As the issue of climate change moved into the forefront of global concerns, Phoenix has demonstrated its leadership by focusing resources on this important issue. Phoenix is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to help ensure a sustainable future. Many of the programs included in this Sustainability Summary address reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through resource conservation, recycling, pollution prevention, green buildings, land use and planning, and innovative technologies. The city is developing a Climate Action Plan to further reduce emissions from city operations.
Climate Action Plan
In January 2008, the city began a comprehensive effort to develop a Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from city operations. The first step is to conduct a GHG emissions inventory to determine the current emissions and future growth. The emissions inventory that GHG emissions from city operations were approximately 617,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2005 including 61percent energy use, 25 percent vehicles, and 14 percent landfill and wastewater treatment gases. In December 2008, the City Council approved a resolution adopting a goal to reduce GHG emissions from city operations to 5 percent below the 2005 levels by 2015.
The city continues to finalize the emissions inventory report and is developing a Climate Action Plan that will help the city meet that goal. Many of the existing city programs outlined in this Sustainability Summary will be the initial basis for the plan. The project is expected to be completed in July 2009.
U.S. Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement
In June 2007, Mayor Phil Gordon joined other mayors in signing the U.S. Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement. Under the Agreement, Mayor Gordon committed to conduct a GHG inventory, reduce Phoenix GHG emissions, and serve as a model environmental steward for other local governments.
Cities for Climate Protection
In June 2007, the city of Phoenix joined ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability Cities for Climate Protection Campaign. The campaign helps cities identify measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Over 800 local governments worldwide have joined the campaign. As part of this campaign, cities calculate their GHG emissions, establish targets, implement programs to lower emissions, and report their performance. The campaign provides technical assistance, conferences and other networking opportunities for local governments to share successes and challenges.
Center for Clean Air Policy: Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative
In December 2007, Phoenix joined the Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP): Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative. The initiative is designed to serve as a resource for local governments as they deal with adaptation strategies for climate change. CCAP is interested in highlighting specific Phoenix programs including the Downtown Urban Form Project, Urban Heat Island Task Force, and Water Resources Management.
Arizona Governor's Climate Change Advisory Group
The city of Phoenix served as the municipal government representative on the 2006 Arizona Governor's Climate Change Advisory Group (advisory group) which developed 49 recommendations on greenhouse gas emission reductions for the State. The city also assisted on several subcommittees, which conducted extensive reviews of transportation and land use issues.
In September 2006, the Arizona Governor released the final report of the advisory group and an Executive Order that established a statewide goal to reduce Arizona's future greenhouse gas emissions to the 2000 emissions level by the year 2020, and to 50 percent below the 2000 level by 2040. The AZ Climate Change Action Plan includes a number of recommendations to improve energy efficiency, increase the use of renewable energy, reduce vehicle emissions, and conduct more effective land use and transportation planning.
Aviation Industry Commitment to Action on Climate Change
At the 2008 Aviation & Environment Summit, the city of Phoenix Aviation Department joined organizations including airlines, airports, aircraft and engine manufactures and air traffic control organizations in signing a declaration on climate change action. The declaration demonstrates that the aviation industry is committed to meeting the climate change challenge in a responsible manner through sustainable growth.
In March 2008, the city of Phoenix participated with cities around the world to raise awareness on climate change by voluntarily turning off nonessential lights for one hour. Phoenix was one of four U.S. cities selected by the World Wildlife Fund, the project sponsor, to be featured during Earth Hour 2008. Phoenix encouraged employees, residents and businesses to participate. The local utilities, APS and SRP were active participants in the event and estimated that the valley community saved enough energy to power 12,515 valley homes for one hour.
National Conversation on Climate Action
In October 2008, Phoenix partnered with the Arizona Science Center to participate in the National Conversation on Climate Action (NCCA) sponsored by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, and the Association of Science Technology Centers. The NCCA was designed to build local awareness of climate change. The event included a community brown bag hosted by the city of Phoenix featuring Dr. Gregg Garfin, program manager for Climate Assessment for the Southwest at the University of Arizona. In addition, the Arizona Science Center coordinated the "Time to DECIDE Game" about climate change issues facilitated by Dr. Garfin.