With the clock ticking on preserving the planet, leaders at the local level are taking the threat seriously and tackling energy issues to create a positive change that will benefit future generations.
The latest to join the fight against the climate crisis is the Washington, D.C., suburb of Arlington County, Virginia, which recently announced their plans to have net-zero emissions and become carbon neutral by 2050.
Despite Arlington County’s recent announcement, they have been working for more than a decade now to become more eco-friendly. According to Adam Segel-Moss, the county’s energy outreach specialist for the leadership in environmental and energy design, the process started in 2007 by cutting greenhouse gas emissions by a sizeable amount.
“To date, the county has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 24% from 2007-2017,” Segel-Moss said.
He explained how Arlington County plans to build on its previous accomplishments — and even take them a step further.
“We are going to have more stringent energy codes that make renovated buildings more energy efficient, incentivizing new buildings to be designed, built, and operated more efficiently than is required by code,” Segel-Moss said.
Segel-Moss also explained that the funding the county will receive will be put to good use to help “local and regional needs.” He also said transportation will go through a change, as the county aims to make it more energy efficient.
A question that a lot of people have is how this eco-friendly transformation will affect the residents of Arlington County. However, Segel-Ross is confident the changes will have very little effect on everyone’s daily routines.
“We expect these changes to be incremental and to have little effect on day-to-day life,” he said. “There will be small changes such as cleaner air due to electric vehicles and electric school buses being used. However, much of the work we do is invisible, such as building efficiency, accelerating a clean electric grid, creating low-carbon transit options, and ensuring new development is net-zero or well above baseline building code.”
The changing climate has become one of the biggest issues in the political arena, and more officials from every level of government have started to take notice — from Arlington County to every presidential candidate.
Said Segel-Ross: “We have no choice but to do our part. Climate change is serious. Businesses, residents, and governments must act.”