Anchorage prepares to release draft Climate Action Plan
City officials say they are almost ready to release a Climate Action Plan for Anchorage. If passed by the Anchorage Assembly, it would become the first of its kind implemented by the muni.
Shaina Kilcoyne, the muni's energy and sustainability manager, cited research Monday that shows Alaska is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the country. The plan addresses what Anchorage can do specifically to try and slow that down.
Kilcoyne said cutting greenhouse gas emissions is one of the big goals. To that end the city would like to see more electric vehicles on the road. There's even a proposal to purchase electric garbage trucks. Kilcoyne said electric vehicles are becoming more mainstream.
"There are a lot of options out there and they are really at price parody with gasoline," she said. "And they do reduce emissions when using natural gas to electrify them. People are interested and people are already purchasing them here in Anchorage."
Extending the life of the Anchorage Regional Landfill is a priority in the plan. Kilcoyne said currently the landfill is accepting 1,200 tons of material a day. She said people need more options instead of simply throwing things away.
"Keeping things from the landfill might mean more recycling, more composting opportunities. Looking for more glass recycling for business, and looking at how we can use that material in further projects so that we aren't just importing that and exporting waste."
Kilcoyne said the plan focuses on saving energy but could also save money. She said one thing that has already made a big difference is replacing city streetlights with LED bulbs.
The city is saving nearly $800,000 a year on electricity according to Kilcoyne.
If Alaska's largest city does nothing to address climate change, Kilcoyne said Alaska as a whole will suffer.
"We are going to continue to see rising temperatures. And it's not so much that we care about one degree rising temperature in the abstract. We care about food and we care about water and we care about people," she said.
Kilcoyne said the draft Climate Action Plan should be available soon on the muni website. It will available for public comment at that time.
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