Salem is not immune to the impacts of climate change. Everything from the Willamette Valley produce on our table to the Santiam River water flowing from our taps is susceptible to climate change. Recognizing this, the 2017 Salem Strategic Plan identified a Community Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory as a way to measure the community’s impact on the environment.
This Community GHG Inventory report was prepared using the “Global Protocol for Community Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories” (GPC). The
GPC is an internationally-accepted method for community-scale GHG accounting that covers a range of emissions sources including transportation, waste production, and energy use. The report provides a snapshot of emissions from human activity within and originating from Salem’s city limits and surveys a variety of emissions sources, highlighting areas for further study.
Looking ahead, this inventory will allow Salem to track progress toward any future emissions reduction targets by providing a baseline against which to compare future years of inventory data. Most importantly, this inventory represents the City of Salem’s first step toward understanding the community’s impact on the environment and mitigating its contribution to global climate change.
What’s in the inventory?
The Salem Community GHG Inventory was prepared in accordance with the Global Protocol for Community Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories using the EPA’s Local Greenhouse Gas Inventory Tool. Inventory data was gathered for the 2016 calendar year from federal, state, and local sources, including utilities. The inventory spans six emissions source categories:
- Mobile emissions
- Stationary combustion
- Water and wastewater
- Electricity generation
- Agriculture and urban forestry
- Waste generation.
As a community-scale inventory, it accounts for emissions from Salem’s residents, employees, and visitors undertaken within or originating from its city limits. It does not include GHG emissions related to the consumption of goods within Salem’s city limits that originated elsewhere.
2019 inventory results
In 2016, the City of Salem’s residents, businesses, employees, and visitors produced 1,553,573 Metric Tons of CO2 equivalent (CO2e). This equates to roughly 9.59 Metric Tons of CO2e per capita. Of the six emissions source categories surveyed, mobile emissions made up over half (53 percent) of the CO2e produced. Electricity generation comprised over one quarter of all emissions, while residential and commercial fuel combustion was the third largest contributor at 16 percent.
What happens next?
With the completion of this Community GHG Inventory, we now have a better understanding of emission sources and its environmental impact. This inventory will help set emission reduction goals, track progress toward those goals, and prepare a Climate Action Plan.
We are also in the midst of updating its comprehensive plan,
Our Salem, which will guide future growth and development in the area. This inventory will inform policies about how the City grows, which can have a major impact on community-scale greenhouse gas emissions.