As a signatory to the U.S. Mayors Climate Projection Agreement, Coral Gables pledged to take a leadership role in promoting public awareness in the community about the causes and impacts of climate change. To support this commitment, RS&H developed a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory and forecast for Coral Gables in 2015. The inventory quantified on baseline data from 2013 and included emissions sources from Local Government Operations as well as for the community as a whole. In 2018, RS&H updated the GHG inventory to include data for fiscal year 2017, giving the city multiple reference points to evaluate GHG emissions trends.
The Basic GHG Emmisions Equation
Since GHG emissions are not typically measured at the source, they must be estimated from data on emissions-generating activities, such as fuel consumption. Both the 2013 and 2017 inventories were completed in accordance with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability protocols. GHG emissions were quantified using calculations to determine emissions based on activity data and emission factors. The basic equation used is:
Activity Data X Emission Factor = Emissions
The completed inventory includes all significant sectors and emissions sources present in the community, including: residential, commercial, industrial, transportation, water, wastewater, waste, and fugitive emissions. To understand and quantify emissions, RS&H collected extensive data from the City, as well as from external service providers such as Miami-Dade County and local utilities.
The Future of Sustainability for Coral Gables
The GHG emissions forecast projected future emissions through 2030 based on a business as usual (BAU) scenario. The forecast used population growth projections for Miami-Dade County and U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) projections for future energy use to estimate what future emissions increases would be if emissions reduction strategies are not implemented.
Together, the inventory and forecast allow the local government to understand present and future emissions trends. They also provide the information needed to establish emissions reduction targets. These targets inform policy-makers as they design and implement strategic measures to reduce and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.