Purpose, Scope, and Process

Purpose

By creating a clear course of action so that everyone can have a role in creating and achieving climate and sustainability goals, our Climate Action Plan drives and coordinates local efforts toward a reduction in GHG emissions by 20 percent below 2009 levels by 2020 and 40 percent below 2009 levels by 2030.

The Climate Action Plan is a framework for the development and implementation of actions that reduce City of Atlanta’s GHG emissions. The Plan provides guiding objectives and strategies to realize City of Atlanta’s GHG reduction goal.

Scope

This Plan covers objectives and strategies for GHG emissions resulting from local government and community-wide activities within the City of Atlanta. It addresses the major sources of emissions in the City of Atlanta, and sets objectives and strategies in four goals that both the City of Atlanta and community can implement together to achieve greenhouse gas reductions:

  • Reduce energy consumption in commercial buildings 20% by 2020 and 40% by 2030
  • Reduce energy consumption in residential buildings 20% by 2020 and 40% by 2030
  • Reduce GHG emissions produced by transportation 20% by 2020 and 40% by 2030
  • Increase waste diversion rate to landfills up to 80% by 2020

The plan also creates a framework for documenting, coordinating, measuring, and adapting efforts moving forward.

Process

Beginning in 2010, the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Sustainability organized several sessions with city stakeholders that included the participation of more than 300 individuals representing neighborhoods, schools, business, community organizations, and government agencies.

During the programmed sessions, stakeholders prioritized the 10 impact areas and their respective mediation goals using a sustainability matrix. The 10 impact areas are compiled in the Power to Change initiative, which is summarized in the following page. The impact areas are the following:

  • Transportation and Mobility
  • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
  • Air quality
  • Materials Management and Recycling
  • Water Management
  • Land Use
  • Community Health and Vitality
  • Education
  • Sustainability Planning, and
  • Growing Business

Once the 10 impact areas and mediation goals were prioritized, the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Sustainability convened several additional sessions with stakeholder groups and experts to validate the 10 impact areas and discuss possible metrics required for each of the areas.

Some of the identified impact areas such as Transportation and Mobility, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Air Quality, Material Management, and Land Use, have a direct effect on GHG emissions. While the City of Atlanta has already begun to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a variety of actions identified in Power to Change Impact Areas, this Climate Action Plan is a critical component of a comprehensive approach to reducing City of Atlanta’s emissions. This method, developed by the International Council of Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) , is called the Five Milestones for Climate Mitigation. The milestones are:

Milestone One: Conduct a baseline emissions inventory and forecast

Milestone Two: Adopt an emissions reduction target for the forecast year

Milestone Three: Develop a local climate action plan

Milestone Four: Implement the climate action plan

Milestone Five: Monitor progress and report results

The following diagram shows the correlation between the Power to Change initiatives and ICLEI milestones for climate mitigation:

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Power to Change Impact Areas

Click on the diagram to enlarge

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