Climate change is now widely recognized as a significant threat to the planet. Human activities resulting in the release of carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” are causing average air and water temperatures to rise, changing the amounts and intensity of rainfall, and causing a rise in sea levels.
In the City of Falls Church, a key example of the impact of a changing climate is an increased chance of more severe rainfall and storm events posing a risk of flooding and damage to homes and other property.
City of Falls Church Climate and Energy Plan
In 2017, Falls Church adopted the regional goals established by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG), to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases below 2005 levels by 20 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. In 2020, the City supported the adoption of a regional interim goal by MWCOG to achieve a 50% reduction in regional GHG emissions by 2030. The City has not, however, adopted the national goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, as have some neighboring jurisdictions, such as Fairfax County.
In May of 2021, VPIS called on the City to strengthen its greenhouse gas reduction targets and to “work with stakeholders to develop a plan of action for making progress toward the 2030 and 2050 climate change goals and measuring progress over time.” The Falls Church Citizens for a Better City also urged the City to take climate change action, endorsing the VPIS letter.
The City developed a draft Climate Change Mitigation Energy Action Plan in mid-2021 and, in October, 2021, VPIS wrote to the City of Falls Church providing comments on the draft plan, noting that although the draft plan “is a good start, it needs significant improvement with respect to the measures it suggests and commitment to management actions that will assure that the suggested measures are implemented.”
In early 2023, the hired a consultant to develop the plan and to focus on energy use in the key sectors of transportation and buildings. VPIS will monitor the development of elements of the City climate and energy plan and provide comments where needed.
For more information on climate change in Falls Church, contact Jeff Peterson; VPIS Board Member