IU Grand Challenges

The cities of Fort Wayne and Goshen will collect greenhouse gas emissions data for Indiana University for the second of its Grand Challenges initiatives.

Fort Wayne City Utilities and Goshen city staff are collecting information about communitywide and local government operations’ greenhouse gas emissions as part of research by Indiana University.

They are among 13 communities that are part of the 2019 Resilience Cohort. The cohort was established by the Environmental Resilience Institute, part of Indiana University Prepared for Environmental Change that started in 2017, the second project developed and funded through IU’s $300 million Grand Challenges Program.

IU has three Grand Challenges initiatives — “large-scale problems facing humanity” — in progress: Precision Health, Prepared for Environmental Change and Responding to the Addictions Crisis.

For the environmental project, Fort Wayne City Utilities will spend the summer collecting information, said John Perlich, city spokesman.

“Findings from the inventory will be used to help residents and local officials better understand the city’s current emissions profile and to help us create an action plan to reduce emissions, increase energy efficiency and improve air quality,” Perlich responded in an email. “A student from IU will be assisting us with the data collection and processing as part of the program. The inventories are anticipated to be finished by September.”

Denver-based ICLEI started in 1991 to work with cities to reduce reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Communities in the cohort will receive “technical support from ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, to develop a greenhouse gas inventory using ICLEI’s proprietary greenhouse gas emissions software, ClearPath, following either the U.S. Community Protocol or Global Protocol for Community-Scale Emissions, depending on community preference,” according to IU’s Environmental Resilience Institute.

A news release from the city of Goshen explained the importance of the project: “A greenhouse gas inventory is a fundamental first step for Hoosier cities, towns and counties committed to combating the climatic changes communities in Indiana are already experiencing, such as heavier rainfalls in spring and winter, more river and flash flood events and more freeze-thaw events wreaking havoc on transportation infrastructure and potholes. The inventory process will provide 2017 data on the amount of energy consumed, the diversity of energy supplied to the grid, vehicle fuel use within the city boundary, the amount of waste generated within the city boundary and more.”

Goshen Mayor Jeremy Stutsman is quoted in the release as saying, “An energy-efficient community will help us save dollars in the future, provide a better quality of life and help protect the next generation of community members.”

The other participating communities are Bloomington, Carmel, Columbus, Delaware County/Muncie, Evansville, Gary, Greencastle, Michigan City, Oldenburg, Richmond, West Lafayette.

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