The city of Phoenix has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 7.2 percent, exceeding its own goal to reduce emissions by 2015.

In 2008 the city set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 5 percent below 2005 levels by 2015. Recently, the city announced it has surpassed that goal within four years.

“The latest report was compiled by Arizona State University’s Sustainability Solution Services... and states that in 2012, the city achieved a 7.2 percent decrease in GHG emissions by emitting 629,504 metric tons of carbon dioxide and carbon dioxide equivalents,” a statement from the city said. “When compared to the 2005 total emission of 678,150 metric tons, Phoenix is not only ahead of schedule in reaching its goal, but has gone 2.2 percent beyond its commitment.”

The city was able to reduce GHG emissions through the use of advanced methane capture systems at city-owned landfills; biodiesel and ethanol alternative fuels; energy-efficient streetlights, traffic signals, water and wastewater upgrades; energy efficiency measures in more than 45 city buildings; and various city solar power projects.

Vice Mayor Bill Gates, chairman of the Finance, Efficiency and Economy Subcommittee, said this is just one piece of the city’s sustainability plan. Now that Phoenix has reached its goal, he’s eager to set another.

“I propose setting a new goal of reducing the city’s emissions 15 percent by 2015,” he said in a statement. “This new goal will move Phoenix toward becoming a more sustainable city, ultimately saving taxpayer dollars and making Phoenix a better place to live. I invite our residents to attend the next meeting of the Finance, Efficiency, and Economy Subcommittee at Phoenix City Hall at 10 a.m. Dec. 18, when we will be discussing this issue.”

The findings of the 2012 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions Report was released by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton at the third annual Go Green Conference, hosted by the city of Phoenix and ASU’s Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives.

“This is great for Phoenix and I’m very excited to see that we may be able to double or even possibly triple the reduction of our greenhouse gas emissions by 2015,” Stanton said. “We are making Phoenix a cleaner and healthier place to live and work.”

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