Greenhouse gas panel seeks action plan

Posted: Friday, January 28, 2011

The new Greenhouse Gas Subcommittee has begun its long trek toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Juneau. Step one is to build a climate action plan to set out actions different entities within the community can take to achieve this.

“Lot of communities over the past years have been doing this kind of work,” said Zoe Morrison, a planner with Sheinberg Associates who is helping construct the action plan. She said the action plan will outline ways in which emissions savings will also help reduce consumer costs plus help the panel focus its climate change actions.

A climate action plan will gather information and allow emission reduction targets to be set for the next five or 10 years, or beyond.

Such a plan usually includes background information on current community emissions. Morrison said the last results for such information were completed in 2007, so the subcommittee will be working on updating that inventory.

“Then we’ll be recommending actions that CBJ can take with infrastructure and utilities,” Morrison said, adding actions will also be recommended that the water community and private residents can use in land use, transportation and residential buildings.

The subcommittee decided to proceed with drafting an online survey, working on the emissions inventory and interviewing stakeholders for those involved in climate action or have special interests in this area.

All of these results will go toward a draft plan.

The survey will gather information on various emissions standards. It will be distributed through e-mail and be available on the Commission on Sustainability website. This was decided to be the first tool, as the subcommittee agreed public involvement is instrumental.

The subcommittee will meet regularly plus will hold two public meetings, the first being in April, to present a draft of the plan. The second one will be in the fall.

Morrison expects it will take a year to reach a final plan.

The City and Borough of Juneau adopted a resolution in 2009 that endorsed greenhouse gas reduction goals of 1 percent for the municipality and 20 percent for the entire community by 2012. That resolution also endorses preparation for a climate action plan such as this.

“This update will show us how we’re doing before next real serious inventory,” Morrison said.

Gayle Wood, subcommittee chair and director of consumer affairs at Alaska Electric Light and Power Co., added that those earlier projections for 2012 took into account the Greens Creek Mine functioning on hydroelectric power rather than diesel.

Wood said this subcommittee has been in the works since before the Juneau Commission on Sustainability was formed and before Juneau was part of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives.

“They have been thinking about climate change for a while now and this is the next step,” Wood said.

Sheinberg Associates is a subcontractor on the project to Skilbred Consulting.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.



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