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 14 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) per year. Approximately 55% of those emissions were created by energy use, 35% from transportation, and 10% 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. Office of Sustainability Climate Program staff started planning efforts to develop energy, transportation, waste, and industrial sector-based action plans to meet this goal, which includes collaboration with public experts, City departments, and public input plan.
Climate Program staff first convened a Community Climate Steering Committee 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, Materials Management TAG, and Industrial TAG. The members of the TAGs represent various stakeholder groups and experts in their respective fields, and they are developing specific actions for the Steering Committee to consider including in the overall 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
Past Community Climate Steering Committee Meetings
The steering committee meetings were open to the public and always had a few slots available for citizen communication at the beginning of each meeting.