The city of El Paso will move forward with a plan to combat climate change following one of the hottest years recorded in the city’s history. During its Jan. 3 meeting, the El Paso City Council approved a $1.2 million design contract with AECOM Technical Services Inc. to help the city develop its first formalized Climate Action Plan (CAP).
El Paso shattered heat records in 2023 with 44 consecutive days of triple-digit heat, according to the National Weather Service. As temperatures rise year after year, the city took action to produce its own CAP in time to qualify for an implementation grant of up to $500 million from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Climate Pollution Reduction Grants (CPRG) program.
The CPRG program is a $5 billion initiative to enable states, government, tribes and territories to design and implement plans to combat climate change. The application deadline is April 1, 2024.
The city’s CAP will identify short- and long-term goals, measures and policies the city will implement to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and climate risk adaptation in transportation, buildings, waste management, land use, energy, water, industrial processes and more.
The CAP will help the city promote a healthy, sustainable community while reducing operational energy consumption. A key goal of the plan is to create a greenhouse gas inventory of the six primary gas pollutants – including carbon dioxide and methane – and compile emission projections through 2050. This information will help inform the city how to remediate local air pollution.
El Paso is not the only Texas city working to develop and implement sweeping climate change solutions. San Antonio received a $1 million CPRG grant in October 2023 to update and implement its Climate Action & Adaptation Plan. The plan seeks to enhance energy efficiency, reduce emissions and boost the city’s resilience. As part of the plan, the city will expand renewable energy sources, improve public transportation and enhance energy efficiency in city-owned buildings.
The city of Dallas adopted its own Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan (CCEP) in 2020 to improve quality of life, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve city resiliency in the face of climate change. The city’s goals include increasing building energy efficiency, generating and using renewable energy sources and increasing community access to transportation options. Other goals include protecting water sources, expanding green ecosystems and increasing access to healthy food.
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Photo courtesy of the city of El Paso.