As the countdown to the Paris COP21 Climate talks approaches, leaders are intensifying their search for answers on how to best address climate change. The international negotiations will feature leaders from roughly 190 countries, however, a growing number of city leaders are slated to attend as well.
Generating 75% of the world’s greenhouse gasses and housing a majority of the globe’s population, cities have become critical components in the fight against climate change. In an attempt to share knowledge and tactics on the best path forward, mayors and sustainability directors from over 20 international cities recently came to the US to observe some of the strongest examples of climate leadership. While cities big and small are taking bold action, three municipalities in particular stand out:
- Boston: Ranked as the country’s most energy efficient city, the city represents what all metropolitan areas can aspire to. Through solar investments, high energy efficiency standards, and even a focus on getting residents to cycle to work—Boston shows that everyone from citizens to city officials are needed to implement climate solutions.
- San Francisco: Exploring how to push sustainable living, San Francisco has incentivized solar investments for both businesses and residents. Already seeing major advances, SF has committed to transitioning to all zero-emission vehicles, which are powered through the city’s greenhouse gas-free power.
- Washington DC: While politicians in the Capital cannot seem to agree on climate action, the city has pledged to purchase 35% of the government’s energy from wind. Also committing to develop strict efficiency codes for new developments and offering free solar for low-income communities, the city has also saved taxpayers over $45 million over the next two decades.
These three examples illustrate that different cities may approach climate solutions in different ways. However, what ties them together is their commitment to advancing practical action plans that have proven successful models that all cities can use. For more information on how your city can join the ranks of climate leaders, check out the resources available at Path to Positive Communities.
Cities to the Rescue
US News & World Report | October 16, 2015
Shortly after the pope, presidents and prime ministers left the United States last month, having pounded the political pavement at the United Nations for climate change and sustainability goals, over 20 international city leaders arrived in the U.S. for a coast-to-coast tour of some of the most successful initiatives making our cities cleaner and greener, showcasing how cities are leading the fight against climate change.
Sustainability directors from Bangladesh and Brazil, Nigeria and Norway, Argentina and Australia and more were in the U.S. last week – as part of partnership between Bloomberg Philanthropies and the State Department – to swap lessons on sustainability and build momentum prior to the United Nations' climate talks in December. With Pope Francis leaving behind a powerful message on environmental protection and the U.N. General Assembly committing to sustainable development goals, the timing couldn't have been better.
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