City releases updated greenhouse gas inventory report

Greenhouse gas emissions from the City of Beacon’s operations fell 9.8 percent between 2019 and 2021, according to an updated greenhouse gas inventory released Jan. 5. 

The City of Beacon’s solar farm at the former Denning’s Point landfill (Photo by B. Cronin)

It’s the fourth inventory of the production of greenhouse gas, which contributes to global warming, released by the city; previous reports tallied emissions in 2012, 2018 and 2019. The report is posted at bit.ly/BeaconGHG21.

The total of estimated carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions, or CO2e, not including the capped landfill at Dennings Point, was 1,943 metric tons, the equivalent of driving a gas-powered passenger car for 4.9 million miles. The landfill is the site of the city’s solar panel array, which offset 341 of those metric tons. 

This year’s inventory is the first to include methane being released by the capped landfill, which was closed in 1968. The report estimates that the landfill released 1,138 metric tons of CO2e in 2021, making it the city’s biggest emitter, by far. Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, although it breaks down much more quickly. As the waste in the landfill continues to erode, the amount of methane emitted will slowly decrease.

Other than the landfill, the city’s biggest emitters are its facilities that treat drinking water and wastewater, its vehicle fleet and municipal buildings.

The city has made several changes since 2021 that should decrease its greenhouse-gas emissions even further, including the introduction of a drop-off composting program and the Police Department replacing five vehicles with electric or hybrid vehicles, with three more patrol vehicles expected in 2025. 

Beacon’s new fire station, now under construction, will be all-electric with geothermal heating and cooling. The city is also planning a solar array at the Highway Garage. 

The report suggests that the city should improve its record-keeping of fuel and energy usage, partly because the 2024 report was hampered by incomplete data from Central Hudson that required estimates. It also recommends that the city examine how the emissions from the capped landfill could be reduced further.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

The Skidmore College graduate has reported for The Current since 2014 and writes the "Out There" column. Location: Beacon. Languages: English. Areas of Expertise: Environment, outdoors

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