Kenney Releases Master Plan to Fight Climate Change in Philly

The mayor has an ambitious goal to create a 100 percent carbon-free electricity grid by 2050.

climate change report, philadelphia energy solutions

Photo via simonkr/

The city has released a new and improved plan to fight climate change.

The Powering Our Future report, released this week, includes an ambitious master plan to achieve a 100 percent carbon-free electricity grid by 2050.

The report comes a little under a year after the city first published a public draft of the plan, which detailed ways to monitor energy usage and curb climate change. (That release followed President Trump’s choice to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.)

The draft was compiled by the Office of Sustainability, which held meetings with environmental advocacy groups and issue experts starting in spring 2017 and made the decision to shift its focus “from a shorter-term energy plan to a long-term vision for Philadelphia.” The final report follows a feedback period from stakeholders and experts.

The report found that, as of 2014, the city had a carbon footprint of 17.5 greenhouse gas emissions. (That number has slowly fallen since at least 2006, when it stood at 21.1 greenhouse gas emissions.) According to a 2018 study that analyzed the carbon footprints of 13,000 cities, Philadelphia’s carbon footprint stands 57th per capita.

According to the city’s analysis in 2014, 79 percent of citywide carbon emissions in Philadelphia come from buildings and industrial users, while 17 percent come from transportation and vehicles, and just 3 percent come from waste.

“Climate change is real, and it’s already affecting Philadelphians,” Kenney said in a statement. “Philadelphia will continue to identify and implement strategies to cut carbon pollution and protect our most vulnerable residents from the changing climate.”

Here are the goals of the report:

  • Cut citywide carbon pollution 25 percent by 2025 (from 2006 levels)
  • Reduce carbon pollution from city-owned buildings and streetlights 50 percent by 2030
  • Cut citywide pollution 80 percent by 2050 (from 2006 levels)
  • As mentioned, achieve a 100 percent carbon-free electricity grid by 2050
climate change plan

Image via the Office of Sustainability

To get there, the city plans to:

  • Shift toward a clean energy supply by encouraging power plants in the region to generate carbon-free electricity
  • Install solar panels on rooftops and other surfaces throughout the city
  • Invite business and home owners to conserve energy when they can (and see their energy bills shrink as a result)
  • Transition to low-carbon thermal energy by switching from oil and gas furnaces to microgrids, high-efficiency heat pumps, geothermal and solar heating systems and renewable bio gas
  • Devise a plan to cut down on energy used by factories, shipping and refineries

To learn more and read the full Powering Our Future report, click here.