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City of Wilmington on track to meet climate emission and clean energy goals for 2035 and 2050

While the rest of North Carolina may be off track on meeting climate goals, Wimington is actually on track to cut emissions.

A report from the Environmental Defense Fund released earlier this year found that North Carolina will not meet its 2025 and 2030 emissions goals unless new policies are implemented. Wilmington hopes to buck that trend.

Back in 2020, the city of Wilmington formed an ad hoc clean energy policy task force to help set specific goals. David Ingram has been the city’s sustainability project manager for the last six years. He monitors greenhouse gas emissions from municipal operations and says Wilmington is on course to hit its goals.

“That task force presented their recommendations back to the city council, which adopted our transition to 50% clean energy by 2035 and 100% transition by 2050. And then that also includes a transition of our fleet to 100% electric vehicles by 2030. We believe we're on an excellent track to not only meet that clean energy goal, but likely exceed it as well," he said.

Transportation makes up 60% of greenhouse gas emissions for the city of Wilmington. The task force recommended adopting a policy that requires all newly purchased vehicles to be hybrid or zero-emission vehicles. While Wilmington hasn’t officially adopted that policy, the city is focusing on replacing its fleet with these vehicles, as well as making Wilmington more accessible through bike paths and sidewalks.

“That certainly was one of the most noted items in our previous comprehensive plan that citizens were wanting was the increased availability of bike and multi-use paths around the city both, you know, sidewalks. Any means that we could do to reduce the amount of vehicle miles traveled, are going to impact our greenhouse gas emissions," Ingram said.

Along with replacing operations fleets, the city is also working to install more electric vehicle charging stations throughout Wilmington for individuals who use these types of vehicles.

Megan McDeavitt is a filmmaker from Boone, NC. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Filmmaking at UNCW, and her AAS in Marine Technology at CFCC. She's worked in local journalism throughout North Carolina before returning to school, where she focuses on strengthening her creative storytelling and looking at environmental issues within the community.