Dane County makes big plans to slash greenhouse gases in less than a decade

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Community leaders in Dane County rolled out a new climate action plan they hope will cut greenhouse gas emissions in Dane County in half by the end of the decade and make the whole county carbon-neutral by mid-century.

“While the coronavirus crisis is more immediate, climate change is a slower moving risk and is one of the greatest challenges of our generation,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said.

Timed to coincide with the week the nation marks fifty years since the first Earth Day, the new 2020 Dane County Climate Action Plan – Today’s Opportunity for a Better Tomorrow (CAP) is designed to find ways to reduce energy use in buildings, increase use of renewable energy, and reduce emissions for the transportation and waste sectors.

“We cannot wait for the federal government – we must lead the effort at the local level and do our part to address the climate crisis,” Parisi continued. “Now more than ever the effort of local elected officials, residents, business and community leaders across Dane County is required to produce a resilient climate-ready economy, carbon-free future.”

The plan sets goals for Dane County to source a third of its electricity needs from solar power and half from wind by 2030. It also wants to process half of livestock manure to reduce methane emissions and limit phosphorus in lakes. Additionally, the report states this part of the plan will provide a new revenue source for farmers.

“The technology to meaningfully reduce our carbon footprint already exists and has been proven elsewhere at scale,” Chad Sorenson, CEO of SunPeak said.

They also plan on an increase in electric vehicle sales and move to running heavy-duty trucks on electricity or natural gas. Beyond changing what powers their vehicles, the county also plans to get people to take public transit or carpool more frequently or to ride their bikes.

The report then argues these actions will result in major economic and health benefits, lead to energy security, and address racial and economic equality. (Read the full report)