Thurston Regional Planning Council Releases Greenhouse Gas Inventory

We are excited to announce that the Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC) has completed their first ever Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory for the county. TCAT was integrally involved in this work, and we are thankful to have this data to guide our work with the jurisdictions in making reductions. Below is the executive summary from TRPC as well as a link to the full report: 

Executive Summary:
In 2019, Thurston Regional Planning Council, Thurston County, and the cities of Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater committed to reducing climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions. The following targets were adopted:

• Achieve 45 percent reduction of 2015 levels by 2030
• Achieve 85 percent reduction of 2015 levels by 2050
Meeting these targets requires monitoring emissions across Thurston County.

Since 2010, the Thurston Climate Action Team (TCAT) has completed a greenhouse gas emissions inventory for Thurston County. This report extends the TCAT inventory to 2021 and incorporates changes identified by TCAT and the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan. Total 2021 greenhouse gas emissions in Thurston County are estimated at 2.9 million metric tons CO2e (MTCO2e) — about 9.8 MTCO2e per person. After several years of increasing emissions, 2020 and 2021 emissions were below the 2015 baseline. However, emissions are still not on track to meet the 2030 and 2050 targets.

The buildings and energy sector — emissions due to heating and powering homes and businesses — remains the largest source of emissions (54 percent of total, Figure 2). Transportation is the second largest sector, accounting for 36 percent of emissions. The remaining sectors included in the inventory — water and waste, agriculture, and hydrofluorocarbons – together account for approximately 10 percent of the total.

The region has seen some success. Combined emissions from the buildings and energy and transportation sectors decreased by over 150,000 TCO2e since 2015 (Figure 4). While some of the decrease was due to cleaner sources of electricity and improved vehicle efficiency, increased telework due to the COVID-19 pandemic also contributed. Future inventories will show whether these decreases in emissions can be sustained.

This greenhouse gas emissions inventory is a “geographic-plus” inventory, meaning it includes emissions associated with activities occurring within the Thurston region “plus” emissions associated with producing the electricity used in the region, even though that electricity is generated outside the Thurston region. The inventory does not include emissions due to the goods and services consumed by Thurston County residents (i.e., it is not a consumption-based emissions inventory).

The accuracy and comprehensiveness of this greenhouse gas emissions inventory are limited by the quality and availability of data. This report includes notes on data limitations. As new or improved data sources are identified, they will be added to the inventory.

Click here to read the report

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