty basic on the mitigation side of things and their measure, just looking at what are the top commodities and services that your local government procures, being able to identify what are those things that you have the most opportunity for influence, and reducing the emissions impact of those goods and services. That allows you to look for opportunities to not only reduce the impact of using those goods and services, but going up-stream and down-stream as well, looking at, for example, your computers. What components are going into them? What materials are being used? How energy-intensive is it to create those materials? How much fuel is being used to transport those computers to you? And how do you dispose of it in the long run? So just getting beyond the point of purchase and the point of use, but to think about the full life cycle as well.
And then similarly, an import-export flow analysis could be done at the community level as well. If you have some of that macroeconomic-level data, it could be used to identify opportunities for promoting local production and consumption, whether that's food or just local goods and services as well, again, mostly because it cuts down on transportation-related emissions.
So a couple of things you could do under the acts category for government, is adopting use of best value contracting, which allows governments to consider factors other than up-front capital costs, so they can look at the full life cycle greenhouse gas impact, or note the operating cost savings in addition to the up-front capital costs when making those purchasing decisions. And then I included a couple of different government strategies here under acts because I wanted to get at the materials management component of this as well. I mentioned refrigerants before, but they are extremely potent greenhouse gases. Even small quantities that are leaked can have a big impact on the government's greenhouse gas inventory, so one thing to consider is to prioritize the refrigerants that are purchased based on their ability to cause climate change. So those refrigerants that have a lower, what's called a "global warming potential," should be prioritized first. Something along those lines.
And then I'll switch over to the adaptation side of things and go to the community one that says identify crops that are vulnerable to climate change. So the more rural or agrarian communities, local crop production could be a major piece of their economy and certain crops could be more susceptible to climate change than others, due to reduced crop yields from drought, heat, insect infestation, et cetera. One of the things that could be done on the community side of things under the acts category is to support research and development to enhance the resiliency of local agricultural products, something along those lines.
Alright. We're almost there. We're on Step Five of Six. I thank you for holding on for so long. I know this has been a lengthy presentation. Step Five is monitor and report on your climate action plan. We already talked about developing that baseline emissions inventory and it's important to update that emissions inventory on a regular basis so that you know whether the individual strategies that you have identified and started to implement are working.
Some local governments are able to update their emissions inventory every year. It can be time- and data- and resource-intensive, so that may be a limiting factor. Perhaps you might look at a three-year or five-year cycle instead. It's kind of going to be tied to what is the time frame of your goals as well. Do you have a goal that's 2015, or is it tied to 2030? The longer time frame, the longer you can allow for that interval between updating your emissions inventory.
Once you know how you're doing in influencing your greenhouse gas emissions through the inventory, you want to report on any progress that you are achieving. That can be done through an independent annual report â€" we mentioned a few â€" you can incorporate it with your performance-based budgeting. You can incorporate it into the budget or business plan. But it really is critical that you continue to report on successes and give credit where credit is due, in order to maintain motivation and momentum in achieving your goals.
And lastly, don't be afraid to modify where needed. You're going to learn a whole lot after the plan is developed and you start to implement, so keep things flexible. Again, I stress that intermediate goals can help provide some of that flexibility.
This is just a graph showing where some of the ICLEI local government members are in implementing their climate action plans. If we think back to that cycle that showed, in our slide it showed Steps One through Six, and if we have Step One through Five, the light brown or tan here is developing greenhouse gas emissions inventory. You see that there has been an upward trajectory between 1995 and 2009, when this chart was created. So we've got good participation on Step One. We're really seeing an uptake in people developing those inventories.
Then the darker brown is Step Two, which is to establish your greenhouse gas reduction goals. Those have kind of kept pace with the emissions inventory development as well. Step Three, the light blue, is adopting a climate action plan, Four is implementing a climate action plan, and Five is the last stage that we just talked about, the monitoring and reporting. So again, you can see most local governments are catching up in terms of actually developing an emissions inventory, setting a goal, and perhaps even adopting a climate action plan, but where most local governments are now â€" if you look at the 2009 timeframe â€" most of them are in that implementation stage, so they're working on trying to get the nuts and bolts of their plans up and running, and aren't quite to the reporting stage yet. They may not have results to share, but I expect that that will continue to move upward as well.
