In the wake of President Trump's announcement that he would pull the U.S. out of the global Paris Climate Agreement, it is, more than ever, up to state and local leaders to address the devastating impact of climate change and keep the country on track to meeting our promises to the world.
NewDEAL Leaders have been at the forefront of efforts to help our communities slow the impact of climate change, including their recent leadership as part of a commitment of more than 300 mayors to uphold Paris' goals. We are highlighting a selection of NewDEAL members' extensive efforts in this Monthly Leader Spotlight.
Check out the recording of the special climate change call that the NewDEAL hosted focusing on the way forward on climate change and opportunities for cities and states to work together.
Building an Agenda for Fighting Climate Change
New Bedford, MA
City Council President Pro Tempore,
South Bend, IN
Long Beach, CA
A Livable Community
Supporting Climate Research
San Francisco, CA
In Phoenix, Mayor Greg Stanton has adopted a 35-year, $31.5 billion plan to expand light rail (and triple the miles of track), increase bus service, add bike lanes and make streets more walkable, while replacing city vehicles with vehicles that run on alternative fuels or electric batteries. All of the city's garbage trucks use alternative fuels. And about 70 percent of its buses run on natural gas. With leadership from Mayor Jon Mitchell, New Bedford, MA has the largest municipal fleet of electric cars in Massachusetts and the nation’s third-largest green energy municipal electric aggregation program.
Clean Energy Production
During Mayor Miro Weinberger's tenure, Burlington, VT became the first U.S. city to source 100 percent of its energy from renewable generation, producing its energy through a mix of biomass (44%), hydropower (35%), wind (19%), and solar (2%). The 100% renewability milestone, achieved in September 2014, is great for our planet and was accomplished with no increase in Burlington’s electric rates, which have been steady since 2009. This year, Burlington has embarked on its next bold journey – to become a “net zero energy city” across electric, thermal, and ground transportation sectors over the next 10 to 15 years.
In Boise, ID, work by Lauren McLean, the City Council President Pro Tempore, on open space, clean water, and sustainability programs has allowed the city to expand its geothermal system, invest in stormwater infrastructure, and establish energy reduction goals. Her efforts won her plaudits as one of the Grist 50, an annual list of top emerging green leaders.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg has worked to make South Bend more energy efficient from its buildings to its street lights, recognizing that the cleanest energy is energy that doesn't need to be used and that these projects also save taxpayers money. As one example, the innovative contract the city signed with its Century Center, will save nearly $8 million over 15 years.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia has partnered with the City of Los Angeles to focus on emissions from the nation’s largest ports, located off their coast. They have set a goal to transition to zero emissions in their Clean Air Action Plan, and affirmed that it will include new investments in clean technology, reducing emissions from ships using the ports, and a zero emissions drayage truck pilot program.
A Livable Community
Recognizing that effectively combating climate change requires a comprehensive strategy and support throughout a community, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has brought together leaders from Nashville’s public, private, environmental, academic, and philanthropic sectors to set goals and make recommendations. The Livable Nashville Draft report sets aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, with recommendations for specific renewable energy generation initiatives, as well as noting opportunities for addressing emissions from solid waste and improving efficiency of street lights and buildings. The report, which deals with a broad range of environmental and sustainability topics, also deals with the importance of an education and outreach campaign to gain public support for these efforts.
Recognizing the need to use evidenced-based research to demonstrate the extent of our climate challenges and sound the alarm about the risks they pose, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has worked with a group of Mayors to publish public research on climate change after it was deleted from the EPA website by the new Administration.