City leaders hope to keep Waco green after global emissions drop by 17% during pandemic

Posted at 10:59 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 00:00:35-04

WACO, TX — As many people were forced to stay at home during the pandemic, the world experienced a drop in commuters. With less people on the roads and in the skies, global carbon emissions dropped by nearly 17%.

"I think that this was a unique perspective for us to see the difference of if we didn't have to go to work all day or every day. I had no idea that if we were just to slow down just a tiny bit that the emissions in the air would be a lot better," said Waco resident Stephanie Oliver.

A recent study found while people were sheltered in place, the world saw a 17% drop in greenhouse gas emissions. McLennan County saw a 32% drop in workplace commuters. Bell County saw a 34% drop, and Brazos County had a 43% drop compared to the beginning of the year.

Environmental advocate Dr. Alan Northcutt says this is a good first step, but globally we are still generating more than 80% of the usual carbon pollution in the planet.

"If everyone listening does a small step, from picking renewable utilities, to recycling to driving less, maybe bicycling or walking more, anything you can do is positive," said Dr. Northcutt.

Cities like Waco are joining in on the efforts. Waco approved a power deal for 2022 that is 100% renewable, which will save the city more than $414,000 a year.

"I think that as new technology comes out, we should be evaluating everything, make sure it works," said Waco City Councilman Jim Holmes.

Waco's newest Fire Station #6 station will run on solar power thanks to solar roof technology.

"We may be in a situation right now where we we need to be more thoughtful about our carbon footprint and how we use natural energy versus fossil fuels," said Holmes.

Dr. Northcutt says we need to cut carbon emissions by at least 45% in the next 10 years to prevent what could be an almost 3.6 degree rise in global temperature.