How U.S. Cities Are Taking the Lead on Climate Change Solutions

Much of news regarding climate change concerns U.N. and national government efforts to deal with environmental issues. At the same time, U.S. cities are stepping up their work for clean energy, large building efficiencies, sustainable infrastructure and transportation, and other environmental issues.

According to UN-Habitat, cities across the globe account for 78 percent of the world’s energy consumption, 60 percent of all carbon pollutants and 70 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  In the U.S. alone, much of our \ 50-70% total of GHG emissions can be attributed to transit and infrastructure systems as well as the energy consumed by large buildings in the urban environment.

Across the country, cities are already meeting the challenge.  A consortium of 20 U.S. cities participates in the City Energy Project, an initiative created by two environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) – the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Institute for Market Transformation.  Their work to increase energy efficiencies in large urban buildings is aimed at saving more than $1.5 billion annually in energy costs by 2030 and at the same time reducing air pollutants – the equivalent to taking two million cars off the road for a year.  Another 12 U.S. cities have signed onto the Global Compact of Mayors for Climate Change and Energy, co-chaired by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and are working on reaching a variety of climate change goals.

New York City has reduced speed limits to improve safety and expanded the number of bike lanes and pedestrian green spaces in the city.  Its citibike bike sharing program is one of the largest such programs in the country, providing residents and visitors with 10,000 bikes at 600 stations across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens as well as New Jersey’s Jersey City.  More than three dozen other cities have similar bike sharing programs.

Atlanta, Los Angeles, and several other cities have voted on $200 billion in transit funding to relieve traffic congestion and reduce emissions via expanded, sustainable bus and rail transportation systems.

Pittsburgh, in partnership with City Energy Project, has pledged to cut energy use, water consumption and transportation emissions in half by 2030.

Orlando is implementing $17.5 million in energy efficiency upgrades in 56 municipal buildings to produce an estimated savings of $2.4 million per year in avoidable energy costs.

Fort Collins has committed to reduce its carbon gas emissions and energy consumption in its buildings by 20 percent by 2020 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Des Moines has similar goals to reduce its overall energy consumption 50% by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

San Francisco, one of the most sustainable cities in the country, expects to achieve zero waste by 2020 and currently recycles or composts 77% of its waste, the highest rate of any major U.S. city.

As your communications partner, EarthColor is committed to doing our part by providing you with more choices for clean energy, sustainable materials and processes, and environmental programs that combat and mitigate climate change and protect the environment.  That’s why we continue to partner with you, our clients and suppliers, as well as other stakeholders in science, government and environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) like the Appalachian and the American Forests Association, whose Community ReLeaf program is impacting reforestation efforts in 16 urban settings across the country.

Watch our website for blogs on more sustainability topics or order a copy of our award winning 2015-2016 Sustainability Report to learn more about our commitment to environmental issues and climate change action.

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