The recent two-year Climate Action Plan progress report shows that total local carbon emissions continue to decline. BPS and Multnomah County Office of Sustainability presented the report to City Council in April. The guiding document for the City and County’s response to climate change, the Climate Action Plan is a three-year plan to put Portland on a path to achieve a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, and an 80 percent reduction by 2050.
By the end of 2010, total emissions were 6 percent below 1990 levels, while national carbon emissions are up almost 12 percent over the same period. On a per person basis, Multnomah County carbon emissions have dropped 26 percent since 1990. (Local population has increased more than 25 percent in this same period.)
"We’re making solid progress on our ambitious Climate Action Plan goals, in part because we’re creating a more connected city. Portlanders now have more low-carbon options to get to school and to work, more efficient ways to heat and power their homes and new ways to deal with household waste," said Sam Adams, mayor of Portland, Oregon. "I’m excited to see this progress continue as we implement the Portland Plan."
The report provides status updates on all of the actions called for in the Climate Action Plan. Highlights include:
- Portland homes use 10 percent less energy per person compared to 1990, and a larger percentage of the energy that is used comes from clean energy sources like wind and solar.
- Since 2009, more than 1,200 homes have been weatherized through Clean Energy Works Oregon and more than 1,400 homes and businesses have installed solar panels.
- As of the end of 2011, total installed solar energy capacity in Multnomah County exceeded 14 Megawatts. If all those solar modules were arranged together, they would cover more than 24 football fields.
- Nearly 150,000 households can now compost food scraps at the curb.
- During the first five months of the city’s new curbside composting program, almost 40,000 tons of yard debris and food scraps were kept out of the landfill where rotting food waste creates methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Imagine compost-carrying trailers (laid end-to-end without the trucks pulling them) that would stretch for more than 9 miles.
- Despite a 26 percent increase in population, fewer gallons of gasoline were sold in Multnomah County in 2010 than in 1990.
- This reduction is due in part to developments that make it easier for people to walk, bike, or take transit. For example, the City built nearly ten miles of Neighborhood Greenways in 2011, providing Portlanders with safer places to walk and bicycle.
- Since 2009, the number of bicyclists has increased by 14 percent.
- Oregon’s architecture, engineering, and construction firms continue to design and build the world’s greenest buildings. Portland is home to nearly 150 certified green buildings, and has more LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certified buildings than any other city in the U.S.
- In the past year, 2.3 acres of ecoroofs were constructed in Portland for a total of 7.3 acres (177 ecoroofs) since 2009.
- Portlanders have rolled up their sleeves to make a difference on climate change.
- Over 7,000 trees were planted in Portland in 2011 through a variety of programs including partnerships with Friends of Trees and the Youth Conservation Crew.
- Over the past year, thousands of Portlanders attended City of Portland Fix-It Fairs where over 60 government and community organizations provided information, demonstrations and classes on weatherization, cutting energy bills, vegetable gardening, composting, tree-care and all season cycling.
- Over 500 organizations and individuals have signed on to support the Multnomah Food Action Plan to promote the local food system.
"No single action, nor single entity—public, private, non-profit, or individual—is responsible for these accomplishments,” added Susan Anderson, director, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. "Instead, they are the result of many thousands of people, businesses and organizations taking action every day—at home, at work, and at play."
The Year Two Progress Report and the complete Climate Action Plan are available at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/49989
Visit http://www.portlandonline.com/portlandcan/ for more information about actions Portlanders can take to reduce personal carbon emissions every day.