Salem could meet our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2035, according to modeling results presented to the Salem Climate Action Plan Task Force this week.
The Task Force met for the third time on March 3. The focus of the meeting was to see the initial greenhouse gas modeling work undertaken by the City's consultants, Verdis Group.
Three scenarios were presented in the modeling efforts to determine the predicted greenhouse gas reductions in relation to the goals set by City Council. The first goal is that Salem would reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2035, and the second is that Salem would become carbon neutral by 2050. The key takeaway from the presentation was that Salem could meet its 2035 goal of a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gases, assuming an "optimistic" forecast model.
To meet the 50 percent reduction goal, the State of Oregon would need to meet all of its greenhouse gas reduction targets; Salem's energy companies, such as PGE and NW Natural, would need to meet their commitments to renewable energy; and the City and our community and organizational partners would need to execute multiple actions. Such strategies include reducing the use of internal-combustion-powered vehicles, increasing bus ridership, and improving energy efficiency in existing and new buildings, among others.
While the 2035 goal of 50 percent greenhouse gas reduction is possible, the aspirational goal set by Council of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 is more difficult to achieve without taking additional actions and relying on new technological innovations.
The modeling exercise undertaken as part of Climate Action Plan work shows we can move in a positive direction toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This challenging work will align Salem with many cities across the US working to reduce global impacts.
View the Task Force meeting.