How will our community achieve carbon neutrality?
We want to hear from you!
The aggressive goal of carbon neutrality means that our community will need to mobilize quickly to transform our activities and systems. Please complete this 10-15 minute survey to make sure that your voice is heard!
On June 23, 2020, the Flagstaff City Council declared a Climate Emergency. The Declaration commits Flagstaff to updating its Climate Action and Adaptation Plan to achieve community-wide carbon neutrality by the year 2030.
Learn more about the emergency declaration, including the citizen petition and the actions the declaration calls for, on the climate emergency web page.
To mobilize resources to respond to this emergency, the City will revise the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan to reflect the new goal of carbon neutrality, while supporting a collaborative climate action mobilization that requires full community participation.
Why carbon neutrality?
Cities play a unique role in addressing climate change. Over 80% of Americans live in urban areas, as does over half of the world’s population. As a consequence, the design of cities, from their built environment to their transportation systems, has a profound influence on how energy is used, and thus, also on global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Municipal and regional actors, from city planners to business and community groups, as well as the market forces they can influence, will determine whether the form of urban areas will be car-intensive or transit-oriented, how buildings will be built and maintained, and, often, where electricity and heat will be sourced. It is critical that cities demonstrate how they can dramatically reduce their GHG emissions, while creating more vibrant and prosperous places to live and do business.
What is carbon neutrality?
Carbon neutrality means reducing our net greenhouse gas emissions to zero. Here, we use 'carbon' to refer to carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e). Greenhouse gas emissions are how the Flagstaff community contributes to climate change, through the use of fossil fuels and the consumption of goods.
Carbon neutrality envisions a community that first reduces the emissions produced by the community to every extent possible. After maximizing reductions, it is likely that there will still be emissions that could not be avoided (Emissions Remaining). To account for the Emissions Remaining, the community would then take action to remove emissions from the atmosphere (Emissions Removed).
When the Emissions Removed = Emissions Remaining, it can be said that the net greenhouse gas emissions of the community are zero, that carbon neutrality has been achieved and that our impact on the climate is neutral.
How do we get to carbon neutrality?
The path to carbon neutrality can be visualized by sector (see image below) and organized by strategic ‘bundles’ that describe what needs to happen broadly, regardless of sector. We’ve identified 7 bundles that describe what needs to happen to achieve carbon neutrality.
Bundle 1: Cleaner Electricity
Bundle 2: Reduced Building Energy Demand
Bundle 3: Building Fuel Switching
Bundle 4: Reduced Vehicle Miles Traveled
Bundle 5: Low-emission/Zero-emission Vehicles
Bundle 6: Reduced Waste
Bundle 7: Carbon Sequestration
These bundles broadly describe what needs to happen to achieve carbon neutrality. How we achieve these 7 bundles is the conversation we are having with the community now - please complete the survey to make sure your voice is heard.
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