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Comprehensive Environmental &

Climate Action Plan

In order to create a truly comprehensive action plan, we must first identify risks facing Dallas specifically, what is already being done to mitigate and/or adapt to these risks, and areas of opportunity for expansion on current initiatives as well as implementation of new, complimentary actions. We have summarized the baseline of existing environmental and climate-related actions in the
City of Dallas, in addition to highlighting why continued or improved action is needed in each of the relevant sectors. The purpose of this background summary is to help to identify gaps in existing programs, and therefore the areas of focus for the CECAP.
A more in-depth summary can be found here.


All sectors of the Dallas economy, including manufacturing, commercial activity and the residential sector, rely on electricity and natural gas. Average electricity consumption per home in Texas is 26% higher than the national average (due to air conditioning load). While the City of Dallas purchases 100% green electricity for its own buildings, the electricity grid for Texas is primarily fueled by either natural gas and coal (75%), according to the US Energy Information Agency. The third largest percentage of electricity generated in Texas is wind power-- generating 15% of the total 452 million Megawatt hours. Solar accounts for approximately 0.5%. The energy sector contributes to 64% of community-scale GHG emissions for the City of Dallas.


Areas of Opportunity

Energy conservation, renewable energy generation, new construction standards, state and private sector collaboration


Between 2020 and 2070, Dallas’ existing water reserves are expected to decrease due to sedimentation and increased evaporation of reservoirs. This is a result of anticipated temperature increases. Since 2001, the city’s
broad-based water efficiency measures have saved approximately 316 BG (billion gallons) or 62 million gallons per day. The city’s gallons per capita-daily has been reduced by 26%. Annual surveys indicate that customer awareness of the watering ordinance has increased from 60% to 76% and that customers’ positive water conservation behaviors are up from 46% to more than 71%. The city has removed a total of 38,947 cubic yards of debris and floatables from sumps, storm sewers, levee maintenance, trash racks, creeks, and retention/detention basins. A total of 91,872 gallons of debris was removed from stormwater interceptors. Waste water and solid waste contributes to 1% of community-scale GHG emissions for the City of Dallas.


Areas of Opportunity

Water supply, water conservation, water quality, stormwater management, wastewater treatment, water-energy nexus in supply and treatment


Open spaces such as parks and urban forests deliver ecosystem services including carbon sequestration, flood mitigation, and cooling. Ecosystem health provides benefits to urban and migrating species in the form of habitat protection and biodiversity. Ecosystem health, in turn, protects human health by providing benefits such as
opportunities for activity that reduce stress, the risk of disease, and increases overall mental and physical wellness.

Only 60% of Dallas residents have access to a park within a half-mile walk of their homes. This is a relatively low index of park accessibility, especially when compared to peer cities such as Chicago (97%), Seattle (94%) and Denver (84%). In Dallas, there are 388 parks totaling 27,038 acres, plus the roughly 6000-acre Great Trinity Forest. However, these green spaces are not evenly distributed and approximately 40% of residents live in ‘park deserts.' Dallas can achieve significant cooling benefits by preserving and expanding the urban forest, in combination with
increased use of cool materials can substantially reduce the urban heat island effects, resulting in warm season heat mortality by more than 20%


Areas of Opportunity

Urban forestry, wetlands development/protection, natural resource protection, improved and expanded park and trail access, park development in underserved communities


At a regional level, ten North Texas counties, including Dallas County, consistently fail to meet federal air quality standards for ground level ozone. In 2018, Dallas was ranked 16th in the American Lung Association’s 25 Most Ozone-Polluted Cities. The report estimates 159,749 cases of pediatric asthma, 432,736 cases of adult asthma, 273,449 cases of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and 4,058 of cardio vascular diseases. In the U.S., black children are twice as likely as white children to have asthma and with greater severity—experiencing
higher-than- average rates of hospitalization, emergency room visits and deaths from asthma, While not a direct correlation of air quality the Smart Growth for Dallas health priorities map indicates health issues (including asthma) being concentrated primarily West and South Dallas. Learn more about air quality in Dallas and the North Texas region here.


