Johnson County has issued its first-ever communitywide, or countywide, greenhouse gas inventory for the years 2010 and 2020. The findings reveal a nearly 28% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions over the decade in the county overall.
Inventory sectors examined include commercial and industrial energy, residential energy, transportation, agriculture, stationary fuel combustion and solid waste. Emissions in all sectors decreased from 2010 to 2020 by more than 25%, with the exception of transportation, which decreased barely 2%, and solid waste, which is a relatively small contributor and had a 16.6% increase that matches the population increase over the decade. Transportation supplanted commercial and industrial energy as the predominant sector of measured emissions.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions arise primarily from human use of fossil fuels. The emissions warm the atmosphere, and the resulting weather and climate effects are costly to human and natural life as well as economies, structures and infrastructure. Becky Soglin, sustainability coordinator in the County’s Planning, Development and Sustainability Department, said GHG emissions inventories help show trends and spur action.
“The inventory results indicate that decreased coal use, energy efficiencies, and increased renewable energy such as wind are making a positive difference,” Soglin said. “The findings point to where we can focus greenhouse gas reduction efforts and collaborate with others.”
A science-based calculation included in the report indicates the need for a nearly 56% further reduction by 2030 from 2020 emission levels even as the population further increases. The Johnson County Board of Supervisors has already discussed with sustainability and grants staff leveraging climate action funds and programs available through the Inflation Reduction Act.
The inventories were completed by the County’s Planning, Development and Sustainability Department and the University of Northern Iowa Center for Energy and Environmental Education in partnership with ICLEI—Local Governments for Sustainability.
The report can be accessed at www.johnsoncountyiowa.gov/sustainability. In addition, the website provides links to a recording of the April 19, 2023, inventory presentation to the Board of Supervisors and the presentation slides.
Previously Johnson County had completed GHG emissions inventories only for its operations, which includes County government buildings and fleet.