Choose Your Goals

Set goals for the process.

Is it your goal to produce a Climate Action Plan that, when approved, will have various planks automatically implemented by that vote of acceptance?  Or is it your goal to produce a Climate Action Plan that is a statement of purpose, listing potential action items to be considered and perhaps brought to the assembly later?

Your answer to that question will determine the format of your Climate Action Plan.

Consider reviewing the Carbon Free City Handbook, which explores this process in great detail.

Determine your scope.

Will your plan seek to mitigate all energy usage within your community?  Just that energy used by your community's governance?  Will it include the airport, industry, or tourism?  Will it include electricity, transportation, or building heat? 

Set goals for mitigation.

Perhaps the simplest way to set a goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is to define it as "doing our part" to honor the Paris Climate Agreement.  That means reducing our emissions to keep global warming well below 2.0 degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial times, and to pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees C.

Consider setting a goal to do your part to limit warming to 1.5, 1.75, or 2.0 degrees C.

To help you choose this goal, spend some time scrutinizing the scientific ramifications of various levels of warming.  This interactive page brings the conclusions of 70 scientific studies together in one extremely convenient location to compare the implications of various levels of warming:  1.5 degrees C, 2.0 degrees C, and higher.  We strongly encourage you to become familiar with that page.

As you consider which goal to pursue, consider also how quickly your community will be able to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.  To achieve a 1.5-degree goal requires a 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (relative to 2010 emissions) by the year 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.  Achieving a 2.0-degree goal requires a 25% reduction by 2030 and net zero by 2070.  This is stated in the UN report "Global Warming of 1.5⁰C," page 14, "Emission Pathways and System Transitions Consistent with 1.5C Global Warming."