Albemarle County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopts Climate Action Plan

albemarle countyThe Albemarle County Board of Supervisors today passed a resolution to adopt the county’s first Climate Action Plan.

The CAP is the product of Phase One of climate action for the county. Phase One is a critical first step for launching a multi-phase, multi-year effort to reduce the community’s contributions to global climate change while advancing the county’s vision of a thriving, vibrant community for every resident.

“The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors understands that leadership at all levels of government is required in order to meet the global challenge for climate action. I am proud that Albemarle County is one of the leading localities in the United States by adopting an ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction goal of 45 percent by 2030 (from 2008 levels) and zero net emissions by 2050. We cannot achieve these goals without the partnership of our residents, business community, and institutional partners,” shared Ned Gallaway, chair of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.

The Climate Action Plan recognizes and aims to meet the following targets, set last year by the Board, for addressing climate change in the coming decades:

  • By 2030, Albemarle County aims to reduce community greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent from 2008 levels.
  • By 2050, Albemarle County aims to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions communitywide.

The Climate Action Plan details 31 strategies and 135 actions, developed in collaboration with community members. The strategies and actions are grouped into five sectors: Transportation and Land Use, Buildings, Renewable Energy Sourcing, Sustainable Materials Management, and Landscape, Resources, and Agriculture.

Example actions from each sector include:

  • Transportation and Land Use: “Develop a more robust incentive program (to increase the use of alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles), perhaps as part of the Charlottesville Better Business Challenge” (T.5.6, found on p. 30).
  • Buildings: “Review the building, zoning, subdivision, land use, and tax sections of the County Code for opportunities to facilitate and incentivize the construction of more energy efficient buildings and on-site renewable energy installations like geothermal, rooftop, and parking lot solar” (B.1.2, found on p. 33).
  • Renewable Energy Sourcing: “Conduct a study in cooperation with renewable energy companies to identify locations for utility scale projects in Albemarle County. Prioritize the use of roof tops, parking lots, brownfields, landfills, and post-industrial or other open lands over forested or ecologically valuable lands” (R.2.3, found on p. 37).
  • Sustainable Materials Management: “Study the feasibility of locating residential trash, recycling, and composting centers within a particular distance or time limit to population centers. Ensure equitable access for underserved communities to future sites is considered” (S.1.6, found on p. 40).
  • Landscape, Resources, and Agriculture: “Maintain and increase the County’s land-conservation programs and related efforts, with a focus on keeping large forested properties intact and in forested land cover, to protect and increase carbon sequestration, as well as to protect water quality and habitat” (L.1.1, found on p. 43).

Adoption of the plan launches the CAP team into Phase Two, which will include:

  • implementing actions with programs and policies;
  • updating the greenhouse gas emissions inventory;
  • evaluating strategies and actions to ensure equity;
  • planning for climate change adaptation and resiliency; and
  • continuing community engagement on climate action.

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