Phoenix adopts roadmap to cut emissions, reach net-zero goal by 2050

Oct 16, 2021, 6:15 AM
(Facebook photo/City of Phoenix, AZ USA)...
(Facebook photo/City of Phoenix, AZ USA)
(Facebook photo/City of Phoenix, AZ USA)

PHOENIX — The city of Phoenix Tuesday approved a climate action plan with the goal of reaching net-zero by 2050 while also reducing 50% of emissions by 2030.

“For Phoenix, our net-zero goal is community-wide, not just for city operations,” Mayor Kate Gallego said in a press release.

“It will take a cross-sector approach, overlaid by a comprehensive plan that includes water conservation and heat mitigation strategies.”

Actions included in the plan are transitioning city operations electrical use to carbon neutral by 2030 through energy reduction and solar projects as well as having all new construction be net-positive in both energy and materials by 2050.

The city also plans to increase support of energy efficiency, renewable energy and electric vehicle charging requirements in building codes to hopefully achieve carbon-neutral buildings throughout the city.

Other actions included in the report are supporting and preparing for 280,000 electric cars in Phoenix by 2030, in addition to expanding bus, light rail and bus rapid transit for carbon-neutral transportation by 2050.

The plan is a continuation of a vision voters supported in the 2015 general plan which sought to make Phoenix the most sustainable desert city on the planet.

“This Climate Action Plan outlines actions necessary to achieve this vision, charting the path to carbon neutrality and zero waste by 2050 or sooner,” Gallego said in the executive summary of the plan. “It is data-driven and uses the bi-annual greenhouse gas emissions inventory conducted in partnership with Arizona State University to establish baseline emission levels and track progress.

“It is designed as a living document, able to continuously respond to the ever-changing and unique needs of our city through regular updates.”

Phoenix has previously invested $600 million for climate actions in recent years, with some of the funding resulting in 100,000 streetlights being replaced with LEDs and the installation of 45 miles of cool pavement – more than any city in the world.

Most of that money is used for Phoenix’s transportation plan to extend bus and paratransit operating hours and increase bus frequency to every 30 minutes or less across the city.

Part of the net-zero by 2050 plan includes 90% of the population living within one-half mile of transit, and a projected 40% of people commuting by walking, biking, transit or car-sharing.

More recently, the city used $2.8 million earmarked in the 2021-2022 budget for climate and heat-related staff, resources and investments to continue the climate action efforts.

Greenhouse gas emissions in Phoenix were down 0.5% in 2018 from the baseline of 2012, according to the most recent inventory, while the population grew 12% in that time.

The city in 2020 became a member of the C40 Cities, a global organization of cities worldwide committed to taking action on climate change, with Gallego serving as a North American vice-chair for the organization, according to the release.

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Phoenix adopts roadmap to cut emissions, reach net-zero goal by 2050