City releases community-wide GHG/carbon inventory and targets

Published on February 08, 2024


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The City of Grand Rapids today published a community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory. The inventory includes the City’s community-wide, science-based GHG/carbon emissions reduction goal of 62.8% reduction per capita by 2030 and 100% reduction per capita by 2050. This inventory is being used to help develop mitigation strategies that can be included in the community-wide Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) that the City’s Office of Sustainability is currently drafting.

The GHG emissions inventory was conducted by ICLEI–Local Governments for Sustainability USA (ICLEI USA), and supported by the E.H.Zero initiative, a partnership between the City, U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan and the Urban Core Collective. The Grand Rapids community, as a whole, generated 2,492,064 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCO2e) in 2019. That number is the baseline for the 2030 and 2050 targets. The ICLEI USA-recommended science-based targets of 62.8% by 2030 and 100% by 2050 serve as a guide for the community to reduce GHG emissions in line with the Paris Climate Accord targets. These targets have been adopted and formally embraced by City Manager Mark Washington.

Washington emphasized that, “We know that without goals and measures, sustainability commitments might be aspirational but not transformational. It is paramount that we work in partnership with our residents and employers to identify effective ways to achieve our community-wide targets. While these strategies will require financial investment, many can provide near-immediate returns on investment (energy efficiency projects) and others have resilience benefits that will drastically reduce and possibly eliminate future costs resulting from climate impacts.”

The three largest sectors generating GHG emissions include residential and commercial buildings (38.5%), transportation (30.1%) and industry (25.1%). These emissions are generated predominantly by consuming electricity (37%), burning natural gas (29%) and burning gasoline in vehicles (18%). When digging into the details, the data reveals the following as the largest generators of GHGs:

  • Gasoline for the transportation sector: 458,236 MTCO2e
  • Electricity for the industrial sector: 447,318 MTCO2e
  • Natural gas for the residential building sector (large and small residential): 363,048 MTCO2e
  • Electricity for the residential building sector (large and small residential): 329,838 MTCO2e
  • Natural gas for the industrial sector: 178,262 MTCO2e
  • Diesel for the transportation sector: 166,810 MTCO2e
  • Natural gas for the commercial building sector: 157,070 MTCO2e
  • Off-road transportation: 109,868 MTCO2e

Actual data for electricity, natural gas and steam were collected from Consumers Energy, DTE Energy and Vicinity Energy. All transportation related emissions are estimated based on Google Environmental Insights Explorer. ICLEI USA used the U.S. EPA’s Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID) to convert electricity consumption to GHG/carbon emissions.

The City of Grand Rapids calculated its own municipal GHG/carbon emissions in 2019, which equaled 54,983 MTCO2e, or 2.21% of the overall community-wide GHG/carbon emissions.

The City’s Office of Sustainability is in the process of co-creating the CAAP with the community, including the Community Collaboration on Climate Change (known as C4), and the City’s climate advisory teams. The CAAP will act as a roadmap of recommended strategies and actions for how the community can reduce GHG emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change on our people, environment and infrastructure. The data from this inventory informs the GHG/carbon reduction (climate mitigation) strategy development for the City’s CAAP.

Those interested in learning more about the City’s community-wide GHG emissions inventory are invited to participate in a 6 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 27 informational webinar hosted by The Office of Sustainability and ICLEI USA. Registration for this free webinar can be made by emailing The full GHG Emissions Inventory report and additional information about this work can be found on the City’s Climate Action and Adaptation website.

Those interested expressing their opinion about the City’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan are invited to take a quick three question survey. The survey closes Thursday, Feb. 29.

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