City Council puts Knoxville on the map with passing of carbon goals

On Tuesday, Knoxville’s City Council unanimously voted to pass carbon reduction goals that puts the Scruffy City on the map for addressing climate change.

Kate Tracy and Maggie Shober | August 15, 2019 | Climate Change, Energy Policy, Tennessee
Erin Gill, Knoxville’s Director of Sustainability, addresses Knoxville City Council 8/13

On Tuesday, Knoxville’s City Council unanimously voted to pass city carbon goals proposed earlier this summer. Take a look at a deeper dive on these goals and how they will affect Knoxville.

The newly passed goals are:

  • Cut city government emissions 50% from 2005 levels by 2030
  • Cut community-wide emissions 80% by 2050
Knoxville: Existing and Proposed GHG Emission Reduction Goals. Image from Knoxville Sustainability Office; note that all emission reduction goals in this blog use 2005 as a baseline unless indicated otherwise.

This is just the start, and more difficult questions and planning are yet to come. These carbon reduction goals will serve as a target for Knoxville’s next mayor to achieve and determine how to meet these goals. We cannot wait until 2029, or after the next administration to take action and meet the 2030 targets.

SACE recognizes that some sectors will be easier to decarbonize than others. For instance, the city has more control over things like how much energy city government buildings use, and what kinds of cars and buses the city will transition into their fleet. (Hopefully electric ones!) On the other hand, the city has less control over how our power is generated (that is determined by TVA) and how city residents commute to work.

The next mayor of Knoxville will play a key role in how the city addresses the climate crisis moving forward and achieves these newly-passed carbon goals. To help inform voters, SACE  hosted a forum for mayoral candidates recently, and heard their positions on energy related issues that affect all Knoxvillians. There were even two questions about these very climate goals! Check out our summary of the July forum here, including a link to the video from the forum to learn where the candidates stand on energy production and consumption for Knoxville.

Early voting in Knoxville is happening now until, August 22nd. The primary voting day is August 27th. Find your polling place here.

SACE looks forward to working with the next administration on achieving and even exceeding these goals! We applaud City Council and Mayor Rogero for taking the first big step to draft and pass goals for our city. Addressing the climate crisis now will help us mitigate some of worst impacts of the climate change and keep communities healthy and safe for years to come.

Kate Tracy
This blog was written by a former staff member of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
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