Quantcast

Ten U.S. Cities Band Together to Cut Climate Pollution

Business

The mayors of 10 U.S. cities announced a cooperative plan Wednesday that could result in collective, energy bill savings of up to $1 billion per year.

The municipalities will join together in the City Energy Project (CEP), an initiative to reduce climate pollution from buildings, which are easily the cities' largest sources of energy use. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Institute for Market Transformation will provide expertise for the participating cities to design their own, tailored plans to fight climate change.

"Think about that: These 10 cities are about to save millions by looking at (making changes to) their own cities in their own skylines," NRDC President Frances Beinecke said during a Wednesday conference call that also included some of the mayors of the participating cities.

"They know they must act now to make their cities more sustainable and resilient. They will be paving the way for others to follow."

Salt Lake City is one of 10 cities involved in the City Energy Project. Photo credit: City Energy Project/Flickr

Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City are the participating cities. Beinecke said the CEP has the potential to cut up to 7 million tons of carbon emissions annually between those cities.

That amount is roughly the same as taking 1 million to 1.5 million passenger vehicles off the road each year; the amount of electricity used by 700,000 to nearly 1 million American homes annually; or taking three or four power plants offline.

A partnership between Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and The Kresge Foundation, will help fund customized plans for the 10 cities to boost energy efficiency in their buildings. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg knows first-hand what it's like to rise from the smog to a drop in emissions. He estimates that New York City is cleaner now than it has been at any point in the last 50 years. He said he wanted to involve his company's philanthropic arm to encourage that kind of change around the country.

“New York City’s sustainability efforts are a major reason our greenhouse gas emissions are down 19 percent since 2007," Bloomberg said. "They have also substantially driven down energy costs for consumers. The (CEP) will bring the significant economic and environmental benefits that energy efficiency has to offer to other cities—and accelerate progress by helping them learn from each other's successes.”

The cities' locally tailored plans will focus on large buildings, which can represent about 50 percent of their square footage. The cities hope to play "matchmaker' between lenders and property owners looking to increase the efficiency of their lighting, heating, cooling and more.

The CEP aims to:

  • Promote building energy improvements through efficient operations, maintenance and training facility personnel.

  • Encourage private investment with "common-sense solutions to financial and legal barriers to energy efficiency" should be adopted.

  • Help cities reduce taxpayer-funded energy consumption in municipal buildings, encouraging the private sector to match their actions.

  • Promote transparency to enable market demand and competition for energy-efficient buildings.

 Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said his city has been working on sustainability since 2009 with its Greenworks Philadelphia initiative, despite 62 percent of emissions coming from the city's largest buildings. The CEP excites Nutter because he gets to glean advice from other leaders around the U.S.

"Trying to become the No. 1 green city in America is not a singular exercise," he said. "We're not at that level of competition. I know all the mayors on this call are willing to share information."

Visit EcoWatch’s GREEN BUILDING page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signs the so-called Affordable Clean Energy rule on June 19, replacing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan that would have reduced coal-fired plant carbon emissions. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency / Twitter

By Elliott Negin

On July 8, President Trump hosted a White House event to unabashedly tout his truly abysmal environmental record. The following day, coincidentally, marked the one-year anniversary of Andrew Wheeler at the helm of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), first as acting administrator and then as administrator after the Senate confirmed him in late February.

Read More Show Less
A timber sale in the Kaibab National Forest. Dyan Bone / Forest Service / Southwestern Region / Kaibab National Forest

By Tara Lohan

If you're a lover of wilderness, wildlife, the American West and the public lands on which they all depend, then journalist Christopher Ketcham's new book is required — if depressing — reading.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
Somalians fight against hunger and lack of water due to drought as Turkish Ambassador to Somalia, Olgan Bekar (not seen) visits the a camp near the Mogadishu's rural side in Somalia on March 25, 2017. Sadak Mohamed / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

World hunger is on the rise for the third consecutive year after decades of decline, a new United Nations (UN) report says. The climate crisis ranks alongside conflict as the top cause of food shortages that force more than 821 million people worldwide to experience chronic hunger. That number includes more than 150 million children whose growth is stunted due to a lack of food.

Read More Show Less
Eduardo Velev cools off in the spray of a fire hydrant during a heatwave on July 1, 2018 in Philadelphia. Jessica Kourkounis / Getty Images

By Adrienne L. Hollis

Because extreme heat is one of the deadliest weather hazards we currently face, Union of Concerned Scientist's Killer Heat Report for the U.S. is the most important document I have read. It is a veritable wake up call for all of us. It is timely, eye-opening, transparent and factual and it deals with the stark reality of our future if we do not make changes quickly (think yesterday). It is important to ensure that we all understand it. Here are 10 terms that really help drive home the messages in the heat report and help us understand the ramifications of inaction.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Senator Graham returns after playing a round of golf with Trump on Oct. 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. Ron Sachs – Pool / Getty Images

Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Senate Republican who has been a close ally of Donald Trump, did not mince words last week on the climate crisis and what he thinks the president needs to do about it.

Read More Show Less
A small Bermuda cedar tree sits atop a rock overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. todaycouldbe / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Marlene Cimons

Kyle Rosenblad was hiking a steep mountain on the island of Maui in the summer of 2015 when he noticed a ruggedly beautiful tree species scattered around the landscape. Curious, and wondering what they were, he took some photographs and showed them to a friend. They were Bermuda cedars, a species native to the island of Bermuda, first planted on Maui in the early 1900s.

Read More Show Less
krisanapong detraphiphat / Moment / Getty Images

By Grace Francese

You may know that many conventional oat cereals contain troubling amounts of the carcinogenic pesticide glyphosate. But another toxic pesticide may be contaminating your kids' breakfast. A new study by the Organic Center shows that almost 60 percent of the non-organic milk sampled contains residues of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide scientists say is unsafe at any concentration.

Read More Show Less