Despite 26 years of climate planning and mitigation, local carbon emission reductions in Multnomah County have plateaued at around 15% below 1990 levels. This is a success story and a warning. The reductions to date are impressive given population growth since 1990, 38% more people and 34% more jobs. Collectively we have reduced per-person emissions in Portland by 38% since 1990, although it is clear reduction efforts need to rapidly accelerate.
The United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a special report in October 2018 which projected that limiting warming to the 1.5°C target will require an unprecedented transformation of every sector of the global economy to achieve a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. To achieve this, Portland must reduce our local emissions by 35% in the next 11 years, a daunting task.
New carbon emissions inventory reports on trends from 1990 to 2017
Today, carbon emissions from Multnomah County total 7,700,000 Metric Tons CO2e, which is a 15% reduction from 1990 levels. This decline reflects the continued growth of renewable energy resources like wind and solar in the Pacific Northwest, investments in transit and bike infrastructure, dense and walkable neighborhoods, renewable transportation fuels, as well as the transition from fuel oil to natural gas for heating. This means that a person living in Portland today produces 38% fewer carbon emissions than they would have in 1990.
Check your own emissions
Households and businesses can assess their own carbon emissions by using free online tools, like the Cool Climate Network’s calculators:
- Households - https://coolclimate.berkeley.edu/calculator
- Businesses - https://coolclimate.berkeley.edu/business-calculator