Focus Areas

The emissions reduction for each of the focus areas within City of Atlanta’s Climate Action Plan is explored in the following pages.


In each focus area, a series of objectives with supporting strategies are explored. An objective is a goal, end result, or target that supports a focus area, and a strategy is a means of realizing the objective.

Each focus area draws on the actions of both the local government and city residents and businesses, although some areas may be largely one or the other.

Government Operations & Community Strategies

Government operations strategies are specific to the internal operations of the City of Atlanta. They apply to buildings the city owns or leases, vehicles used to provide services such as police and fire protection; the maintenance of streets and other infrastructures; recreational activities and cultural events; land use

and building regulations; solid waste collection and disposal; water and wastewater operations; and operates the world’s busiest airport, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Community strategies require involvement and participation from citizens.

Each strategy in the Climate Action Plan is noted as either government strategy for internal operations, or community strategies when participation of the community is necessary.

Emissions Reductions

Calculating expected emissions reductions for each objective requires making assumptions about the degree of implementation, technology, and individual behavioral changes several years into the future. The uncertainty associated with these assumptions makes it difficult to assign exact reduction totals to each objective or strategy. To address this uncertainty and provide a simple but useful reference for reduction potential, a series of symbols and percentage ranges has been devised to represent the emission reductions associated with each objective and its strategies. Other symbols represent the status of each of the strategies.

Symbol Meaning
low-impact GHG Emissions – Small Impact: 0-50,000 mTCO2e
medium-impact GHG Emissions – Medium Impact: 50,000 to

100,000 mTCO2e

high-impact GHG Emissions – Large Impact: > 100,000 Million mTCO2e
early Early Stage
early Moderate Stage
advanced Advanced Stage

Other Benefits of Climate Protection Measures

In addition to addressing climate change, measures taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have other important benefits. The most obvious of these is the potential for significant cost savings. In 2013, the City of Atlanta replaced all of City Hall’s inefficient outdoor lighting with LEDs, reducing annual maintenance costs by $8,000 per year, electricity costs by another $8,000 per year, and abating 36 tons of GHG. Many of the measures in this plan pay for themselves quickly by reducing direct costs, such as fuel or energy used, and also indirect costs, such as maintenance. For instance, a right-sized vehicle fleet is less expensive to purchase, fuel, and maintain.

Another key benefit of climate change mitigation activities is enhanced energy security through reduction in total energy demand. Climate protection measures can also spur business and job growth during the design, manufacture, and installation of energy efficient technologies. Climate change mitigation activities, particularly those related to transportation, help to clean the air by reducing vehicle emissions. Finally, mitigation activities help to engender a greater degree of choice for City of Atlanta residents. For instance, more transit options combined with transit-oriented development practices make for a more vibrant, livable community.

Many of the actions identified here to mitigate GHG emissions will also help City of Atlanta’s government, businesses, and residents to adapt to a changing climate. For example, extreme and prolonged heat waves can put considerable strain on the reliability of energy delivery in peak periods, possibly leading to service disruption during times when cooling is most needed. By increasing efficiency across the City of Atlanta, such service disruptions are less likely and the city will be able to better cope with those situations.

For more information, select the respective Focus Areas from the left menu.

Questions? e-mail Jairo H Garcia, Sustainability Management Analyst at jhgarcia@AtlantaGa.Gov