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April 23, 2014
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Home > Environment > Climate Change > Overview

About COG's Climate Change Program

shaking handsWhat is COG's Climate Change Program?

COG's Climate Change Program is one of the nation's first initiatives to address local greenhouse gas emissions on a regional level. While a growing number of individual cities and counties are moving forward to address climate change, this is one of the first programs to involve localities over an entire metropolitan area.

What if we were to stick with business as usual? How would that affect the National Capital Region?

The region is growing. COG forecasts an addition of 1.6 million new residents and 1.2 million new jobs to by 2030. If current energy use, fuels, development patterns and lifestyles do not change, COG projects man-made greenhouse gas emissions, which cause climate change, will increase by 35 percent in 2030 and 44 percent by 2050. The world has already begun to experience the higher temperatures, flooding and health effects related to climate change.  Locally, the Chesapeake Bay is getting warmer and sea levels are rising.  Since 1940, its water temperature has risen about a half-degree per decade and the trend is causing adverse effects to the Bay’s ecosystem. 

What goals have area leaders set for the region?

The National Capital Region Climate Change Report , which was shaped by area leaders working together at COG and voluntarily adopted by the COG Board of Directors in November 2008, proposes significant greenhouse gas reduction goals for the region. The report's short-term goal is for a reduction of regional greenhouse gas emissions that is 10 percent under a business as usual scenario by 2012. The mid-term goal is for a reduction of 20 percent below the 2005 levels by 2020, and the long-term goal is for a reduction of 80 percent below the 2005 levels by 2050. See the National Capital Region Climate Change Report for more details.

How will the region achieve these goals?

The report includes recommendations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through changes in energy use, transportation and land use. It urges local governments to reduce energy usage by 15 percent and purchase more renewable energy like wind and solar power.  In regards to transportation, recommendations include supporting California’s low emission vehicle standards, reducing vehicle miles traveled, and increasing vehicle fuel efficiency.  The report recommends increased development around transit and activity centers as well as preserving more trees throughout the region.  It also highlights the need for a regional public education campaign to promote individual and institutional actions, which play an essential role in the climate change effort. See the National Capital Region Climate Change Report for the full list of recommendations.  

Who is leading this regional effort?

The Climate, Energy and Environment Policy Committee was created by the COG Board of Directors to provide leadership on climate change, energy, green building, alternative fuels, solid waste and recycling issues, and to help support area governments as they work together to meet the goals outlined in the National Capital Region Climate Change Report. The committee includes representatives from COG’s 21 member governments, state environmental, energy, and transportation agencies, state legislatures, the Air Quality Public Advisory Committee, federal and regional agencies, electric and gas utilities, environmental organizations, business organizations, and members of the academic community. For the committee roster, meeting times, and documents, visit the Climate, Energy and Environment Policy Committee page.

Previously, the COG Climate Change Steering Committee led the regional effort and developed the National Capital Region Climate Change Report. An archive of the Steering Committee's work can be found here.

 


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