Prince William County committed in 2020 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 50% of the 2005 level in 2030.
Since 2005, emissions have increased by almost 20%. Cutting today’s 5 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent to 2.1 MMTCO2e cannot be accomplished by continuing “business as usual.”
Transportation generates roughly half the emissions in Prince William. The pandemic demonstrated we can transform how we commute to work, reduce vehicle miles traveled and reduce emissions from tailpipes.
Creating and implementing a “climate action plan” will require dedicating staff and hiring contractors. Installing solar panels systems won’t be cheap.
Electric vehicles will help cut emissions, but in 2050 half the vehicles will still be fueled by gasoline or diesel. The No. 1 way to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the county is to reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled by cars.
There’s a way to do that and find funding for other climate actions. County supervisors could redirect funding away from the proposed Va. 28 Bypass/Godwin Drive Extended and use that $18 million a year planned for that road’s bonds to fund a climate action plan.
Budgets reveal priorities. The supervisors will tell us in April if they are serious about addressing climate change or if they intend to make emissions worse by building a road designed for pre-pandemic long-distance commuters.