And then, I'd like to end here with a Step Six, which I really do think is one of, if not the most important step, is to recognize achievement. Some examples of things that can be done: if you have broken out your strategies to address internal government operations versus community operations, even if they're all in one rolled-up comprehensive document, I think it's good to highlight internal and external actors. On the government side of things, the City of Austin conducted a survey of their employees to find out what would motivate them to participate in Austin's climate action plan; what would give them the motivation to contribute and take ____ their own personal individual action.
That survey found that most were motivated by just knowing that they were doing something meaningful and different, and outside their everyday daily activities and job responsibilities. But the next highest thing was recognition from the mayor or other official. Freebies and giveaways and prizes â€" they weren't really high on the list. They didn't need those types of things. So acknowledge is good, highlighting individual employees and departments that are doing more innovative things to encourage others. You can use highlights online, or if you have an internal newsletter or something like that.
But I think also one of the most important things is that a lot of budgets are set up so that any operating budgets that aren't spent go back into a general fund. That can be discouraging for departments who are really aggressive and trying to conserve their resources which, in turn, reduces their utility bills and their operating costs, while they're seeing those cost-savings going back into the general fund, and so they don't get to benefit form the use of those savings. I think it's really important that we start to identify creative ways to repurpose funds within a department, or perhaps collect those funds and target them towards a future greenhouse gas mitigation or adaptation project. So looking at ideas such as revolving funds, which has primarily been set up at the community scale, but even setting up something internally as well, and you can allow departments to share in those savings.
On the community side of things, ____ has been pretty effective to develop some type of carbon-neutral label or some other type of certification that will acknowledge a business or a home's contribution to the larger community's climate action plan and the goals that they've set for themselves. It's really something that should be visible, and where appropriate, can help attract business, sales, participation in an organization â€" something that can be a market differentiator for them. Of course, free press, award ceremonies, all the usual can't hurt either.
So in summary, just to rework through all the six steps â€" developing an emissions-based ____ inventory, establishing an emissions reduction target, adopting the climate action plan, implementing the plan, and then monitoring and reporting and revising where needed, and then, finally, recognizing achievement should be happening throughout all of those. My parting message would certainly be to celebrate the milestones and learn from mistakes, but don't dwell on them. You're going to hit some road bumps, but if you learn from your peers and get starting on new things, you're going to learn as you go.
And to help you get started, I just provided a few links here. The Technical Assistance Program website, which Courtney mentioned at the beginning. EPA has a really great toolkit they've put together for your state and local climate energy program, including some information on general rules of thumb for energy management in buildings. There's ____ portfolio manager that I mentioned, if you want to benchmark your building's energy use relative to similar building types. The Center for Climate Strategies is mostly focused at the state level but they have some really great resources as well. ICLEI's Climate Change Program â€" I know I've referenced ICLEI quite a bit and they even have put together a climate action plan template, working with local government in California â€" I believe it was Alameda County. And then at the state level in California they have a CoolCalifornia.org local government climate action toolkit as well, that last link. I encourage you to check them out.
And just a brief pitch for upcoming webinars. This Wednesday we have one on procuring and implementing solar projects on public buildings. A week from Thursday, on December 16, there is one on performance contracting, pricing, and financing. I encourage you to participate in those, and I am happy to address any questions you might have.
Courtney: Great, Jennifer. We have a few questions right now in the box. The first one is from Gregory Adolfson, and he asks, "Are there any rural examples of CAP?"
Jennifer Clymer: I'm sure that there are. I don't know of any off the top of my head, but perhaps we could go back and look through some of the EECBG and SEP project applications and look for some rural specific examples, and maybe provide those after the presentation today.
Courtney: Okay. Great. The next question is from Karen Skocall and this one is sort of related. She asks, "Can you provide a list of the CAPs from small cities that could be used as examples, or is there a list somewhere that people could access?"
Jennifer Clymer: You know, I'm not sure. I've never seem them categorized by the type of local governments. Let's scroll back here to some of these resources. The ICLEI website provides quite a few examples. And the last one, the CoolCalifornia.org website, there's a file located on there that one of the California state agencies put together, that basically provides links to every climate action plan that they are aware of, that have already been developed and are publicly available online. I'll see if I can pull out that specific link and maybe we can include that when we send the slides out.
Courtney: Okay. Great. Our next question is from Allison Hathcroft and she asks, "Can you review possible funding sources for municipal GHG inventories and climate action plan?" And a follow-up question is, "How can consultants who have the capacity to provide those services to municipalities connect with those funding sources and those municipalities who need assistance with GHG inventories and climate action plans?"
