Carbon Neutral by 2030: Can We Do It? Addie Greene

Carbon Neutral by 2030

By Addie Greene

As stated in 2015, followed up by the 10X20 ordinance in 2017, Ashland has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030 and to produce zero net greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions by 2050. This includes a 50% reduction in fossil fuel use by 2030 and an 8% reduction in ghg emissions every year to 2050, according to climate activist Marion Moore in a presentation November 11 at the Ashland Library.

            As stated in the Climate & Energy Action Plan, “Ashland’s climate vision for 2050 is to be a resilient community that has zero net greenhouse gas emissions, embraces equity, protects healthy ecosystems, and creates opportunities for future generations.”

            Development of the Imperatrice property, some 800 acres of undeveloped land east of Ashland that was touted as the site for a solar farm to meet the 10X20 goal, has been denied because of endangered species on the property, Moore said, but this won’t affect the annual 8% reduction in ghg emissions stated in Ashland’s climate plan. 

            Leading by example, Ashland is requiring that all new city-owned vehicles be hybrids and to purchase with carbon impact in mind. The city created a ghg inventory when the plan was created and now is doing another ghg inventory. An important part of this planning is how to help workers displaced by the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

            Moore divides the actions individuals can take to mitigate climate change into one-time only and daily actions. In one-time actions she urges individuals to purchase Energy Star appliances, which are 8% more efficient, installing low flow water valves, insulating windows, and converting to LED light bulbs.

            In daily actions, she recommends cutting a car’s engine if it will be idling more than 10 seconds, using recycled toilet paper rather than “virgin” paper, and using bamboo toilet paper and paper towel products.

            A downtown shuttle and an express bus from Ashland to Medford will begin operations early next year, she said.

            There now is no accountability on the part of corporations, Moore said. She cited boycotts as an effective tool to combat corporate intransigence and urged individuals to promote regenerative agriculture.

            The Pachamama Alliance is giving classes on Drawdown, edited by Paul Hawken, billed as “the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming.” The book’s 61 research fellows studied 80 categories of energy-related activities, then ranked each by a plausible scenario, a drawdown scenario, and an optimum scenario to determine the costs and the benefits of mitigating climate change by 2050.