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Linn County is pleased to announce it has released the County’s first greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory (PDF) and now joins the hundreds of other local governments that have completed their GHG gas inventories.
The report, prepared by the Linn County Office of Sustainability with assistance from International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives - Local Governments for Sustainability USA, is the first step in documenting emission levels and sources of GHG emissions in Linn County and creating a climate action plan to reduce GHG emissions locally.
The baseline inventory was completed for the year 2010 as directed by the 2019 Linn County Climate Resolution signed by the Linn County Board of Supervisors. The report provides estimates of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from activities in Linn County as a whole in 2010 and will serve as a baseline to develop a climate action plan and measure efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Linn County.
“It is important for local governments to complete greenhouse gas inventories to assess current and historical greenhouse gas emissions levels,” said Tamara Marcus, Linn County’s sustainability program manager and one of the report’s authors. “Once a community has completed a baseline greenhouse has inventory, then they can create a climate action plan that specifically addresses local emissions sources and actions to reduce those emissions.”
Data gathered from GHG inventories can help local governments make informed decisions on how to rebuild local communities in a sustainable manner and implement climate adaptation and mitigation strategies. These inventories allow for a consistent method to track how communities are progressing towards their sustainability related targets. In addition, the inventories provide a way for local community members to access this information through public forums or data accessible online. GHG inventories are instrumental to local government’s ability to address their community’s needs. This becomes increasingly important as we continue to experience more devastating climate-related events with greater frequency.
According to the National Climate Assessment, at-risk communities in the Midwest are becoming more vulnerable to climate change impacts such as flooding, drought, and increases in urban heat islands. East Central Iowa, including Linn County, is at particular risk for a greater number of catastrophic and intense storms, which will be further exacerbated by GHG emissions causing rising temperatures. In the last decade, Linn County has experienced a wide variety of climate change-related effects with two historic floods in 2008 and 2016 and the most recent derecho event that happened in August of 2020 causing extensive property damage and significant loss of Linn County’s tree canopy.
Many partners were involved in making the report possible and collecting required data, including the University of Iowa’s Center for Energy and Environmental Education, Iowa Climate Action Planning cohort, Alliant Energy, MidAmerican, Linn County Solid Waste Agency, the Rural Electric Cooperative, the Iowa Department of Transportation, Green Iowa AmeriCorps Members, Matthew 25, the Linn County Sustainability Council, the Linn County Board of Supervisors, and the Cedar Rapids chapter of the Sunrise Movement.
“It is because of a powerful combination of community activism, wide-reaching collaboration, and the enthusiastic support from the Board of Supervisors that this important step in working towards a more sustainably just Linn County has been made possible,” Marcus said.
The next steps are to forecast carbon emission reductions and develop a more robust Climate Action Plan for Linn County. Linn County also plans to continue tracking key energy use and emissions indicators on an ongoing basis with yearly GHG Inventories. Linn County Sustainability will begin recruiting members for the community Climate Advisory Committee beginning in September 2021. This committee will be composed of community stakeholders from the industrial, commercial, and residential sectors and tasked with helping to complete the yearly inventories.
Linn County is committed to making an environmentally just future for everyone by addressing equity issues that are inherent in climate change. Linn County will engage the public in climate action through this baseline GHG inventory report and various public forums targeted at underrepresented communities. Linn County will use the GHG inventory data, combined with input from community outreach efforts, to create a climate action plan.
Registration is encouraged for each event: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Tkq_wNhnEoqSx0nGUdWAX85k9xe1BYCcXdWyUe2Vjxo/edit
In addition to the public forums, Linn County’s Sustainability Program Manager is also presenting the report findings to the Linn County Farm Bureau during their Board of Directors meeting on August 3, 2021.
View a copy of the Baseline Inventory of Community Greenhouse Gas Emissions report (PDF).