The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, the average global temperature must not rise more than 3.5°F above pre-industrial levels. In order to avoid that increase, the IPCC recommends that greenhouse gas emissions be reduced to 40% below 2005 levels by 2030 and 80% below 2005 levels by 2050.
As of 2010, greenhouse gas emissions in Travis County were estimated to be 15.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) per year. Approximately 52% of those emissions were created by energy use, 36% from transportation, and 12% from local landfills and manufacturing processes.
On April 10, 2014, Austin City Council passed Resolution 20140410-024, which establishes a new long-term goal of reaching net zero community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, or earlier if feasible. Climate Program staff have begun planning efforts to develop energy, transportation, waste, and industrial sector-based action plans to meet this goal, which will include collaboration with City departments and development of an outreach and public input plan.
This plan will be developed in a way that:
Is open and transparent
Balances the interests of the Austin community
Is realistic within the constraints of currently available information
Provides clear and compelling implementation pathways
Maintains Austin’s position as a climate leader
A Community Climate Steering Committee has convened to lead and guide the development of a plan to achieve net zero community-wide GHG emissions by 2050 (or sooner) in order to reduce the negative economic, health, and environmental impacts from climate change. There are also Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs) for each of the major emissions sectors: Electricity and Natural Gas TAG, Transportation TAG, Waste Management TAG, and Industrial TAG. The members of the TAGs represent various stakeholder groups and will help to develop specific actions for the Steering Committee to consider including in the overall plan.
9/10/14 Update: We now have a SpeakUp Austin discussion forum where the public can provide ideas on the project and help guide the project's recommendations.
2014 Meeting Schedule - Community Climate Steering Committee
The steering committee meetings are open to the public and there will be a few slots available for citizen communication at the beginning of each meeting. This will be on a first-come, first-serve basis and will be limited to three minutes per speaker.
If you cannot make it to a meeting but would like to provide input to the committee, please click here.