Jennifer Clymer: I think that might be a good question possibly for DOE to take on. I know a lot of the intent of the EECBG and SEP funding, part of it was to go to policy and programmatic development, so that could include things like climate action plans, ____ that is an eligible activity under some of the grants that have been administered under ____. In terms of additional resources, it really varies by where you're located, if there are things available at the state level or sometimes at the regional level. I would encourage you to go to some of these resources. You can always go to the Technical Assistance Program Solution Center with DOE, but also the next link, the EPA State and Local Climate Energy Program. They have some information on financing ideas as well and financing resources. I would encourage you to check those out.
Courtney: Okay. Great. The next one is Dale Hoffman, and this is, I guess, more of a clarification he's looking for. He wrote that he understands that there's a difference concerning refrigerants being ozone-depleting versus greenhouse gasses. Can you clarify that?
Jennifer Clymer: Yeah. That's actually a tricky one. Essentially they're both. The global community started to phase out ozone-depleting substances that were causing the hole in the ozone layer. They started phasing those out under the Montreal Protocol. So when the Kyoto Protocol was developed and they started identifying, what are the key greenhouse gases that we want to target for reduction, they chose to leave out the greenhouse gases that were already being addressed under the Montreal Protocol. So essentially ozone-depleting substances and greenhouse gases, they overlap; ozone-depleting substances are greenhouse gases.
When we started phasing out the ozone-depleting substances that were regulated under the Montreal Protocol and then under the Clean Air Act here in the United States, we are industrial and inventive and we created new, man-made replacements, which are also greenhouse gases. The hexafluorocarbons and the perfluorocarbons that I mentioned are also refrigerants, they are replacements for ozone-depleting substances, so basically some of the Freon that's being phased out has been replaced by new refrigerant blends that aren't yet regulated in the United States. So they're both greenhouse gases.
There is some information online. You may have to Google it or perhaps I could provide this after the presentation as well, that kind of shows the relative climate change contribution of different refrigerant blends. They all have different global warming potentials, where the global warming potential is a numeric value that equates a specific greenhouse gas or a refrigerant blend's ability to trap heat in the atmosphere relative to carbon dioxide. So carbon dioxide has a global warming potential of 1, whereas methane has a global warming potential of like 21 times that of carbon dioxide, and these refrigerants have more like 1,700 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, or 3,400 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, so they're very potent. That's what they mean by ____ potent. I'll see if maybe I can provide some information on that also, afterwards.
Courtney: Okay. Great. The next question is from Anthony Rivales, and he asks, "If public works trucks are fueled by biodiesel, petrodiesel ____ fuel, that should reduce emission by the same amount. Is that correct and can that be accounted for?"
Jennifer Clymer: I might need a little clarification there, but if you're suggesting that some city government vehicles are using biodiesel, such as B-20 which is a blend of 20 percent bio-based material and 80 percent petroleum-based diesel, a lot of those protocols that I mentioned â€" ICLEI and the Climate Registry and others that have put together the methodology for measuring emissions â€" a lot of them allow you to report the bio-based emissions separately, meaning that you report the man-made greenhouse gases separately from the bio-based or natural greenhouse gas emissions.
In that sense, you still have to report them if you're doing the third-party reporting via the Climate Registry or ICLEI or something like that, but they count differently. This, again, is a really tricky area, about how you deal with biomass, because it does contribute carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions, but it's part of the natural carbon cycle. In that sense, it's not what's called a "climate-forcing greenhouse gas," meaning it's not a man-made source that's pushing the greenhouse gas levels beyond what they would be at in part of the natural cycle. Some protocols let you not count them at all towards your inventory and some require you to report them but state that they're biomass-based emission sources, so it varies. And then, you can always make up your own policy about whether you want to include them in your emissions inventory or not.
Like in the city of Austin, when we developed the greenhouse gas emissions inventory for just the local government operations, we used B-20 biodiesel in some of the city vehicles, and we didn't count the 20 percent that came from the biomass material; we didn't count that in our emissions profile. So you have some local control in deciding that as well.
Courtney: Okay. Our next question is from Joel Harris, and he asks, "What is the best way to frame a CAP in an economically challenged community?"
