Phoenix emissions fell in 2020, per Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory

Aug 6, 2022, 7:15 AM
A Valley Metro Rail train drives through downtown on March 26, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by ...
A Valley Metro Rail train drives through downtown on March 26, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The 2020 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory showed Phoenix had a 14% decrease in community-wide GHG emissions compared to 2012, the city announced this week.

This is in lieu of the city’s population growing by 12% in that time frame, according to a press release from Phoenix.

The report disclosed that Phoenix’s governmental operations emissions — including street lighting, electricity, water services, fleet fuels, fugitive and process emissions and employee commutes — dropped 25.2% from 2005 levels.

Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University experts attributed the decrease to decreased travel due to COVID-19 and coal-fired power plant closures, according to the release.

“Our investments in energy efficiency, transportation electrification, and renewable energy have demonstrated progress toward Phoenix’s Climate Action Plan goals,” Mayor Kate Gallego said in a statement. “This work is crucial to ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future, and we will continue to deliver results in city operations and across our community.”

Phoenix set a goal to reduce community carbon emissions from buildings, transportation and waste 50% by 2030 to become a carbon neutral city by 2050.

The city has invested $30 million in replacing 100,000 streetlights with LEDs, $25 million for a biogas facility, $30 million in retrofits for buildings to increase energy efficiency and $530 million for transit under the Phoenix Transportation Plan.

Streetlight and traffic light emissions have decreased by 66.8% since 2005 and regional electricity grid intensity fell by 17.3% between 2018-20, according to the report.

“These inventory numbers show the steps Phoenix is taking to cut down on emissions are working. While there is still plenty of work to be done, we are certainly headed in the right direction,” Environmental Programs Administrator Nancy Allen said in a statement. “We’ve been reaching and exceeding emission reduction goals for 15 years, and we don’t plan to stop.”

One area of emission increase came from the city’s vehicle fleet due to increased service miles, according to the release.

The transportation sector was the largest GHG emitter in Phoenix in 2020, representing almost half of the city’s emissions. Gas and diesel use are the main sources.

To combat this, Phoenix adopted the Transportation Electrification Action Plan, which strategizes how to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.

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Phoenix emissions fell in 2020, per Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory