Menlo Park became the first city in the U.S. to set a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 on Tuesday when the City Council moved forward with a new plan to slash carbon emissions citywide.
Menlo Park is the first U.S. city to set this goal, according to Menlo Park environmental nonprofit Menlo Spark. The city aims to achieve it by cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 90% from 2005 levels and focusing on carbon removal efforts for the remaining 10%.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic fallout associated with it struck, the city’s Environmental Quality Commission, which has been developing recommendations for the plan, has narrowed the scope of the project from 77 strategies to six, for now.
The updated climate action plan would replace the city’s current goal, which is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 27% below 2005 levels by 2020. The most current data, from 2017, indicates the city has reduced emissions by about 18.6%.
The new climate action plan would call on Menlo Park to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90% of 2005 levels by 2030, to about 34,900 tons down from 349,000 tons in 2005. This would be done by dramatically cutting the amount of greenhouse gases being generated from vehicles, natural gas and waste, and completely eliminating the amount of greenhouse gases from generating electricity. That would be done through the city’s partnership with Peninsula Clean Energy, which currently provides 90% clean and renewable energy. The local nonprofit energy provider is working to be greenhouse gas free by 2021 and provide 100% renewable energy around the clock by 2025, according to its website.