Portland just released the Year One Progress Report for Portland and Multnomah County's Climate Action Plan. The Climate Action Plan is a three-year plan to put Portland on a path to achieve a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, and an 80 percent reduction by 2050.
The report finds that Portland and Multnomah County have made substantial progress in carrying out the actions identified in the plan. Local emissions have dropped 15 percent since 2000, sharply countering the national trend. Despite rapid population growth, local greenhouse gas emissions in 2009 were two percent below 1990 levels, the baseline year referenced in the Kyoto Protocol. On a per-capita basis, emissions in Multnomah County have fallen by 20 percent since 1990.
Adopted in October 2009, the Climate Action Plan contains over 100 specific actions to be completed by 2012. These actions include efforts ranging from building bicycle infrastructure to collecting food-scraps from homes for composting and from weatherizing homes to planting trees and restoring natural areas. In general, meaningful progress has been made on the majority of the actions in the plan. Just over half the actions are on track for completion; another one-third percent are underway, but face obstacles or are just getting started; four percent of the actions have been completed; and the remaining 10 percent have not yet been initiated.
Highlights outlined in the report include:
- Establishing Clean Energy Works Portland, a program to finance building energy efficiency and create quality jobs. The program improved the efficiency of more than 300 Portland homes in 2009 and also resulted in creating a new non-profit organization, Clean Energy Works Oregon, to expand the program statewide. www.cleanenergyworksportland.org
- Accelerating the number of residential solar installations to nearly 400 systems in 2010, meeting Portland's three-year goal in one year.
- Construction of sidewalks, 15 miles of Neighborhood Greenways, and the east-side streetcar.
- Completing a wide range of energy-efficiency projects in City facilities, and installing several large photovoltaic systems, including the Water Bureau's 267-kilowatt system at the Columbia South Shore Well Field.
- Planting more than 47,000 trees and 64,000 shrubs, and working to restore and revegetate thousands of acres.
- Launching the "Be Resourceful: Get More of the Good Stuff" thoughtful consumption public outreach campaign. www.portlandonline.com/bps/beresourceful
- Starting a pilot of a residential food-scrap collection program with 2,000 households.
- Developing a new public outreach effort called Portland Climate Action Now! to help residents and businesses change their behavior in ways that reduce carbon emissions. www.portlandclimateaction.org
The City and County have made considerable progress in the first year of implementing the Climate Action Plan. Nevertheless, a number of key actions require attention in the coming years.
Major next steps include:
- Completing the Portland Plan, the City's strategic plan to create a prosperous, healthy, opportunity-filled community that thrives while producing less carbon emissions. www.pdxplan.com
- Developing policy options for improving the performance of existing commercial buildings.
- Preparing an assessment of climate-related vulnerabilities, strengths and resiliency of Portland in the face of a changing climate (e.g. food, water and energy supplies, infrastructure, transportation, floodplains, public health, emergency preparedness, etc.).
- Developing the tools needed to analyze and evaluate expected carbon emissions from land use policies, investment decisions and scenarios.