Urban Forestry Included in Portland Climate Action Plan

Portland, OR (October 29, 2009)- City Council convened yesterday to adopt the comprehensive Climate Action Plan. City and County staff have revised the draft 2009 Climate Action Plan to address key findings from the public comment process.

The adoption of this plan means that we set in place our community’s ambitious sustainability roadmap to cut our local carbon emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. Mayor Sam Adams said, “As the world mobilizes to fight climate change, Portland is poised to seize a historic opportunity to be at the forefront of a global economic transformation. We have everything to lose by ignoring climate change and everything to gain by pioneering the solutions to it. I’m committed to seeing our community and our businesses lead the way.”
Portland has already reduced emissions by 1 percent over 1990 emissions or 19 percent per capita change while Portland’s population continues to grow. The rest of the country’s green house gas emissions record is significantly worse with emissions increasing by 13 percent.
The Action Plan has created goals for the year 2030 and 2050. There are 10 categories addressed including, Building and Energy, Urban Form and Mobility, Consumption and Solid Waste, Urban Forestry and Natural Systems, Food and Agriculture, Community Engagement, Climate Change Preparations and Local Government Operations.
Buildings are the largest source of green house gas emissions in Multnomah County and accounts for more than 40 percent of the total emissions. Achieving reduction of carbon emissions in this sector is of primary importance by first reducing energy use through conservation measures, improving existing and new buildings energy efficiency and increasing renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar.
Under the Buildings and Energy category the plan states:
1. Reduce the total energy use of all buildings built before 2010 by 25 percent.
2. Achieve zero net green house gas emissions in all new buildings and remodels.
3. Produce 10 percent of the total energy used within Multnomah County from on-site renewable sources and clean district energy systems.
4. Ensure that new buildings and major remodels can adapt to the changing climate.
The data from the report states that Building Energy consumption increased by 1 percent from 1990 to 2008, transportation up by 2 percent and waste disposal down by 93 percent. Our energy use per person in the same time period has also decreased. All of these figures point to hopeful signs that we can and have changed some of our habits. More drastic measures are needed to insure that is halted or dramatic climate events are guaranteed. The Climate Action Plan is one tool and measurement by which we can proceed into a healthy future for our city and region.
Related Resources:
Portland Climate Action Plan
Green Sight
Washington Examiner- Urban Forestry Included in Portland Climate Action Plan