PHOENIX -- Three years ahead of schedule, Phoenix exceeded its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from city operations.
In 2008, Phoenix City Council adopted a goal to reduce emissions to 5 percent below the 2005 levels by 2015. In 2005, emissions totaled more than 678,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses.
According to the latest report compiled by Arizona State University's Global Institute of Sustainability, the city decreased greenhouse gas emissions by 7.2 percent in 2012.
The 2012 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Summary Report was released Tuesday by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton at the third annual Go Green Conference. The event was hosted by the City of Phoenix and ASU's Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives program.
"This is great for Phoenix and I'm very excited to see that we may be able to double or even possibly triple the reduction of our greenhouse gas emissions by 2015," Stanton said. "We are making Phoenix a cleaner and healthier place to live and work."
City officials say the reduction in emissions is due to advanced methane capture systems at city-owned landfills, the use of alternative fuel in city vehicles, energy-efficient streetlights and traffic signals, improvements in water and wastewater operations, energy efficiency measures in more than 45 city buildings, and various solar power projects.
According to the city's public works department, more than 50 percent of city-owned vehicles now operate on alternative fuel.
Vice Mayor Bill Gates said reducing greenhouse gas emissions is just one piece of the city's overall sustainability plan.
"By already reaching its 2015 target for emissions reduction, the City of Phoenix has demonstrated its commitment to sustainability practices and reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Dr. Rajesh Buch, Practice Lead for Sustainability Solutions Services at ASU. "Continuing these practices and adopting the recommended actions should not only double emissions reductions by 2015, but also create a more resilient metropolitan region."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.