Multi-Sector Working Group Develops Draft List of Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategies

Apr 9, 2015

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments group charged with identifying promising strategies for significantly reducing the region’s greenhouse gas emissions has developed a draft list of strategies to analyze this summer before identifying those with the greatest potential to help the region achieve ambitious long-term emissions-reduction goals.

The list includes 38 broad strategies and dozens of more specific implementation actions spanning the four main sectors from which the region’s greenhouse gas emissions come — energy, transportation, land-use, and the built environment. It includes everything from viable, near-term actions to stretch  strategies that would require changes in state and local regulations and future investments before they could be considered practical.

Following an official kick-off meeting January 30, the full Multi-Sector Working Group split into three topical sub-groups to brainstorm strategies to consider for analysis.

The strategies identified by the transportation sub-group included improvements to vehicle fuel efficiency, reducing congestion and increasing the operational efficiency of the road network, and encouraging greater use of non-driving travel modes like transit, walking, and bicycling.

The land-use sub-group identified strategies and implementation actions that would encourage more efficient development patterns, protect natural resources, and promote more coordinated transportation and land-use planning.

Strategies identified by the energy and built environment sub-group included retrofitting existing buildings and constructing new ones to be more energy efficient, promoting more efficient energy production processes, and reducing resource consumption and waste.

The full Multi-Sector Working Group will meet again May 8 to finalize the list of strategies before it conducts an in-depth analysis this summer. That analysis will involve quantifying the cumulative anticipated greenhouse gas emissions reductions of each strategy, the costs and timeframes of implementation, and any of the co-benefits that might be anticipated if the strategies were implemented. Co-benefits could include things like reductions in ozone and other pollutants resulting from more efficient energy generation, decreases in stormwater pollution from increased use of green roofs and more urban trees, or traffic safety improvements resulting from infrastructure improvements to support more walking and bicycling.

The draft list of strategies developed by the Multi-Sector Working Group is currently available for review and comment through April 22. COG stakeholders, as well as any interested advocacy groups or members of the general public, are invited to comment on the list.

Once this summer’s analysis is complete, the Multi-Sector Working Group will develop an interim technical report summarizing the findings of the analysis. The report will be made available for public comment in September or October. The final version of the technical report, due early next year, will form the basis for the development of an emissions-reduction action plan later in 2016.

About COG’s Multi-Sector Working Group

The Multi-Sector Working Group was convened by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments earlier this year following a joint request by three of its policy committees — the Climate, Energy, and Environment Policy Committee (CEEPC), the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee (MWAQC), and the Transportation Planning Board (TPB). The group consists of technical and policy staff from COG’s member jurisdictions, as well as state and regional agencies, who have expertise in one or more of the main sectors from which the region’s greenhouse gas emissions come — energy, transportation, land-use, and the built environment. The group has been charged with identifying viable, implementable actions that can be taken at the local, regional, or state levels to reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions and to achieve ambitious long-term reduction goals established by COG in 2008. Learn more.

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