Jennifer Clymer: Yeah, I would absolutely frame it as a money-saving measure. You know, it's that whole issue of looking at the life cycle impacts of the goods and services that we purchase. A lot of times putting the emissions reporting systems in place, and implementing energy-efficiency measures, and installing some of those GPS systems on your vehicle fleet â€" those are all going to hit your capital budget so you're going to have to find an up-front funding source for those. But if you look at the full lifecycle cost of ownership, then you're going to see that you're actually going to come out ahead, in terms of you're going to have net savings. I think a lot of the education has to come on the front end of not only educating the community but also educating the policy-makers as well and city management, or local government management, about making the linkages between your capital and your O&M budget.
This is something I've seen numerous local governments struggle with, the fact that they are isolated and operate independently of each other, such that any O&M savings go back into a general fund and don't get taken into consideration when determining CIT budgets, or something like that. Yeah, you have to do some education up front and be creative about how you approach financing, but I would pitch it ultimately as a cost-saving measure and a cost-saving strategy, and as much as you can document those savings, the better.
Courtney: Okay. Great. Our next question is, "Is there a way to incorporate carbon sequestration into a GHG inventory? For example, if the government has records of number of trees planted on public property, can that be counted?"
Jennifer Clymer: Again, this is something that's going to vary, whether you're using one of the third-party reporting protocols â€" the Climate Registry or ICLEI. They are strictly for emissions, meaning greenhouse gases that are going out of the system, and not for syncs, meaning greenhouse gases that are being restored by trees and other carbon syncs. They provide space and an opportunity for you to report any syncs, any storage of carbon, but they don't calculate it in your official inventory that goes into your â€" you know, for the Climate Registry, the North American inventory of all the different local governments and businesses and states, and whoever else.
It could be any entity reporting their emissions. So, it doesn't formally count but there's an opportunity to voluntarily report that information. And again, if you were to decide your own strategy and your own reporting methodology for you, you can always choose to incorporate that. So when I referenced the fact that the City of Austin had a goal to be carbon neutral by 2020 and to do that they would have to reduce their emissions by 50 percent every single year, and that based on what they've been able to do the past couple of years isn't necessarily achievable without the use of carbon offsets â€" well, that's kind of what I mean.
Unless they're able to count maybe some tree-planting programs, or some members of the community voluntarily reducing their emissions to kind of balance out the emissions being released into the atmosphere, that they may not hit that symbolic target, so to speak. You can choose to count it, but there aren't, to my knowledge, I don't know of any formal guidance documents that let you use it to offset your emissions.
Courtney: Okay. Great. Our final question is, "What is your opinion on life cycle emissions. And again, for example, if an agency installs energy-efficient lighting, should they consider the emissions generated in the manufacture of that equipment, especially if the equipment being replaced still has several years left in its life?"
Jennifer Clymer: I think it's an ideal. I think it would be absolutely wonderful if we were able to capture all of the emissions benefits and disbenefits of everything that we've purchased. But the reality of it is that it's very difficult to do and it's not really well done at this point. It can be very well done on an individual case-by-case basis, but it hasn't been standardized enough to this point to make it widespread on a large scale. I think that you have just have to take a phased-in approach and do what you can for now, and constantly monitor the evolving understanding of life cycle greenhouse gas impacts and start to incorporate that and include that where you can.
I think another area where that comes up a lot in debate is in the biofuels arena. Does the production of ethanol and biodiesel actually take more energy and therefore are more emissions intensive than more conventional, fossil-based fuels? The science is still evolving. You can present the information any way you want to, but until that's standardized and accepted across the board, I think you just have to take the steps that you can and acknowledge that there is going to be some benefit for it, so go ahead. In the case of Austin again â€" I'm sorry, that's where most of my experience at the local level is from â€" they went forward with bio-based fuels and they've left their options open that if they have a better understanding of their impact in the future that they can always modify that. So I don't think you should let the lack of available information on life cycle impact stop you from taking any action at all. You want to keep the momentum going.
Courtney: Okay. Great. Well, Jennifer, that's all the questions we have typed in right now. I think that concludes the webinar today, and I want to thank you very much for presenting. I want to let everyone know that the materials for this webinar will be posted on the DOE Solution Center within three to five business days following the webinar, so you'll be able to get the slides and the recording for the webinar.
Jennifer Clymer: Thank you.
Courtney: Alright. Well, thank you everyone. Goodbye.