The Dublin City Council unanimously adopted the Climate Action Plan for 2030 and Beyond (CAP 2030) last week, putting into motion the city's blueprint for a greener future with reduced local carbon emissions and ultimately achieving carbon neutrality by the next quarter century.
Dublin is "on track to meet our 2020 goals" for lower emissions, and meeting a state-mandated deadline this year, Shannan Young, environmental coordinator of Dublin environmental services division, told the Weekly.
"The actions in the updated Climate Action Plan were adopted to help us meet the 2030 goals and to get us on target to meeting the more aggressive carbon neutrality by 2045 goal," Young said.
The city is looking to lessen its greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution through nearly two dozen measures listed in the CAP 2030. Called its "keystone strategy," Dublin aims to provide 100% carbon-free electricity to every resident receiving electricity through East Bay Community Energy, and encourage the use of more renewable energy sources including wind, solar and hydropower.
Officials also hope to reach carbon neutrality by 2045, and emit only as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that can also be absorbed by carbon sinks like plants and soil.
Transportation is responsible for more than half of Dublin's GHG emissions (60%), so Young said, "We'll be working to facilitate electrification of vehicles and electrification of our power supply, shifting away over time from natural gas towards renewable power."
Some steps have already been taken to cut back on Dublin's GHG output and encourage alternate modes of transportation. A partnership with the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority was formed to test shared autonomous vehicles between the eastern Dublin-Pleasanton BART Station and local jobs centers through a pilot program currently underway, and Young said staff hopes to see the city "rolling out shareables like bikes, scooters" at some point.
"One of the big goals or ideas would be finding ways to facilitate transportation other than by single-occupancy vehicles," Young said. "If we still have gridlock, that's not adding quality of life ... even if it's an electric vehicle."
Conventional recycling programs will continue to have a part in the city's greener outlook, but Young said the issue of eliminating edible food waste from landfills -- where it releases methane, which is more potent but shorter lived than carbon dioxide -- is now getting more attention.
"The idea is to divert as much edible food from the waste stream and redirecting it towards those in need or actually having the food consumed," Young said. "Here in the Bay Area, we have green waste, I think pretty much in every community. You put food waste into the green bin and that's composted, but it's really working to expand the adoption of those practices and prevent food waste."
Young continued, "Our focus would be more on the organic waste reduction and reduce the use of single use products like silverware, rather than focusing on recycling programs, though those will still play a role."
The city's emissions data for 2020 should be available by spring, according to Young.
The Climate Action Plan 2030 and Beyond is available at DublinCAPUpdate.com. For more information, contact the City of Dublin Environmental Services Division at 833-6630.