Jefferson County greenhouse gas emissions down

Port Townsend Paper Co., Jefferson PUD more green; transportation increasing

PORT TOWNSEND — The Climate Action Committee will host two presentations outlining how Jefferson County has reduced its emissions of greenhouse gasses by 40 percent between 2005 and 2018.

The committee has planned two Zoom presentation days — the presentation will be the same — with the first from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Thursday and the second from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 17, said Diane McDade, citizen representative on the committee.

McDade and committee chair Cindy Jayne hope to have the last 30 minutes of each meeting be a question-and-answer session, with the public asking questions through the Zoom chat feature, about the presentation.

The Tuesday meeting can accessed with Zoom meeting ID 993 3771 8761, passcode 469264. The Thursday meeting can be accessed with meeting ID 990 7236 7634, passcode 302719.

Both meetings can also be accessed by calling 253-215-8782.

The study showed significant decreases in emissions of greenhouse gasses (GHG) by the Jefferson County Public Utility District and the Port Townsend Paper Corporations. However, transportation emissions continue to rise.

The committee initially planned a large Earth Day event in April with guest speakers and a presentation of the findings for the 2017-18 emissions study, but they canceled the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic and didn’t meet for a few months as well, McDade said in a Thursday phone interview.

The Jefferson PUD reduced emissions by about 98 percent when it took over as the primary electricity provider from Puget Sound Energy in 2013 and contracted with the Bonneville Power Association (BPA), which uses hydropower for electricity generation, Jayne said.

The Port Townsend Paper Corporation reduced its emissions by 52 percent between 2005 and 2018 and is unrelated to the change to the PUD, as PTPC had already been using BPA for its electricity, according to the presentation.

The GHG emission that has gone up is from transportation county wide, with 66 percent of total emissions stemming from transportation caused by increased driving stemming from a 12 percent increase in population, a 19 percent increase in licensed drivers and a 6.3 percent increase in miles driven per capita, according the presentation.

The study was commissioned by the Jefferson County and City of Port Townsend governments to evaluate how the county has been doing in reducing emissions in light of climate change and how the county is doing with reaching its goal of reducing its emissions by 80 percent compared with levels in 1990, which are estimated to be 3 percent lower than 2005 levels, according to the presentation.

The committee members will give a more in-depth look at the specifics of the study during their presentations and will also have input from Port Townsend City Manager John Mauro, who has experience with sustainability issues a previous position in New Zealand, Jayne said.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5 or at [email protected].

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