Princeton’s Climate Action Plan is revealed

Sustainable Princeton, which released a 62-page draft version of its Climate Action Plan last month, is still seeking comments from Princeton residents by May 31.

The Climate Action Plan’s goal is for the community to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent of its 2010 levels by 2050. The interim goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent in 2030 and by 65 percent in 2040.

In 2017, nearly 65 percent of Princeton’s greenhouse gas emissions came from the electricity and fossil fuels used to heat, cool and light Princeton’s homes and commercial buildings, according to the Climate Action Plan.

Transportation accounted for 32.3 percent of emissions, and solid waste – garbage, as measured by the tonnage of solid waste hauled to the landfill – made up 2.1 percent.

The Climate Action Plan has offered some suggestions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – from increasing the number of publicly available electric car chargers, to promoting alternatives to car ownership that include car-sharing options such as Zagster or Zip Car.

The draft plan also recommended expanding neighborhood and backyard composting of organic materials, and to reduce emissions from public and private lawn maintenance equipment.

It was also suggested that whenever older houses, commercial and multi-family buildings are sold or leased, an energy audit should be conducted and full disclosure of its results should be made.

Molly Jones, executive director of Sustainable Princeton, said the nonprofit group led the process of developing the Climate Action Plan. More than 50 volunteers worked on the project, taking into account community input, she said.

The Climate Action Plan, which was two years in the making, was funded by a $100,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The final version of the document will be reviewed every three years and updated every nine years.

The Climate Action Plan is divided into five sectors – Energy, Resiliency, Land Use and Transportation, Natural Resources and Materials Management. Within those five sectors are 13 objectives and 83 action items developed by the committee members who worked on it.

Mayor Liz Lempert said addressing climate change – hotter days and nights, heavier rains and more frequent nuisance flooding – requires action on all fronts, including significant change at the local level.

“The Climate Action Plan lays out a robust and strategic call-to-action. It will ultimately be our road map to tackle the changes required to reduce our impact on the planet and to prepare ourselves for the ‘new normal’ of severe weather,” Mayor Lempert said.

The Climate Action Plan is available for review and comment at https://www.sustainableprinceton.org. The deadline to comment is May 31.

 

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