Sustainable Thurston Report Card

Goal: Move toward a carbon-neutral community.


  1. Greenhouse gas emissions:
    • 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


PartlyPartly sunny, future uncertain.
While the region has seen some success in 2020 and 2021 lowering greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle miles travelled (VMT), it is unclear if these decreases can be sustained after the COVID-19 pandemic. The region is nowhere near meeting the 2030 target for greenhouse gas emissions, and both VMT and emissions have increased from 2020 to 2021. The region did meet the 2020 VMT target, and is on track to meet the 2035 and 2050 targets.

  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 2021, the built environment accounted for 54% of the Thurston region's greenhouse gas emissions; transportation accounted for 36%. Emissions have dropped 4.1% from 2010 to 2021, but the region is not on track to meet the 2030 or 2050 emissions reduction targets.

In order to meet the 2035 VMT target, the Thurston region will need to drop back to the per capita VMT seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. From 2020 to 2021, per capita VMT increased by 7%.

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.