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Updating Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory and Framework

Anchorage, Alaska

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The city of Anchorage, Alaska is looking to update their city-wide greenhouse gas emission inventory using a reproducible framework. This inventory will create a robust baseline that can be used to determine emission reduction progress going forward.

Description

Anchorage is a city of about 300,000 people, located in southcentral Alaska, and is home to nearly 40% of the state’s population. Alaska is on the front lines of climate change. Anchorage residents are feeling the impacts of climate change through greater intensity wildfires, more freeze/thaw events in the winter, and damaging insects like the spruce bark beetle moving further north. Anchorage is a unique and diverse city, both in its demographics as well as its remote location.

The city adopted their Climate Action Plan (CAP) in 2019, establishing greenhouse gas emission reduction goals of 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. The first overarching action in the CAP is to complete a greenhouse gas inventory and update it annually to measure progress towards climate goals. The creation of the CAP included significant involvement from the community, including seven working groups to establish priorities and more than 1,500 people involved in public work sessions. The city worked to include equity as a pillar of their approach through an advisory committee and concerted efforts to engage many different neighborhoods.

In 2017, an initial community inventory was done using 2015 emission data to develop a baseline, however some gaps in data and methodology updates have been identified. The key priority of Anchorage is to update the framework for calculating a greenhouse gas emission inventory and apply this new methodology to the 2015 inventory. This framework will then be used by the city going forward to track the progress of emission reduction as laid out by the CAP. The city is involved in both ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN).

 

Project:

The city would like help determining the progress they are making towards meeting their CAP goals so that they can provide that information to the greater community, which will continue community engagement and investment in emission reductions.

Scope:

  1. Develop a framework for conducting a city-wide greenhouse gas inventory
    1. This framework needs to be reproducible by the city going forward
    2. This framework needs to be city-based, not state-based
    3. Determine data required to build an inventory: are there data gaps?
    4. The city would ideally like to use the ClearPath tool used by ICLEI, although is open to using other simple, easily reproducible methods
  2. Update 2015 inventory using this framework to determine a benchmark
    1. Using city-wide data versus state-wide data
    2. Reduction targets will be based on this inventory
    3. Determine time interval between inventories

 

The city is hiring a local consultant to update the 2015 inventory, and would like to work collaboratively with an experienced scientist to help guide data collection and methodology as well as oversee framework implementation and help produce a final report. 

 

Outputs:  

  1. Documentation for a reproducible framework the city can implement going forward
  2. The city would like to produce a final report for the city government and community that:
    1. Illustrates data in an engaging way (graphs, data visualization):
    2. Clearly shows data sources and any gaps in the inventory
    3. Lays out key assumptions made in inventory accounting
    4. Includes recommendations for how data monitoring could be improved to increase accuracy of the inventory in the future

 

Future goals:

  1.  Implement framework to conduct additional inventories, including for 2020 

 

Timeline and Milestones:

The collaboration between the community and a scientist should start as soon as possible. The project should be completed by December 31st, 2021. The city aims to hire a local consultant by July 1st, 2021 to begin work on compiling inventory data. 

Project Team

Community Leads: 

Shaina Kilcoyne has twelve years of experience advancing energy efficiency and renewable energy policies, programs and projects in Wisconsin and Alaska. As the Energy and Sustainability Manager for the Municipality of Anchorage, Shaina works on a broad range of energy and resiliency goals. She strives to collaborate with the many city departments, community entities and organizations, and local businesses to foster partnerships across disciplines to leverage shared goals. With a focus on equity and high impact opportunities, she led the development and adoption of Anchorage’s first Climate Action Plan and recently led the development of a new clean energy financing program. 

 

Pierce Schwalb is the Sustainability Coordinator for the Municipality of Anchorage’s Department of Solid Waste Services, where he works to extend the life of the Anchorage Landfill, reduce emissions from utility operations, and support the implementation of the Anchorage Climate Action Plan. He has worked to promote sustainable transportation, planning for and managing a network of electric vehicle charging stations and hydrogen fueling stations in Northern California, and advocating for better biking and walking facilities with Bike Anchorage, a group committed to making Anchorage a great place to bike and walk.

 

Grace Dietz (she/her) is the Sustainability Intern for the Municipality of Anchorage’s Department of Solid Waste Services where she implements outreach to grow several of the department’s programs including the Commercial Glass Recycling Program, the Community Compost program, and the Curbside Organics program. She also develops and publishes the department’s social media, and supports projects to help Anchorage reach its sustainability goals spelled out in the 2019 Climate Action Plan. After her summer internship, she will continue studying Environmental Science at Yale University. 

 

Community Scientist:

Info coming soon!

 

Community Science Fellow:

Abra Atwood (she/her) is PhD Candidate in Earth Sciences at the University of Southern California, working with Dr. Josh West. Her work currently focuses on using geochemical tools to understand water/rock interaction in the subsurface and how Earth’s “critical zone” develops over time, specifically in the steep terrain of the Nepal Himalaya. She is also interested in the impact of climate change on mountain groundwater resources, for both local and downstream communities. She grew up in rural Vermont and received her BA in Geology from Middlebury College. After, she worked as a baker in Anchorage, Alaska for several years. She is passionate about community building in many aspects of her life, from scientific collaboration to hosting elaborate community dinners.