A new report released this week offers a rare bit of positive climate news: Overall greenhouse emissions in Georgia declined 5% from 2017 to 2021, due largely to the state’s largest electric utility moving away from coal.
The report, issued by Drawdown Georgia, which is a statewide research-based initiative, comes amid warnings that aggressive action is needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
And while the report found short-term gains in Georgia, Marilyn A. Brown, a professor of sustainable systems at Georgia Tech and a member of Drawdown Georgia’s research team, said “bolder steps” are needed to reach long-term climate goals.
“Now I’ve been at this a long time, and I remember way back it seems every time I’ve talked to anyone of political influence, they would say, ‘You keep talking about pollution reduction, but you know, we’ve got to grow our economy, and you can’t have both.’ So, yes, you can. You can have both, and we’ve shown it,” Brown said Wednesday at the Georgia Climate Conference in Athens.
The analysis looked at net emissions in the state, factoring in the offsetting influence of Georgia’s forestland and soil.