Raleigh counts its greenhouse gas emissions

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City councilors learned Tuesday just how much greenhouse gas emissions they’re putting into the atmosphere. Three years ago the city council set a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent, and a new emissions inventory sets 2007 as the baseline for making those reductions.

Harrison Rue, the consultant with ICF International who prepared the report, told councilors that the emissions inventory included all direct and indirect sources, from electricity used to light city buildings to employee travel.

Rue said the city largest electricity user was water treatment, which accounted for half of the city’s power bill. Raleigh supplies water not just for the city but for towns in the region, including Garner and Knightdale. He applauded the city’s growing use of hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles and other measures to reduce emissions.

The full report is below, but here are some of the highlights:

In 2007 the city used:

  • 835,346 gallons of gasoline
  • 882,315 gallons of diesel
  • 444,979 gallons of biodiesel

In 2005, the most recent available data, the city’s electricity came from:

  • Coal, 50.46 percent
  • Nuclear, 38.74 percent
  • Gas, 4.95 percent
  • The rest came from hydroelectric, oil and other combustible fuels
  • None came from solar or wind

Electricity accounted for more than half of the city’s emissions. From the report: “The City of Raleigh’s buildings, facilities, water and wastewater pumping and treatment plants, and lighting installations consume electricity that is mostly produced through the combustion of fossil fuels. The combustion of these fuels typically yields CO2, and to a lesser extent, N2O and CH4. Although these emissions are generated by power plants outside of the City’s direct control, by creating demand for this electricity, the City is indirectly responsible for these emissions.”

Emissions by department:

  • Public utilities, 35 percent
  • Solid Waste Services, 28 percent
  • Public Works, 15 percent
  • Convention Center, 7 percent
  • Parks and Recreation, 5 percent
  • Downtown shared facilities, 4 percent
  • Police, 3 percent
  • Fire, 2 percent
  • Other, 1 percent


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