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Austin joins a handful of cities where carbon emissions have fallen in recent years

Thursday, October 10, 2019 by Matt Largey

Austin is among 30 cities worldwide where emissions have peaked, according to a new analysis from a coalition of cities dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The group, C40, defines “peaked” as having emissions fall by at least 10 percent since before 2015. On average, the 30 cities on the list, which includes New York, London and Paris, have reduced emissions by 22 percent.

Austin is the only Texas city on the list. The city just experienced its hottest September on record.

Climate scientists say global carbon emissions must peak by next year to avoid the devastating effects that would come with global temperatures rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The city of Austin has set ambitious goals for greenhouse gas reduction, including carbon neutrality for all city operations by 2020. The city has fallen short, however, according to a 2018 progress update. Mayor Steve Adler told KUT last December that the city will likely have to pay for carbon offsets to achieve its 2020 goal.

“You prefer not to do that if you can avoid that,” he said. “But it’s really important that cities like Austin step up and do meet those goals with whatever it is that works to improve the overall carbon footprint in the world.”

The city has set a goal of carbon neutrality for the entire city by 2050. The bulk of the progress toward that goal has come from improving energy efficiency, according to data from 2017.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT. Photo by Julia Reihs/KUT.

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