On January 10, the Commissioner Court of Harris County (home to Houston) voted 3-1 to adopt a climate action plan that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions generated by the county government 40% by 2030. The plan includes tangible, near-term goals and concrete actions to achieve them. Lots to like! I’m particularly excited about:
1) the County plans to do a power purchase agreement to buy more renewable energy. As we point out in our report Clean Energy Pathways, this will have a bigger impact for the climate than the Renewable Energy Credit purchases the county currently makes. In addition, the County seeks to add and solar and battery storage at its buildings.
2) electrifying 50-75% of the light duty fleet. this is a bold but totally achievable goal, especially with the new EV tax credits authorized by the Inflation Reduction Act. Electrifying their own fleets is a key recommendation we made to local governments to promote EVs.
3) employee commuting. I love the idea of ebikes or EV sharing!
4) the waste reduction plan. When we think of greenhouse emissions, obvious contributors like oil wells and car exhaust is what most often comes to mind. Less obvious but still important is waste. For example, food waste and yard trimmings, which make up 31.3% of waste sent to landfills, produce methane — a greenhouse gas 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term — as they degrade in dark, low-oxygen conditions. Getting serious about reducing, reusing, and recycling can have a big benefit for our climate.
Note that this is just the plan for county government operations. The county will next be developing a plan to help residents and businesses in the county reduce emissions too.