First Environment was tasked with creating two greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories for the City of Hoboken and developing a Climate Action Plan to help the City achieve their climate-related goals.
Greenhouse Gas Inventory Development
The project team created a 2017 Baseline Municipal Operations GHG Inventory following ICLEI’s Local Government Operations Protocol. This involved coordinating with multiple City departments and utilities to collect available data. Data was aggregated and input into ICLEI’s ClearPath Pro web-based tool for processing and GHG quantification. All Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions from seven greenhouse gases were included in the inventory.
First Environment also created a 2017 Baseline Community-wide GHG Inventory following ICLEI’s Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories. Information was collected from various utilities, government agencies, and planning groups to address all inputs necessary under the protocol. Data was processed and GHG quantified using the same ICLEI ClearPath Pro software. Scope 1, Scope 2 and selected Scope 3 (according to the Protocol’s BASIC level of reporting) emissions from seven greenhouse gases were included in the Inventory.
Extensive planning, communication and problem solving were necessary to complete these two GHG inventories. The inventories were compared to those of comparable cities to assess Hoboken’s baseline performance.
Climate Action Plan Development
To develop the Climate Action Plan, the project team identified the City’s major sources of emissions. We then prioritized actions to address these sources as well as actions that addressed Hoboken’s climate-related goals, such as achieving Sustainable Jersey Gold Star Certification in Energy. Throughout the process of selecting climate actions, stakeholder input was considered. First Environment hosted three webinars with Hoboken employees, three webinars with external stakeholders, and two public community engagement meetings. We prepared separate presentations for each group to ensure that the information presented was relevant and appropriate to the audience. Community feedback forms and an online survey were used to solicit specific feedback from meeting attendees and to gather feedback from individuals who did not attend the public meeting.
The Climate Action Plan included the costs, expected GHG reductions, cost savings, and implementation time for all actions. Action categories included:
- Increased access to EV infrastructure
- Fuel switch for municipal fleet (hybrid, EV, CNG)
- Renewable Power Purchase Agreement
- Community solar planning and implementation
- Residential energy efficiency
- Commercial energy efficiency
- Municipal operations’ energy efficiency
- LED streetlights and traffic lights
First Environment used ICLEI’s ClearPath model to estimate the impacts of prioritized climate actions on GHG emissions and the local economy. We also recommended a timeline for climate action implementation to make the associated costs more feasible and achieve the emission reduction goals by the desired dates.
We also proposed “Creative Solutions,” or high impact, logistically complex actions that would require extensive cooperation and planning to implement. These solutions are not necessary to achieve Hoboken’s short-term goals, but provide inspiration for future climate planning as well as ideas for the kind of comprehensive action necessary to meet ambitious climate goals.
At the launch of the Climate Action plan on Earth Day 2019, Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla stated: “Hoboken knows first-hand the devastation caused by storms like Superstorm Sandy, which will only become more frequent due to rising sea levels…Our Climate Action Plan demonstrates that we are ready, willing, and able to reduce emissions, minimize our carbon footprint, and take forward thinking steps to sustain coastal communities like Hoboken for future generations.”
More information on Hoboken’s Climate Action Plan and GHG inventories can be found on the City’s website.
Photo by: City of Hoboken