How U.S. Cities Are Taking Climate Action
Nearly 60 percent of cities told a national survey they are planning a climate action in the coming year, and 60 percent said they had launched or expanded a climate program in the last year. The survey was conducted by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and covered 158 cities of different sizes across 39 states.
Transportation, a top source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country, was one of the most common areas for local green initiatives. Most cities are already promoting bus transit and bike lanes as alternatives to driving, while cities looking to expand transportation options are primarily considering bike- and scooter-sharing. Jason Plautz in Smart Cities Dive summarizes other common initiatives:
City-level action has taken the form of green vehicle purchasing (according to the USCM survey, 60% of cities have clean vehicle programs), energy efficiency for buildings (70% of cities have set policies for new and existing buildings) and adoption of alternative transportation options (22% of respondents are exploring bike-sharing). Renewable energy purchasing remains a dominant strategy, especially since cities often have greater control over their utility contracts.
The survey also notes that nearly all cities reported seeing the impacts of climate change first-hand. "The most prevalent changes cities reported during this time include heavy rain events or inland flooding (76 percent of cities), heat waves (65 percent), and drought (51 percent). Additionally, an alarming 18 percent identified wildfires as a changing impact," the report says.