City Reports Detail Findings of Greenhouse Gas Inventories

Posted Monday, October 25, 2021.

HUNTINGTON – An Indiana University Resilience Cohort climate fellow working with city staff has completed greenhouse gas inventories for the Huntington community and municipal government, and the City of Huntington has published reports detailing the key findings.

“Now that we have a snapshot of how much we are emitting and where these emissions are coming from, we can take the next step of creating a detailed plan that will allow us to become better stewards of our community and its natural resources,” Huntington Mayor Richard Strick said.

Climate Fellow Hannah Staley, an IU graduate student working as a city intern through the Resilience Cohort program, completed separate inventories for the city government and the community at large. Her work compiled data on emissions produced by industrial, residential and commercial energy consumption; private, public and government transportation sources; water, wastewater and solid waste; government buildings and facilities; and other human activities that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

The baseline year for the inventories is 2019. Data from calendar year 2018 was included for the city-operated landfill to provide a baseline for emissions before its permanent closure in March 2019.

The inventory estimates that Huntington community-wide emissions for 2019 equaled 417,514 metric tons of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Local government activities accounted for about 9.8 percent of this total.

Commercial, industrial and residential energy consumption were the three largest drivers of community-wide emissions in 2019. Visit www.huntington.in.us/ghginventory to read the full report.

  • Commercial Energy, 32 percent.
  • Industrial Energy, 26 percent.
  • Residential Energy, 18 percent.
  • Transportation and Mobile Sources, 14 percent.
  • Solid Waste, 8 percent.
  • Water and Wastewater, 1 percent.
  • Process and Fugitive (Natural Gas Leakage), 1 percent.

The report concluded that Huntington’s six primary opportunities for improved climate resilience, lower energy consumption and reduced emissions include:

  • Energy efficiency at public, private and government buildings and facilities.
  • Installation of renewable energy sources such as solar panels.
  • Increased greenspaces through tree-planting and similar initiatives.
  • Transitioning to an all-electric government vehicle fleet and installing public electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Stormwater efficiency.
  • Public education.

“If Huntington focuses on projects in these six areas of opportunity, the city will not only reduce its emissions but also transform into a climate resilient community with a higher quality of life for its residents,” Staley, the climate fellow, said. “Within these past 10 weeks, I have seen Huntington’s dedication to making the community one of the best places to live in Indiana, and this dedication will lead other small Indiana communities to do the same.”

A greenhouse gas inventory is the first of three steps the Resilience Cohort recommends communities follow. In the second step, a community uses the key findings to set targets and goals in a Climate Action Plan before implementing specific projects and policies to reduce emissions, increase energy efficiency and improve air quality in step three.

The IU Resilience Cohort aims to help communities mitigate the effects of projected regional increases in extreme heat days and demand for cooling, reduced water and air quality, decreased crop productivity, increased heavy rainfall and flooding, delayed fall freezes and shorter winters correlated with greenhouse gas emissions.

Huntington in particular could be most vulnerable to an increase in high heat days and more heavy rainfall events that result in more flooding.

Without a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, high heat days and nights could increase from an average of 24 a year to a range from 66 to 79 annually by 2050, Staley projected. Spring and winter precipitation are projected to increase as much as 20 percent by 2050, with more of it falling during heavy downpours.

A December 2020 IU Environmental Resilience Institute assessment scored Huntington’s preparedness at 5.48 for extreme heat, 5.90 for extreme precipitation and 5.89 for floodplain management, on a scale of 10. Indiana communities averaged 4.51, 5.06 and 4.90, respectively, and similar-sized Indiana governments with populations of 15,000 to 50,000 averaged 5.62, 5.10 and 5.10.

Huntington joins 21 other local governments that will complete a greenhouse gas inventory this year through the Resilience Cohort program. Nineteen local governments also have previously completed this first step, and roughly 50 percent of the state’s population will live in an area that has completed a greenhouse gas inventory by the end of 2021.

The Resilience Cohort program was established in 2019 by IU’s Environmental Resilience Institute to match Indiana local governments with the tools, training and expertise needed to measure and reduce local greenhouse gas emissions. To keep costs low for local government participants, ERI offers the Resilience Cohort program at a subsidized rate with financial support from the McKinney Family Foundation and the Duke Energy Foundation.

“We are delighted so many Indiana communities are taking steps to reduce carbon emissions and enhance local air quality,” said ERI Implementation Manager Andrea Webster. “The findings from these greenhouse gas inventories will provide a roadmap for local officials to address emissions produced in their own backyards, improve public health and strengthen the resilience of Hoosier communities.”

Read the reports: Community Emissions | Local Government Emissions


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