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Ann Arbor Joins Growing List of Communities Setting Carbon Neutral Goals

December 23, 2019

This November, JOOB's hometown of Ann Arbor passed Resolution 19-2103: A Resolution in Support of Creating a Plan to Achieve Ann Arbor Community-Wide Climate Neutrality by 2030.

The resolution was unanimously passed by city council. “This is an incredibly exciting time for us,” said Mayor Christopher Taylor, one of the proposal’s sponsors.  “This is an opportunity for the city to begin to address a topic of planetary concern in our own small way.”

The Local Impact of Climate Change

Missy Stults, the city's sustainability manager, presented some compelling data that brought the issue of climate change close to home.  Over the last 30 years the city has experienced a nearly 1-degree Fahrenheit increase in annual temperature, an increase of over 44% in annual precipitation and a 37% increase in the total volume of precipitation falling during extreme events.  

Forecasts show the city is likely to experience a 3- to 7-degree increase in temperature, 12 to 36 more days per year over 90 degrees Fahrenheit and a continued trend of increased annual and extreme precipitation by the end of the century if significant actions aren’t taken immediately to reduce emissions.  

Is 2030 Aggressive Enough?

While all agree on the urgent need to reduce emissions, the actionable items required to move forward and how quickly are questions that need to get tackled.  I was fortunate to work with Ann Arbor's Mayor Christopher Taylor during my time working in technology, and reached out to challenge his team to reach carbon neutral status in a year versus a decade.  The ability to incorporate offsets while working on carbon reduction initiatives is not as complicated as many think, and there are organizations to help communities work through the process. For example, initiating solar power and electric car fleets to reduce a large percentage of emissions and offsetting the remainder in carbon-reducing projects - can get cities to climate neutral status quickly.  It shouldn't take a decade to do this. 

Mayor Taylor graciously put me in contact with Eileen Naples, Resource Recovery Manager for the City of Ann Arbor - where I reviewed with her JOOB's partnerships with Climate Neutral and South Pole - organizations that are enabling brands, individuals, and communities to move to a climate neutral status.  I shared with her how the process for measuring, reducing and offsetting can be applied to cities as easy as it is with organizations. Hopefully the city can move as aggressively as possible to achieve their goals. 

Ann Arbor has created a website - A2ZERO -  for the entire community to get involved, which is a good step. And they've done a carbon assessment to measure a portion of their emissions for the city. It's not clear if they've done a full end-to-end assessment, but we'll keep an eye on their progress for sure. 

Momentum Continues to Build

In addition to Ann Arbor's announcement, Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor Public Schools, the City of Ypsilanti, and the University of Michigan have all announced carbon reduction plans.  It's great to see this recognition of need for action grow.   

Ask Your City Leaders to be Climate Neutral

It's time to build on this wave of environmental activism.  If you love our planet, if you want to see future generations enjoy the outdoors and help preserve it, contact your local government, volunteer - it's never too late to get involved.  Not sure how? You can start here.  





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