Photo of Eugene Oregon

In Brief: December 2013 Eugene Sustainability Commission Report

Topics Include: Climate, Waste, Consumption and Education

Item #1: Council Review of Climate Action Plans: The Eugene City Council will be hosting the first of two work sessions to discuss the city’s climate action planning on February 19, 2014. This work session will focus on the ICAP (Internal Climate Action Plan), in response to a request from the Eugene City Sustainability Commission.

Eugene’s ICAP was created in 2009 to address the Council’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from city operations and achieving carbon neutrality by 2020. The ICAP includes numerous strategies that aim to reduce emissions by 55%, with the purchase of carbon offsets starting in 2020 to account for the additional 45%.

A second work session is being planned, though not yet scheduled, focused on a proposed ordinance from Our Children’s Trust (OCT) that calls for the development of a Comprehensive Climate Recovery Plan. This plan aims to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere to no more than 350 parts per million.

The OCT ordinance also aims to establish a new chapter in the Eugene City Code, called “Climate for Future Generations.”  This new chapter would be directed at taking “all necessary action to meet [Eugene’s] goal to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions to 10% below 1990 levels by 2020.” It is rumored that time travel may be involved.

Item #2: Sustainable Consumption & Production: At the invitation of the United Nations Environmental Program, Eugene City Sustainability Liaison Babe O’Sullivan recently attended NARSPAC, the North American Roundtable on Sustainable Production and Consumption. NARSPAC is a group of US and Canadian government representatives and international and academic organizations working toward the UN’s “10 Year Framework of Programs on Sustainable Consumption and Production. The NARSPAC meeting covered international sustainable development goals and directed discussion of strategic opportunities for implementation.

Item #3: Internal Construction Waste Management: Through a number of processes and initiatives, Eugene’s Public Works Department has been working to maximize the recycling and reuse of construction waste materials. Diversion rates for 2012 were 91%, a 9% increase over 2011’s diversion rates and a definitive sign of progress. This is part of the city’s larger Zero Waste Initiative, adopted by City Council in 2009.

Item #4: University of Oregon Student Projects: The University of Oregon’s OLIS Program (Oregon in Leadership) have completed a number of projects of the City of Eugene. Student teams and city staff mentors, working as part of the Sustainability Plans and Indicators course, work on projects such as designing streets for alternative transportation; climate change and vulnerable populations; and mitigating system risk to climate change, natural hazards, and energy prices.