City of Tucson making strides to become carbon neutral by 2030

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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – Tucson is on track to become a carbon neutral city by 2030.

Tucson city leaders selected a nationally recognized consulting firm to develop the city’s first-ever climate adaptation and action plan.

Mayor Regina Romero said time is running out when it comes to climate change in Tucson. She says the most important time to act is now.

“Every action we take now will make a huge difference to the livability and water resources we need to continue to be a sustainable city,” she said.

The next step is to create a climate action and adaptation plan. The plan itself will be developed by consulting firm Buro Happold, which has done climate action work in major cities like Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.

“It will give us a roadmap to act on the infrastructure that we need to change, the steps that we need to change to have the action we want for the results we’re looking for,” Romero said.

In addition to creating the climate action plan, the company will also partner with local nonprofits to engage in the community. The plan will be completed by December, which will propel the city towards the ultimate goal of being carbon neutral in eight years.

“Setting a 2030 target date for carbon neutrality is very aggressive, very progressive and something that we are very, very interested in working with the city and all Tucsonians to get there,” said Christopher Rhie, director associate of Buro Happold.

Rhie has worked with many different cities. He says every city is different when it comes to the type of climate risk it faces. For Tucson, it’s heating and water supply.

The plan will focus on large-scale transformation in these areas by working to limit greenhouse gases and finding ways to adapt to the changing climate that is happening in Tucson.

“In order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change globally, we need to act now and we need to do it very, very quickly. This means we have to reconsider our relationship with fossil fuels, which are the main source of emissions,” he said.

Rhie says there are many things individuals can do every day to help fight climate change.

Some ways to help limit carbon emissions include carpooling, cycling, using public transport, using solar power, and using energy-saving light bulbs.

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