The city of Moscow has drafted a climate action plan to completely reduce carbon emissions among residents by 2050.
City staff have sought to tackle the issue of climate change regarding municipal buildings, parks and lands for years, but will need public buy-in to achieve more meaningful change.
A final draft of the climate action plan is now being prepared for adoption, according to Kelli Cooper, environmental education and sustainability specialist at the city. Public comment for the plan opened in February.
“It needs community adoption,” Cooper said during a presentation at the latest League of Women Voters of Moscow speaker series Wednesday. “It’s also important for the city to set an example.”
With the help of a University of Idaho student, the city completed an inventory to determine where emissions are coming from. They found most of the emissions to be concentrated in residential housing, commercial use and transportation.
To reduce carbon emissions from those sectors, the plan includes decarbonizing the grid, increasing participation in energy efficiency programs, advocating for all-electric building and the development of a community solar program.
While the city hopes to bring its operations to net-zero by 2035, the community-wide goal is to be net-zero by 2050 with an interim goal set at 2030.
“We wanted to see what the community could do as a whole because in reality we have a very small chunk of the overall emissions coming from city operations,” Cooper said. “The vast majority of our emissions come from the grid. They come from our electrical use.”
Residential use accounts for 37% of emissions, commercial use accounts for 34% and transportation use accounts for 21%.
During the presentation, she reviewed the climate change impact assessment released last December by researchers at the University of Idaho, Boise State University and Idaho State University.
The assessment, which sought to connect the latest scientific data with economic risks and opportunities, revealed the Gem State can expect more intense heat waves, longer fire seasons, increased drought and reduced snowpack as a result of climate change.
Cooper says Moscow’s climate action plan is about meeting those challenges.
“The biggest challenge has really been getting public input,” she said. “Mostly because we need input from a wide range of people that might not otherwise engage with the city.”
Several Earth Day celebrations will take place on the Palouse later this month. On April 22, the city is hosting a cleanup day at Friendship Square starting at 9:30 a.m. Later that evening, Inland North Waste is throwing a party from 3-6 p.m. at East City Park with live music, food and activities.
An Earth Day march planned for April 23 will begin at East City Park and travel downtown to Friendship Square.
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