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Climate change is already affecting Ashland and the surrounding region, and its impacts are projected to become much more severe in the coming decades. To minimize harmful impacts and play its part in curbing global carbon pollution, Ashland needs to take bold steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resiliency. This plan lays out a foundation for the City of Ashland to reduce its emissions and improve its resilience to future impacts of climate change on its environment, infrastructure, and people.
Why a Climate and Energy Plan?
How Will Our Climate Change?
The impacts of climate change will have tangible effects on public health and quality of life for Ashland’s residents and visitors. Climate models project that by the 2080s Ashland will experience:
- An 86% decrease in winter snowpack,
- 90 more days of extreme heat each year,
- A 7-12°F increase in temperature on the hottest day of the year
- More than 1” of additional rainfall during heavy storms
- More frequent and severe droughts, heat waves, and wildfires
In addition to the direct dangers of wildfires, flooding, and extreme weather events made worse by climate change, secondary effects of more extreme temperatures, snowpack declines, and wildfire smoke are significant:
Sensitive and exposed populations like the very young, elderly, those with respiratory illness, and outdoor workers will be at risk from wildfire smoke and heat-related illnesses.
High elevation plants and wildlife will need to adapt to shifting or diminishing habitats.
Seasonal and climate-dependent industries such as agriculture, outdoor recreation, and tourism will be threatened under changing conditions.
What Are Ashland’s Emissions?
Our emissions are calculated and updated every 3 years. According to the City's 2015 greenhouse gas inventory, the majority (83%) of Ashland’s emissions stem from a few main sources:
In 2015, Ashland’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions footprint was approximately 342,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MT CO2e), representing 0.5% of Oregon’s total emissions.
- production of residential goods and food,
- residential travel,
- residential and commercial energy use, and
- upstream energy production.
How Will We Do It?
The plan’s overarching goals and targets focus on addressing climate change risks by reducing Ashland’s emissions of climate pollution (“climate mitigation”) and preparing the city for unavoidable impacts (“climate adaptation”). The goals as stated in the plan are:
Ashland’s Climate Action is organized into several different areas of focus, including:
- Reduce Ashland’s contribution to global carbon pollution by reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with City, residential, commercial, and industrial activities.
- For the Ashland community: Reduce overall Ashland community greenhouse gas emissions by 8% on average every year to 2050.
- For City of Ashland operations: Attain carbon neutrality in City operations by 2030, and reduce fossil fuel consumption by 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2050.
- Prepare the city’s communities, systems, and resources to be more resilient to climate change impacts.
- Buildings and Energy
- Urban Form, Land Use, and Transportation
- Consumption and Materials Management
- Public Health, Safety, and Well-being
- Natural Systems
- Cross Cutting Strategies
Ashland City Council passed an ordinance establishing greenhouse gas and fossil fuel reduction goals and creating new Ashland Municipal Code: Chapter 9.40 Climate Recovery.
The climate is changing, and always has been. Our window to act is still open. If we act soon, our efforts will achieve more and we will have more options to choose from.