Why Climate Change Matters
Climate change is an observed phenomenon where global, regional, and local climate patterns are in flux because of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, which is attributable to the mass consumption of fossil fuels namely for transportation, electricity, and heat. Over the past century alone the average surface air temperature has increased by almost 2 degrees making the current timeframe the warmest in modern civilization.
Communities are experiencing more frequent and intense storms, flooding, heat waves, droughts, and other impacts as a result of climate change. ARC takes seriously its responsibility to develop climate action and resilience plans and strategies that will support the region and its individual communities to best mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapt to changing conditions. Taking action on climate change will work towards addressing this challenge while also protecting human health and improving livelihoods and well-being, increasing economic mobility, and creating a competitive economy that benefits everyone.
ARC’s Strategies to Mitigate Climate Change
In metro Atlanta, the transportation and building sectors generate the largest share of GHG emissions. ARC develops strategies for reducing GHG emissions through programs such as Georgia Commute Options (the regional transportation demand management strategy), the Livable Centers Initiative (LCI), and Green Communities. ARC is also investigating ways to address climate change in its other programs. GHG mitigation strategies can have mutually beneficial outcomes for public health and mobility, while also producing environmental and climate resilience benefits, as well.
ARC’s Climate Resilience Strategies
Healthy, safe and livable communities, and a competitive, inclusive and resilient economy, are part of ARC’s goals for the Atlanta Region. This means considering how climate change will impact the region and how to prepare for and adapt to those changes. As an example, planning to ensure safe and reliable infrastructure is a key objective outlined in the Atlanta Region’s Plan. Weather disruptions to the transportation system negatively impact the quality of life and the economic viability of the Atlanta region. Flooding, snow and ice storms, and heat waves all disrupt travel and impact residents and travelers alike. Furthermore, climate change will influence the region’s water supply and natural resources. With climate models predicting more extremes in the future, there has never been a better time to understand and plan for the vulnerabilities facing our physical and natural systems and our communities.
To ensure the region’s communities are working to mitigate climate change and become more resilient to both current and future extreme weather conditions, ARC is currently working on and has worked over the past few years on plans related to climate mitigation and resilience.
Current Climate Change and Resilience Work
Climate Pollution Reduction Grant – Climate Action Planning for the 29-county Atlanta-MSA
Through the Inflation Reduction Act, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Pollution Reduction Grant (CPRG) has provided funding to states and regions to develop climate action plans that identify ways to reduce GHG emissions and other harmful air pollution. ARC is leading the planning effort for the 29-county Atlanta-Metropolitan Statistical Area, and Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division, Air Protection Branch is leading the planning effort for the remaining 130 counties in Georgia.
A subsequent part of the CPRG program will provide $4.6 billion in competitive implementation funds to communities seeking to implement projects and actions that are outlined in the plans developed by ARC and the State. These funds are meant to address actions as identified in the Primary Climate Action Plan (PCAP), which will address the transportation and building sectors, and may include items such as fleet electrification, solar installations, energy efficiency retrofits, etc. If your local government is planning to apply for implementation funds, it is important that your voice is heard during the creation of the PCAP, which will be finalized in February 2024.
A Comprehensive Climate Action Plan (CCAP) will continue the work started during the PCAP planning process and will capture strategies to reduce GHGs across all major emissions sectors.
Status: Kickoff – October 2024. Priority Climate Action Plan due March 1, 2024. Comprehensive Climate Action Plan due Fall 2025. Project status report and completion due Fall 2027
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Regional Transportation Electrification Plan
The Regional Transportation Electrification Plan (RTEP) for ARC’s 20-county MPO area will provide a clear and concise strategy to equitably accelerate the adoption of EVs, reduce transportation-related GHG emissions, and position the region’s workforce to support resulting investments.
Status: Currently underway. Project completion anticipated Spring 2024.
Georgia Energyshed Project
As envisioned, the Georgia Energyshed (G-SHED) will analyze the benefits, costs, and effects of various electricity generation, distribution, and usage-and-demand scenarios via use-case tests and modeling. That data will then be used to inform policy decisions at the local level and the implementation of new ideas for the 11-county metro Atlanta area as defined by the ARC. The project is being led by Georgia Tech with ARC as part of the policy development and modeling feedback team.
Status: Currently underway. Project completion anticipated Spring 2026.
Regional Local Government Clean Electricity Plan
ARC’s Regional Clean Electricity Plan for Local Governments in Metro Atlanta will create a regional plan and roadmap that will help local governments identify opportunities for clean electricity, energy efficiency, and energy management for their buildings and operations.
This project will include 11 counties and 75 cities that, in total, are home to more than 5 million people. The project will help elected leaders and key staff envision and plan a path towards 100% clean electricity, while also outlining opportunities for energy savings in government buildings and operations by 2035.
Status: Estimated kickoff – January 2024. Project completion anticipated Summer 2025.
Previous Climate Change and Resilience Work