Achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement will require both deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and the removal of carbon from the atmosphere. One of Nature's critical function is acting as a carbon sink. Just as nature has a life-cycle, so do carbon emissions. To integrate these approaches requires an analysis of lifecycle GHG emissions associated with products and services consumed within a community and an estimation of the ability of community's natural resources to remove and store emissions. A balance of carbon emissions and removals may not exist within a community. Therefore local governments with a stated goal of carbon neutrality, may consider the purchase of carbon offsets.
Measured, quantitative outcomes / project impact
ICLEI USA provided technical advisory services at the request of the Climate Smart citizen task force of Philipstown New York. ICLEI contributed to the development of a baseline estimate for "net" GHG emissions after removals. The object of the analysis was to inform the development of a Climate Action Plan to outline the policies and actions local government, community partners, and individuals could take to measurably reduce emissions and adapt to unavoidable climate change. The task force recommended that the Town adopt the analysis given that it best localizes the global emissions resulting from the community’s actions and unites efforts to promote community health, a growing local economy, environmental stewardship and other sustainability initiatives under the common banner of a collective plan to address climate change. The town set a goal of carbon neutrality by 2040 and explored opportunities to do that with and without the purchase of carbon offsets.