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Climate Action Commitment and Draft Climate Action Plan

Blacksburg is proud to join the majority of U.S. cities that have made a formal commitment to reduce their community’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

Land use and zoning requirements, town-owned facilities, public infrastructure improvements, municipal service delivery, parks and open space, public transportation, and the town's vehicle fleet are all areas where the town has opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Town of Blacksburg is committed to reducing these emissions from town government operations and has worked closely with community stakeholders in developing a draft Climate Action Plan that identifies priority strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the wider community. The draft Climate Action Plan (CAP) was developed over several years thanks to the hard work and dedication of dozens of community stakeholders and town staff. A more detailed history of the Climate Action Planning process can be found below. 

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The resulting draft Climate Action Plan is divided into six chapters covering the major sectors of the community that substantially contribute to Blacksburg’s greenhouse gas emissions. These include: Residential, Transportation, Commercial/Industrial, Food, Waste & Recycling, Land Use, and Renewable Energy. The draft plan spells out goals, measurable objectives, and implementation strategies across each of these sectors.  The format for each chapter is as follows: a listing of that sector’s goals, objectives and anticipated co-benefits, a snapshot of that sector’s share of community-wide greenhouse gas emissions as well as narrative describing existing conditions, challenges and opportunities; a list of individual actions that citizens can take as they relate to that sector; a set of shorter-term “Let’s Get Started” strategies with a two to five year implementation horizon, and an additional set of longer-term “Looking Ahead” strategies with a five to 15 year implementation horizon. Throughout each chapter, readers will also find additional “Key Concepts” and “Leading By Example” vignettes.

Below you can view the draft plan as well as important supporting documents by clicking the links below:

 

Climate Action Plan: Background

On November 28, 2006 the Blacksburg Town Council passed Resolution 11-E-06 endorsing the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement and authorizing the Mayor to sign the agreement. The resolution directed the Town of Blacksburg to work in conjunction with ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability and other appropriate organizations to track progress and implementation of the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. 

The U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement includes three commitments: 

  • Strive to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets in their own communities, through actions ranging from anti-sprawl land-use policies to urban forest restoration projects to public information campaigns;
  • Urge their state governments, and the federal government, to enact policies and programs to meet or beat the greenhouse gas emission reduction target suggested for the United States in the Kyoto Protocol - 7% reduction from 1990 levels by 2012, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050; and
  • Urge the U.S. Congress to pass bipartisan greenhouse gas reduction legislation, which would establish a national emission trading system.

The Town of Blacksburg joined ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability in January 2007 and committed to the Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) Campaign. Mayor Ron Rordam is the elected liaison member and the staff liaison member is Carol Davis.

 

Climate Action Plan Working Group

In January 2007, the Mayor’s Task Force on Climate Protection & Sustainability (re-named the Climate Action and Community Sustainability Working Group) was established to implement the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. The membership of this working group brings together key stakeholders and a diverse cross section of the community with representatives from each of the following sectors:

  • Community groups and citizen advocates
  • Land use and housing
  • Transportation
  • Commercial and retail
  • Energy
  • Industry
  • Water and wastewater infrastructure
  • University
  • Local government

After completing a community greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory and emissions forecast, adopting emission reduction targets, and developing a technical report that modeled a set of three scenarios around a draft set of goals, objectives, and strategies, the focus of the working group between 2013 and late 2015 turned to drafting the community’s Climate Action Plan from the longer CAP technical report and supporting data.

The community Climate Action Plan is a description of the actions, (policies, programs, and projects), the community will need to take to meet its GHG reduction target. While it is built around the mitigation measures and activities the community already has in place, new mitigation measures will be necessary to close the gap between the projected emissions growth and the emissions reduction targets.  Implementation will require a significant and collaborative effort by stakeholders from throughout the community. For more information about the Climate Action Planning and/or how to become involved in various community sustainability initiatives, please contact the Sustainability Manager at 540-443-1617 or cdavis@blacksburg.gov.