Linn County is pleased to announce the release of its 2019 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory (PDF) – an update to the Baseline Greenhouse Gas Inventory of 2010. The report was prepared by the Linn County Sustainability & Resiliency Advisory Committee with assistance from Linn County’s Green Iowa AmeriCorps members and the Sustainability Department.
The updated inventory was completed for the year 2019 instead of 2021 to avoid the unpredictable short-term emissions impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. Greenhouse gas emissions data for a given year are typically available 8-15 months after the end of that year. The updated report provides information on greenhouse gas emissions resulting from activities in Linn County as a whole in 2019 and will serve as a comparison to the 2010 inventory to help measure the effects of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Linn County and develop a comprehensive plan to meet future emission reduction goals.
“This report will help industries, businesses, and residents of Linn County, as well as Linn County staff, identify the areas of opportunity where we can make the most impact in reducing our carbon emissions and meeting the goals of the climate resolutions,” said Linn County Sustainability Director Tam Marcus. “I think it is incredible that the development of this report was led by Linn County residents, and even cooler to have a local Linn County farmer and producer and the Linn Clean Energy District working together on this. We need more of that type of collaboration.”
“Through the course of this inventory update, it was encouraging to see a data driven collaborative dialogue. As a committee we were able to learn more about our community, identifying both the challenges as well as the opportunities that exist,” said Sustainability & Advisory Committee Co-Chair Josh Henik.
“The process of pulling together an updated greenhouse gas inventory has been enlightening. The dedicated work of the Sustainability & Resiliency Advisory Committee produced a document of exceptional value,” said Sustainability & Advisory Committee Co-Chair John Zakrasek. “It will serve to educate the members of our community and provide guidance to our leaders as they make key decisions that will affect the future of our county.”
Benefits of a GHG Inventory
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. The GHG Inventory helps us to understand the quantity, sources, and trends of emissions in Linn County so that strategically prioritized actions can be taken to reduce and eliminate those emissions. 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 data accessible online.
GHG inventories are instrumental to local governments’ ability to address their communities’ needs. This becomes increasingly important as we continue to experience more devastating climate-related events with greater frequency.
In 2019, 68% of total emissions came from the Commercial/Industrial sector, however, this sector was also responsible for the majority of reductions since the benchmark year.
From 2010 to 2019, Linn County’s population grew 7.3%. In 2010, Linn County’s total carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions were 7.84 million metric tons. 2019 data shows that CO2e emissions declined 3.35% or 262,520 metric tons to 7.58 million metric tons over those nine years. The 3.35% total emission reductions achieved over the last nine years were primarily due to conversions from coal to natural gas-fired electricity generation as well as increases in solar and wind renewables.
Many partners were involved in making the report possible and collecting required data, including Alliant Energy, MidAmerican, Linn County Solid Waste Agency, the Rural Electric Cooperative, Cedar Rapids Water Treatment Plant, Mt. Vernon Water Treatment Plant, the Iowa Department of Transportation, Green Iowa AmeriCorps Members, and the Linn County Board of Supervisors.
Sustainability & Resiliency Advisory Committee
The Sustainability & Resiliency Advisory Committee (S&R Committee) was created in November 2021 through an application process managed by the Linn County Sustainability Department and approved by the Linn County Board of Supervisors. The S&R Committee's focus is completing the annual greenhouse gas inventory for Linn County, with support from the Linn County Sustainability Department, and the Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI). The inventories will help Linn County review and monitor progress toward the goals and objectives of Linn County’s climate resolutions. Members of the S&R Committee will disseminate the information in this updated report to all the communities in Linn County and obtain their feedback.
Linn County and its community partners and regional planning group plan use information from the 2019 and 2010 Greenhouse Gas Inventories to create a comprehensive plan to achieve the emission reduction goals established in the Linn County Climate Resolution 2019-12-160. The recent EPA Climate Pollution Reduction funding may provide funding opportunities for both planning and implementation strategies informed by this report. Linn County government already has a plan in place to reduce internal emissions.
A copy of the 2019 Greenhouse Gas Inventory report and more information about Linn County’s commitment to sustainability can be found online at LinnCountyIowa.gov/Sustainability.