City Reveals 'Ambitious' Environmental Goals To Be Met By 2030

Sep 29, 2017

In an effort to reduce Pittsburgh's environmental impact and improve air quality, the city is launching a set of goals to achieve by 2030.

Outlined in the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan are the following goals:

  • 100 percent renewable electricity consumption for municipal operations
  • City-wide zero waste initiative to divert 100 percent of materials from landfills
  • 50 percent emissions reduction city-wide
  • Development of a fossil fuel-free city fleet
  • Divestment of the city's pensions assets from fossil fuel-based companies
  • Reducing water consumption city-wide by 50 percent
  • Reducing emissions city-wide by 50 percent

Some goals, such as the fossil fuel-free city fleet, are directly related to city functions. But the city's Chief Resilience Officer Grant Ervin said residents can pitch in by doing things like switching to energy efficient light bulbs.

"There are things that individual homeowners can do that helps them reduce their household cost and also helps them reduce emissions in their consumption of energy," Ervin said. "It really creates a win-win situation."

Ervin said the goals are intentionally ambitious, as the city is striving to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

"One of the things we're looking to do here is to take leadership on these activities because of the benefits," he said. "We hope other communities work alongside us and start to take the same types of strategies."

This is the third iteration of the Climate Action Plan -- the previous two versions were released in 2008 and 2012. While Ervin said 1.0 and 2.0 were successful, the plans were updated before they met their goal year of 2023.

Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of clean energy nonprofit PennFuture, said meeting the goals is essential to protect the environment.

"I think we need to embrace, as a society, the urgency of this issue and understand that we all have a part to play," Schweiger said. "I commend Mayor Peduto for this effort and I think it sends a message to the rest of the world that Pittsburgh is striving to achieve the Paris goals with or without the leadership of Washington." 

A public comment period on the plan is open through October 6.