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Climate Action Plan
Reducing Memphis' contributions to climate change
Posted on 09/19/2019
By Leah Kraus, Digital Content Coordinator

In an effort to reduce the Memphis community’s carbon footprint, Memphis and Shelby County have worked together to develop a Climate Action Plan – framework that measures, and will ultimately, help lessen Memphis’ contributions to climate change. 

Flooding, extreme heat and drought, and damaging wind that could become more severe and frequent, are several climate threats that Memphis faces in the future due to climate change. 

The major tasks of the Climate Action Plan include: understanding our community's greenhouse gas emissions, setting both challenging and achievable goals in reducing those emissions, and figuring out the best course of action in hitting those goals. 

Climate Action Plan

Using data collected in 2016, Memphis and Shelby County concluded that the major sources of emissions were from three areas: energy, transportation, and waste. Energy -- including emissions from energy used in residential, commercial/ institutional, and industrial buildings, accounted for 46 percent, transportation -- including passenger, freight, on-road and off-road vehicles, accounted for 42 percent, and waste -- including solid waste disposal in landfills and wastewater treatment processes, accounted for 12 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions. 

In the Climate Action Plan, priority actions have been identified to help reduce emissions in these three key areas. 

Priority actions for energy: improve the energy efficiency of buildings and key infrastructure, transform our energy supply, and increase green infrastructure and community resilience. 

Priority Action - Energy
Priority actions for transportation: shift to low-carbon transportation modes and reduce reliance on automobiles, as well as set the stage for vehicle electrification.

Priority Action - Transportation
Priority actions for waste: reduce waste and move towards a zero-waste future, promote a cultural shift in the community’s approach to waste, and improve practices and technology at wastewater treatment plants and landfills.

Priority Action - Waste
The City of Memphis has already taken action in several ways including investing in LED retrofits for fire stations, and working with an energy performance contractor to renovate City Hall to make it more efficient. The City also implemented improvements at Benjamin Hooks Library, like LED lighting, HVAC and lighting controls and water conservation measures. 

Memphis began the climate action planning process in June 2018 with the Memphis 3.0 comprehensive planning process. The Climate Action Plan outlines how Memphis can reduce greenhouse gas emissions below 2016 levels 15 percent by 2020, 51 percent by 2035, and 71 percent by 2050. 

Click here to read the Climate Action Plan draft. 

On Tuesday, September 24, a screening of the film “Sustainable Cities: Building a Greener Memphis” and discussion on how climate change will affect cities along the Mississippi River will take place in New York, NY as part of Climate Week. Click here to learn more. You can also watch the video here

Visit to learn about Climate Week in New York City. 

How the City is working to protect our environment: 
Proposed Freshwater Institute
MLGW's Power Supply Advisory efforts

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