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  • Supervisors’ adopt new sustainability plan to reduce climate impacts, build resilience in County operations

    Oct 16, 2018 | Read More News
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    File: Tucson from Painted HillsThe Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Oct. 16 to adopt a new seven-year sustainability plan that seeks to deepen Pima County’s commitment to environmental sustainability by adopting rigorous greenhouse gas reduction targets and expanding other sustainability efforts in numerous areas of the county. The plan is an update of previous sustainability plans and is the follow up to the climate resolutions adopted by the Board in the summer of 2017 that affirmed the County’s commitment to the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

    The Supervisors first adopted a five-year sustainability plan in 2008, then again in 2013. Over the past four years alone, the County has saved approximately $14 million in avoided costs, including more than $8 million in energy costs, by emphasizing energy efficiency and scaling up renewable energy production. 

    The new plan will build on the success of previous iterations, which have been used as a model by other counties across the country for developing their own sustainability plans. The plan provides a roadmap for the county to integrate emerging low carbon technologies such as adding electric vehicles to the county fleet, and climate adaptation strategies to cool down our urban environment with green infrastructure and trees irrigated with rainwater. Since the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan was established in 1999, the county has been a regional leader in conserving our natural resources and the Sustainable Action Plan is natural progression of these efforts. 

    Among the goals for the 2018-2025 plan are:
    • Reduce carbon emissions from County operations by 50 percent by 2025 in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement.
    • Reduce the intensity of potable water use in County operations by 15 percent by 2025 and continue allocating reclaimed water for groundwater recharge.
    • Utilize the County’s on-going protection and restoration of extensive healthy landscapes as a strategy for climate mitigation and frontline adaptation by protecting native species and natural and cultural resources, installing green infrastructure and restoring riparian areas, and expanding support for local food systems.
    • Adopt mindful purchasing practices that are preferential toward environmentally-friendly (or “green”) office products and equipment and adopt mindful disposal practices that make landfills the destination of last resort.
    • Prepare Pima County employees for climate extremes through ongoing trainings.
    The 2018-2025 Sustainable Action Plan for County Operations is available online or by request from the Office of Sustainability and Conservation.