Areas of Opportunity

Public health education and interventions, nature-based solutions, air quality standards, location-specific initiatives, community-based air monitoring


The cost of congestion at the regional level from loss of productive hours due to increase in travel time owing to congestion has reached an estimated $12.1 billion in 2018 and, despite having the longest light rail system in the nation, unsustainable land development patterns promote 76.8% of Dallas residents to drive to work alone.
1.78% of the workforce in Dallas, TX have "super commutes" in excess of 90 minutes. In 2016, the most common method of travel for workers in was driving alone (76.8%), followed by carpooling (11.1%) and teleworking (4.87%). Other modes include public transit (3.8%), walking (1.9%) and cycling (0.3%). According to Urban Footprint, only 18.7% of residents are within a 10-minute walk of a transit stop, and racially diverse neighborhoods have access to 17 times the number of jobs (40,000+) within a 30-minute public transit commute as majority –Black neighborhoods (~2500).


Areas of Opportunity

Active transportation (biking, walking, etc.), public transit expansion, transport demand management, fuel use/mix, accessibility to transit and jobs, rural land use regulations


The City of Dallas owns and operates one of the largest municipal solid waste landfills in Texas. In 2017, a total of 1.8 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) were disposed of at the landfill. Currently, the site has an estimated 32 years of remaining capacity at current rates of disposal. In 2017, a total of 57,618 tons of materials
were collected from the residential program. The City’s 2018 Sanitation Budget showed that
the residential diversion rate for 2018 was projected at 20%, compared to a 2020 goal of 40%.

The landfill has a landfill gas management plan to recover methane. Methane from the landfill is collected and processed according to pipeline quality standards. In 2017, 4 billion cubic feet of gas were processed with 2.0 million cubic feet of gas being distributed off-site. This is of importance since methane gas is has a higher global
warming potential than CO2 emissions.


Areas of Opportunity

Waste management, residential recycling, commercial recycling, upcycling, large-scale construction and demolition waste recovery, recycling/litter education


'Food production accounts for 11% of GHG emissions, rising to 30% when food distribution and land use are included.' Cities can influence several aspects of food systems, including production, distribution, waste, and procurement. Global temperature rise coupled with increased demand for food pose significant risks to food
security. Almost 20% of the Dallas County population faces food insecurity and lacks needed fruits and vegetables in their diet. Barriers to healthy food in Dallas include access as well as affordability. Food deserts are defined as
low-income areas with low access to vehicles, and no grocers within one mile.
Approximately 36% of Dallas residents, mostly distributed across Dallas’ Southern and Western neighborhoods live in census tracts defined as food deserts (2011-2015). For a family at 80% of the City’s median household income ($35,025), food costs for
the low-cost food plan are almost 30% of their annual budget.


Areas of Opportunity

Emphasis on locally grown and produced food, grocery store recruitment for food deserts, urban agriculture education and support


To date, the City of Dallas has not carried out a comprehensive climate change vulnerability assessment. Hazards that the city faces today, such as extreme heat, flooding, and severe thunderstorms, will likely increase as a result
of climate change. P
rojections include a 5° F increase in average summer temperatures and increased intensity of precipitation events by 2050, and a 40% increase in severe thunderstorms by 2100. Actions that the City is taking to mitigate current risk will provide the most value in the future if they are designed to address future conditions. While a number of studies from other entities provide an initial understanding of the City’s climate vulnerability, further analysis would be necessary to understand localized impacts, as well as to asses vulnerabilities to specific assets, such as critical infrastructure, or to disadvantaged populations that are less resilient to impacts.


Areas of Opportunity

Vulnerable infrastructure (highways, levees, buildings etc.), residential building weatherization, urban heat islands, assessment of City assets, comprehensive vulnerability'risk assessment, pavement and roof resurfacing, emergency response procedures, floodway projects

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