When it comes to addressing climate change and pollution, Duluth aims to lead by example. Mayor Larson originally committed the City of Duluth to meet the standards set through the Paris Agreement, to reduce emissions 80% by 2050, based on 2008 levels. However, in 2021, the City Council approved a Climate Emergency Declaration which pushed for us to exceed those goals. Since then, the City has now adopted a science-based goal, to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. This work will be accomplished through:
- Energy conservation
- Renewable energy implementation
- Adapting our infrastructure to our changing climate
- Supporting multi-modal transportation
- Care of natural areas and open spaces
Duluth’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in municipal operations are led by the Sustainability department in collaboration with the Energy Team. Learn more about city initiatives in the tabs on the left and get a snapshot of our GHG emissions and projects below.
The graph below shows City Municipal Emissions of Carbon Dioxide and other greenhouse gasses, which are represented as carbon dioxide (CO2 equivalent or CO2e). We use CO2e so we can easily compare our emissions from year to year. The calculations are based on Duluth's energy use data (electricity, natural gas, and gasoline/diesel use) that is uploaded into the Clear Path greenhouse gas calculator from ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability). Clear Path employs emissions standards set by the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC). By combining GPC with our unique city data, Clear Path ensures the City of Duluth has the most accurate emissions calculations possible. Since 2021, the City reports emissions through the Carbon Disclosure Project.
Comparison of CO2e by sector and year over all official inventories
||Buildings and Facilities
||Street Lights and Traffic Signals
||Water and Wastewater Treatment Facilities
2008 - baseline emissions emissions year, calculated by Wenck Associates, Inc. This baseline is what we compare current emission levels to, to measure the success of our carbon reduction strategies.
1996 - carbon inventory calculated using ICLEI's Clear Path tool, and it reveals that the City of Duluth's greenhouse gas emissions remained relatively steady until establishment of an energy fund and prioritizing emissions reductions.