Community greenhouse gas emissions study kicks off

Published on September 13, 2023

Green grass and sky with CO2 as a watermark

Los Alamos County’s Sustainability Manager Angelica Gurule announced that a study to determine the community’s greenhouse gas baseline kicked off last June. She plans to present an overview to councilors at the August 22 council meeting on how this project will proceed, including the public and stakeholder feedback piece. She adds that these findings will then be incorporated into a subsequent climate action plan. The August 22 meeting begins at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers in the Municipal Building, 1000 Central Avenue.

According to Gurule, this study is the first step of a more significant effort to embark on a greener and more sustainable future, as recommended by the Los Alamos Resiliency Energy & Sustainability Task Force (LARES). The LARES task force (comprising 20 citizens, seven councilors, and support from more than 14 county staff members) conducted a year-long intensive study, resulting in a final report presented to councilors on February 22, 2022.

The 200-page final report contained numerous recommendations to reduce the county’s carbon footprint and enhance sustainability. Two recommendations strongly endorsed the need to begin with,

  1. A study to determine baseline greenhouse gas emissions from which the county could set reduction targets and measure progress, and

  2. A strategic climate action plan that incorporates the findings from the greenhouse gas emissions study and identifies climate mitigation strategies.

Los Alamos County Councilors agreed and, in less than one month, authorized a budget revision to perform these services. Staff immediately began working on the procurement process, including developing the scope of work, reviewing six proposals, finalizing this agreement, and returning to the council for approval. On May 23, 2023, a services agreement between Los Alamos County and Cascadia Consulting Group was approved, and the first-ever Community Greenhouse Gas Emissions Study and Climate Action Plan kicked off on June 7.

Gurule is excited to share with the public and councilors how this study will be undertaken and result in a subsequent Climate Action Plan. “Throughout this process, we plan to work with key stakeholders from across the community to gather meaningful public input, which will include one community survey and 10 community meetings with special meetings for the Environmental Sustainability Board and County Council,” she said.

The final Climate Action Plan will be completed in 16 months or by October 2024. Creating an official plan will help achieve the County Council’s strategic goal of Environmental Stewardship and keep Los Alamos County on target to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

To learn more about this project, interested individuals are invited to join the meeting at 6 p.m. on August 22 in person at 1000 Central Avenue or via Zoom.

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