The Fairfax County Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination is currently working with county residents and stakeholders to develop the first-ever Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan, or CECAP. Here is some information about this initiative and why it matters.
It’s a fact: 97 percent of climate scientists agree that human-driven climate change is taking place now. Climate change occurs when greenhouse gases build up in our atmosphere and trap heat that might otherwise escape, causing shifts in global temperatures and weather patterns over time. In the United States, and in Fairfax County specifically, the two greatest sources of greenhouse gas emissions are the burning of fossil fuels to provide electricity for buildings, and the burning of fossil fuels by vehicles on our roads.
Fairfax County is not immune to the effects of climate change, we already experience stronger storms related to climatic shifts. A single severe storm in 2019 cost Fairfax County taxpayers $14 million. That is money that could have been spent on other county services, programs, and projects. Extreme weather events pose a risk to life and property as well. Many residents stand to lose personal property and real estate as the result of flooding and other weather impacts.
While there are limits to what the Fairfax County government can do to address climate change locally, individual residents can make a major difference. More than 95 percent of local greenhouse gas emissions come from sources other than local government operations – like energy use at home, business operations, and cars and trucks on our roads. The CECAP will define actions we can each take to be a part of the solution.
You can learn more about climate action in Fairfax County. Later this month, online surveys will be available, and the county will host public meetings to gather community input on climate change mitigation strategies and actions. FMN will share more information about opportunities for you to participate in the coming weeks.