Climate change threatens to have very negative effects on our region, such as increased severe weather events and flooding, higher prices and even shortages of basic goods, and a higher rate of illness and heat-related health problems.
On February 9, 2007, Mayor Ravenstahl signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, pledging to implement local global warming solutions that will save taxpayer dollars and reduce energy use.
This commitment followed the completion of the City's first greenhouse gas inventory. A greenhouse gas inventory measures how many heat-trapping gases are being emitted from an entity and from what sources. It is a useful tool to target actions to the areas where they have the most impact.
The City's first greenhouse gas inventory was completed in December 2006 by graduate students at the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University.
The inventory, which uses data from 2003, accounts for municipal and community emissions. Municipal greenhouse gas emission sources include buildings, street and traffic lights, vehicle fleet, water and sewer, and solid waste. Community-wide emissions include greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle-miles traveled, waste generation, and the use of electricity, natural gas, and steam.
In October 2010, the City released its second greenhouse gas emissions inventory, which measures emissions from 2008. Total emissions were 6.79 million tons CO2 equivalent, of which municipal operations accounted for 3%. The entire inventory is available online at www.pittsburghclimate.org.
As part of the Pittsburgh Climate Protection Initiative, the Green Government Task Force (GGTF) was responsible for developing the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan. This Plan was adopted by City Council and Mayor Ravenstahl in July 2008, thus completing the commitment of the GGTF. The Action Plan is intended to be a dynamic working document. In February of 2012, version two of the Climate Action Plan was accepted by City Council keeping Pittsburgh's plans for climate mitigation relevant as our City continues to evolve.