Pierce County gets updated greenhouse gas emissions numbers

Pierce County’s participation in the Puget Sound Regional Emissions Analysis has provided the county with updated geographic greenhouse emissions data for the baseline measurement year of 2015 and new data for 2019.

The numbers help to gauge the county’s progress toward the Sustainability 2030 Plan goal of reducing emissions by 45 percent.

Total GHG emissions increased by 16 percent overall and by 9 percent per person between 2015 and 2019. In 2019, Pierce County’s residents, businesses, employees, and visitors produced 10.8 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent.

The largest GHG emissions sources are tree loss, on-road transportation and electricity and natural gas used in buildings. Though emissions increased between the two project years, the analysis found that federal, state and regional programs and policies are projected to significantly reduce County emissions in future years.

Pierce County’s Sustainability 2030 Plan consists of strategies to be implemented in partnership with industry, organizations, businesses and community members, and outlines the path to reaching the 45 percent emissions reduction goal. In combination with feedback from community engagement, results from the inventory will help Pierce County update the Sustainability 2030 Plan in 2023 to take bolder action in reducing GHG emissions in the face of climate change.

“Understanding our emissions trends only strengthens our commitment to building a cleaner, healthier, more equitable Pierce County. We look forward to updating the County’s Sustainability 2030 Plan next year and prioritizing the greatest opportunities to reduce emissions throughout our community,” Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier said.

Future GHG emission inventories will show the impact of the changes that resulted from the pandemic, as well as new strategic initiatives such as the 2030 Sustainability Plan, passed in 2021. In addition to dozens of actions within the plan, Pierce County has several programs in place and on the horizon to help bridge the gap between emission goals and current trends:

• Built environment: Launching of the C-PACER program, an innovative financing mechanism to help commercial, industrial, agricultural, and multi-family buildings become more efficient and resilient; expanding tree giveaway and planting programs with a focus on equity; upgrading all eligible streetlights to LEDs.

• Transportation: Assessing County facilities for the installation of EV chargers; utilizing biodiesel in eligible county vehicles and equipment; helping employers and community members reduce drive-alone trips through the Pierce Trips program; passing EV readiness legislation; providing free transit to youth (Pierce Transit); planning projects that reduce vehicle miles traveled.

• Land use: Integrating climate resiliency, adaption and 45% GHG reduction into the Pierce County Comprehensive Plan update process; develop a countywide Conservation Plan; integrating carbon sequestration benefits into the Conservation Futures program.

To learn more about the Sustainability 2030 Plan and read the full geographic GHG emissions inventory report, visit piercecountywa.gov/2058/Sustainability-2030.


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