CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Some community members and nonprofits in Charlottesville are pushing for the city and Albemarle County to get serious on climate change.

Charlottesville Climate Collaborative is spearheading this initiative.

The group’s goal is for Albemarle County and Charlottesville to set goals on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“It's a big year for climate action in Charlottesville and Albemarle County,” Susan Kruse, the executive director of the Charlottesville Climate Collaborative, said.

Its targets include reducing emissions at businesses like Carter Myers Automotive.

“We've made it part of our culture, and we really want to continue to do that from a corporate citizenship standpoint,” Pete Borches, the vice president of Carter Myers Automotive, said.

More than 40 businesses and 800 people living in Charlottesville and Albemarle County have signed letters asking government leaders to take bold steps toward improving the environment.

Students read some of those letters aloud at the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors meeting on Wednesday, March 20.

“Our citizen letters and business letters and school letters to the city and county are all asking them to set emissions reduction targets of 45 percent by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050,” Kruse said.

The collaborative says Albemarle County and Charlottesville are behind in comparison to other localities in the commonwealth. But that could change if both localities adopt the goals suggested to them.

“So by setting a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, we would be going beyond what our peer communities are doing and really leading the way,” Kruse said.

Some suggestions to help reduce emissions include an energy farm, electric buses, and stoplight detectors to keep cars moving.

“We need to make this an issue at the highest of priorities, and then from there we need to get the smartest people that we have across all political spectrums so that we're attacking this with the best we have,” Borches said.

So far, the collaborative says more than 200 homeowners are participating in home energy challenges that have reduced the carbon impact by 188 tons. Carter Myers Automotive has installed solar arrays that power 90 percent of the building.

Charlottesville and Albemarle County will set emissions reduction targets by this summer.

The city says it welcomes input and comments on this matter until new targets are adopted.