Sustainability Target Two
Target: By 2020, reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions by 20% below 2005 levels. By 2050, reduce emissions by 80% below 2005 levelss
Achieving a short-term greenhouse gas reduction target will require leadership and collective action on behalf of residents, businesses, and leaders. In the past, prosperity was linked to lifestyles and a built environment that were energy-intensive. One of the consequences of these growth patterns has been climate change, resulting in rising air temperatures and sea levels. Climate change is warming water temperatures in the Chesapeake Bay and is threatening our environment. In order to reduce our energy consumption responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, a new path to growth is needed. Achieving this target will require greater use of renewable energies, aggressive strategies to green our built environment, and a shift in transportation priorities, focusing on accessible, walk-bike communities around transit.
The long-term target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is an ambitious target and reinforces a regional climate change policy commitment established by the COG Board of Directors in 2008. Strategies to meet this target will include energy conservation; adopting and scaling new technologies that produce renewable energy and rely less on oil and coal; retrofitting and designing new efficient green buildings; concentrating new development in Regional Activity Centers; and relying more on modes of transportation such as walking, biking, and transit. All the strategies that help to reduce our region’s carbon footprint will require broader education efforts to understand our interconnected ecosystem and be implemented with the help of individuals, businesses, and government incentives and regulations.