Charlottesville Emissions Reports
In accordance to the City's commitment to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and to track progress towards our community climate goals, Charlottesville conducts an annual Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory.
Emissions inventories measure and track community-wide greenhouse gas emissions associated with activities within the City of Charlottesville’s jurisdictional boundary. Inventories are compiled according to established reporting protocol standards. GHG Emission Inventories are identified by the calendar year in which activity occurred. The time it takes for data from that year to become available often means that there is a ~2 year delay before an inventory dataset can be fully compiled.
Data collection for the 2020 and 2021 inventories was delayed more than normal due to COVID-19. The inventory itself was also heavily impacted by the effects of the pandemic. Due to stay-at-home orders and the reduction of GHG-producing activities, emissions dropped significantly in 2020. Emissions levels in 2021 rose slightly, but remained ~10% below 2019's pre-pandemic levels.
History and Background
Charlottesville's first GHG emissions inventory was completed in 2008 for inventory years 2000 and 2006, and then again in 2012 for inventory years 2009 and 2011. Data has been collected annually starting with inventory year 2016.
Inventory years 2000, 2006, 2009, and 2011 were calculated according to the US Reporting Protocols. Beginning with the 2016 inventory, per the City’s Global Covenant of Mayors commitment, data began to be calculated according to the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories (GPC). Opportunities to improve data collection methods are incorporated as they arise and are applied retrospectively when appropriate.
In 2019, Charlottesville adopted GHG emission reductions goals for target years 2030 and 2050. These goals were aligned with the most recent IPCC recommendations and measure reductions in comparison to baseline year 2011.Charlottesville annually submits reports to CDP - the reporting platform used by the Global Covenant of Mayors Commitment - including GHG emissions inventory data. Submissions are available on the CDP Open Data Portal.
- Inventory Data
- 2018 Report (2000, 2011, 2016 DATA Years)
- 2012 Report (2000, 2006, 2009, 2011 Data Years)
- 2008 Report (2000 & 2006 Data Years)
The City began collecting GHG emission inventory data annually in 2018, beginning with inventory year 2016. Following from the City's adopted GHG reduction targets, this data is measured against the 2011 GHG inventory data.
Some key takeaways:
- The proportional contribution of GHG emissions across sectors in Charlottesville remains the same year-over-year. Approximately 90% of emissions come from energy used to power our buildings and from transportation. These emissions are split nearly equally across the residential, commercial, and transportation sectors.
- Charlottesville's overall GHG emissions continue to decrease, with decreases being seen in almost every sector annually.
- In 2016, Charlottesville had achieved 23% emissions reductions, about half of its 45% by 2030 goal. In 2019, Charlottesville reached 30% emissions reduction - 2/3 of the way towards its 2030 goal.
- In 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, emissions fell significantly to 45% below the 2011 baseline, which is the City's 2030 goal. This data is seen as an outlier due to stay-at-home orders and other pandemic impacts on our community's regular activity.
- In 2021, emissions rose ~5% from 2020's low.
Charlottesville GHG Emissions Inventory Data:
- 2016 (.csv)
- 2017 (.csv)
- 2018 (.csv)
- 2019 (.csv)
- 2020 (.csv)
- 2021 (.csv)
- Year-by-Year Data Comparison Chart (.xlsx)
Municipal GHG Emissions Inventory Data:
The data below represents the GHG emissions from Charlottesville's Municipal operations, which includes Charlottesville local government and Charlottesville City Schools.
Please note: There is a partial overlap between the data sets below and the (community wide) Charlottesville GHG Emissions Inventory data listed above. Municipal data for Buildings & Facilities as well as for Street Lights & Traffic Signals are included in the community inventory as part of the Commercial Sector. Municipal Vehicle Fleet data is calculated based on total fuel consumption, which is used both within the City boundaries and in other jurisdictions. The community inventory's Transportation Sector is calculated by vehicle counts within the City, which would include City fleet vehicles. We are unable to determine how much of the City's fleet fuel is used within the City. We are also unable to determine how many of the community vehicle counts represent City fleet vehicles. As such, we recognize that there is an overlap between the community Transportation Sector emissions and the City Fleet Fuel emissions, but we are unable to identify how much overlap there is.
2016 Greenhouse Gas Inventory
The 2016 Greenhouse Gas Inventory completes the requirements for Phase 1 of the Mitigation Track of the Global Covenant of Mayors commitment and was submitted via CDP, one of the approved reporting platforms, in its 2018 reporting cycle.
Per the Global Covenant of Mayors standards, the 2016 inventory was developed according to the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories (GPC). Previous City of Charlottesville inventories were developed according to the U.S. Community Protocols. While a majority of items were required by both protocol standards, there were some differences, such as in the water and wastewater sector. These differences have been noted where they appear.
Considering the upcoming phases of the Global Covenant of Mayors, this inventory document has been developed with the intent of providing data in a simple, clear format that can be utilized easily as an informational resource for analysis and community considerations regarding reduction commitments, reduction strategies and efforts, and resulting achievements.
Download the 2016 Greenhouse Gas Inventory (PDF)
- Release Version 0.1 March 2019
2012 Charlottesville Emissions Report Update
On April 1, 2013, the 2012 Charlottesville Emissions Report Update was presented to City Council. The report includes updated 2000 and 2006 data from the Charlottesville Emissions Baseline Report and adds data for inventory years 2009 and 2011. Comparisons of 2000 and 2011 data provide these indications:
- The three largest community sectors for associated greenhouse gas emissions are Commercial (~26%), Residential (~19%), and Transportation (~17%).
- Since 2000, the Commercial and Residential sectors showed an increase in associated emissions; the Transportation sector showed a reduction.
- Community-wide greenhouse gas emissions increased between 2000 and 2011 by 7%.
- The municipal sector contributed 2.7% of the greenhouse gas emissions to the community’s total in 2011.
- Municipal operations* showed a greenhouse gas emissions decrease of 18% between 2000 and 2011.
* Note - Municipal operations includes three areas: (1) facilities operations, (2) streetlights & traffic signals; (3) fleet.
- The facilities operations area within the Municipal sector showed a 29.5% reduction of associated greenhouse gas emissions between 2000 and 2011.
Summary Infographic of the 2012 Charlottesville Emissions Report Update
Charlottesville Emissions Baseline Report (2008)
The City of Charlottesville compiled this greenhouse gas emissions inventory using software tools provided through ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability. This "baseline" is an inventory of the activities within our community that contribute to our greenhouse gas emissions and emissions of criteria air pollutants.
Establishing a baseline enables us to set targets for reducing our emissions and our energy costs in the future. In the year of 2000, Charlottesville was responsible for nearly 900,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. That was enough for about 5 full hot air balloons per person!
Download the 2008 Charlottesville Emissions Baseline Report (PDF)