The City of Eugene has purchased carbon offsets to meet the Climate Recovery Ordinance goal of carbon neutrality for City operations in 2020. The organization continues looking for ways to reduce emissions, primarily through upgrades and operations changes in the fleet and facilities service areas.
“As the climate crisis intensifies, carbon offsets provide a bridge to allow the City to reduce global emissions now, while also working to reduce our local emissions as new resources, technology, and innovations emerge,” said Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis.
To meet reductions for 2020, the City purchased carbon offsets through The Climate Trust, a Portland-based company that invests in projects which reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The City purchased offsets through a forestry project in Morton, WA, called the Winston Creek Improved Forest Management Project.
To determine how many carbon offsets the City needed to purchase to offset its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), staff used data from the 2019 Internal Operations Greenhouse Gas Inventory. The 2019 inventory showed emissions from City operations were 6,126 MT CO2e, and that number was used as a proxy for 2020 emissions. This number will also be applied to offset emissions in 2021 ahead of the next inventory, which is completed every two years.
Carbon offsets are produced through projects that reduce GHG emissions, such as forest management projects that protect large areas of commercially owned forest which would otherwise be harvested for profit. Carbon sequestration occurs in these projects when carbon is prevented from being released in the trees and soil, and by the amount of carbon trees and soil continue to absorb. Third party verifiers measure these savings, and brokers like The Climate Trust sell these to individuals and agencies on a voluntary and mandated basis to account for GHG emissions they cannot reduce through current systems or technology.
Learn more about the City’s Climate Recovery Ordinance and sustainability program online.