Sustainable Thurston Report Card

Goal: Move toward a carbon-neutral community.


  1. Greenhouse gas emissions: (updated Feb. 2021)
    • Achieve 45% reduction of 2015 levels by 2030
    • Achieve 85% reduction of 2015 levels by 2050
  2. Decrease annual per capita vehicle miles traveled in the Thurston Region to:
    • 1990 levels by 2020
    • 30% below 1990 levels by 2035
    • 50% below 1990 levels by 2050


CloudyStormy, concerns for the future.
Even though vehicle miles travelled (VMT) per capita has continued to decrease, over the past few years, total greenhouse gas emissions have generally increased. The region is nowhere near meeting the 2030 target for greenhouse gas emissions, and VMT per capita remains higher than the low seen in 2012. These factors make it that much more difficult to meet the 2030 and 2050 targets for greenhouse gas emissions and the 2035 and 2050 targets for VMT.

  1. Total Emissions
  2. Emissions Per Capita
  3. VMT

Data Tables

Why is this important?

Planning and acting to reduce or offset greenhouse gases will help zero out the net amount of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases the region emits into the atmosphere.

Key Observations

In 2019, the built environment accounted for 62% of the Thurston region's greenhouse gas emissions; transportation accounted for 31%. In order to meet the 2030 target, the region will need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 1.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCDE) each year between 2019 and 2030. 

In order to meet the 2035 VMT target, the Thurston region will need to maintain the per capita VMT seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 or decrease per capita VMT from prepandemic (i.e. 2019) levels by about 15%.

The Sustainable Thurston targets for greenhouse gas emissions were updated in February 2021 to be consistent with the regional climate action plan, which consists of a Climate Adaptation Plan and a Climate Mitigation Plan. Taking actions identified in the Climate Mitigation Plan and meeting land use and vehicle miles traveled targets will move the region in the right direction.