Understanding the region’s greenhouse gas emissions sources, and the effect various policy actions may have in reducing them, will help us plan for climate change mitigation. In 2017, TRPC undertook an analysis that resulted in two products:
A set of Energy and Carbon Footprint diagrams for Thurston County, Washington
A Carbon Wedge Analysis — an evaluation of the effect a range of policy actions may have in reducing greenhouse gas emissions
The goal is to better understand the steps needed to meet the greenhouse gas emission goals laid out in the Sustainable Thurston plan, especially as such steps relate to transportation actions.
TRPC contracted with Stockholm Environment Institute and Clean Energy Transition for the analysis.
Meeting our Greenhouse Gas Emission Targets
In 2013, as part of the Sustainable Thurston plan, regional policymakers adopted the following targets for reducing the region’s greenhouse gas emissions:
Achieve 25 percent reduction of 1990 levels by 2020
Achieve 45 percent reduction of 1990 levels by 2035
Achieve 80 percent reduction of 1990 levels by 2050
The Thurston Climate Action Team (TCAT) has developed estimates of countywide greenhouse gas emissions for recent years, and it projected back to estimate levels for 1990. Using these estimates as the base, the consulting team projected out expected emissions to 2050, assuming the following ‘no action – baseline’ conditions:
Slight reduction between 2013 and 2015 based on recent trends.
No change in the fuel mix for electricity generation
Building sector energy usage grows with population
Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) grows with population
No change in vehicle fleet mix
No change in vehicle fuel efficiency
Based on the projections, under ‘no action – baseline’ conditions, the region will fall short of meeting its goals. The Carbon Wedge Analysis provides some pathways toward meeting the emissions-reduction targets.