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Carbon emissions didn't grow at same rate as population in Asheville

Matt Bush
Blue Ridge Public Radio

The last decade saw significant population growth in Asheville.   But that didn’t lead to similar growth in the city of the principle driver of climate change.  

From 2012 to 2019, Asheville’s population grew 8.5%.  But carbon emissions only grew about one percent during the same time in the city.  That's according to a study done for the city by a student at Lenoir Rhyne University's Masters of Sustainability Studies program.  2012 was the last year carbon emissions were measured citywide. 

Credit City of Asheville

Bridget Herring is the energy program coordinator for Asheville.  She attributes the ability and desire of people to weatherize their homes over the last decade as why carbon emission growth stayed behind that of the population.  In this decade, with both the dangers of climate change and Asheville’s population showing no signs of slowing, Herring says there's still more that residents can do.  “Consider your commuting habits.  A lot of folks can now work remotely at least for part of their jobs, and they could keep that going in the after times," Herring said in an interview with BPR.  "And think about alternate ways of getting around.  The city has worked really hard to expand our greenway system, and to implement the transit master plan to get buses out to more areas of the city.”

Herring adds if home and property owners can afford it, they should build renewable energy sources in their homes like solar power.

Lenoir Rhyne University is a business sponsor of Blue Ridge Public Radio 

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.