Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Lot of Miles, a Long Way to Go

My city, Saint Paul, is putting together a plan to become carbon-neutral by 2050. According to today's Star Tribune front-page story, that would be the equivalent of installing 985 wind turbines. (I would like to live in a city with 985 wind turbines.)

The first part of the challenge is knowing how much carbon we generate currently. The city's analysis does not include emissions from power plants (not sure whether they mean power plants within the city, or emissions from power plants in other places that supply St. Paul). But without that, here's what the carbon footprint of the almost 300,000 residents of Saint Paul looked like in 2015:

  • 3.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in the year
  • Transportation accounted for 37 percent of that
  • Commercial businesses, 35 percent
  • Residential properties, 17 percent
  • Other sources, 11 percent
  • People drive 5.5 million miles a day within the city
The city will be holding a series of meetings to get community input for its Climate Action Plan. The first meeting is on Monday, 6:00 p.m., at the Wilder Center, 451 Lexington Avenue North.

This meeting will focus on buildings, by which I think they mean commercial buildings but possibly residential as well. The Science Museum of Minnesota is held out as an exemplar for commercial buildings because it captures and reuses heat emissions. It's also powered by downtown Saint Paul's District Energy system.

Future meetings will focus on transportation, waste, natural resources, and climate change effects on health. I'll definitely attend at least a couple of those!

This is the page on the city's website for updates and notices of future meetings.

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