Mayor Greg Fischer announced today that Louisville is joining cities across the globe by setting a goal of an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
In May 2016, Mayor Fischer signed the Global Covenant of Mayors, an agreement signed by leaders of more than 9,000 cities across the world committing to inventory and develop a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, cities play a major role in these efforts, as 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from cities.
Greenhouse gases get trapped in the atmosphere, which causes warming and leads to climate change. These gases are emitted when we drive, turn on the lights in our homes and buildings, and when waste breaks down in the landfill, among other sources.
The city’s Global Covenant commitment is a three-step process: conducting the inventory, setting a reduction target and creating a strategy to meet that target.
Louisville inventoried its greenhouse gas emissions in 2017, releasing a draft report indicating emissions had been reduced by 16.9 percent between 2010 and 2016. Further review, including additional information regarding Louisville’s energy use, clarified that the actual community-wide decrease in emissions was 10.1 percent.
“Clearly, there is work to be done,” Mayor Fischer said. “But this is about protecting the future of our planet. Many of our city’s largest businesses already have adopted corporate practices and goals that will help us move the needle, and we urge individuals to do their part as well. It will take all of us to achieve this very ambitious goal.”
Cities across the country, such as Cincinnati, Atlanta, Cleveland, Denver and Philadelphia, are also setting a reduction goal of 80 percent, which aligns with the scientific consensus of what is required to avoid the most damaging effects of climate change.
For Louisville, the next step is to develop a strategy on how we as a community will achieve the goal in a way that supports our goals for creating a more resilient, equitable and environmentally just city.
The city has created a survey to gauge public interest and support for potential options, such as planting more trees, conserving energy or using automobiles less.
Copies of the survey will be shared at upcoming community meetings, and an online survey is available at the city’s website, www.louisvilleky.gov, and at Louisville Free Public Library branches.
The next phase of the city’s Global Covenant of Mayors commitment is to begin climate adaptation planning, which will be conducted in alignment with the city’s Louisville Resilience program.
Staff from the Louisville Metro Office of Sustainability will meet with community groups in coming months to gather feedback and further elaborate on next steps. The first of those meetings will be with the Rubbertown Community Advisory Council on Jan. 10 and the 100 Resilient Cities Work Group on Jan. 28. If you would like for staff to attend your neighborhood association, board or city council meeting, please call 574-6285 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on Louisville’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, please visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/sustainability/greenhouse-gas-inventory