Climate Change Policy and Programs: Four Cities and One State

EM – December 2021: This month's issue throws a spotlight on the aggressive climate initiatives and goals that four cities and one state have established to reduce carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions.
by Gary M. Bramble and Brian S. Noel

Dear readers, please allow us to be the unapologetic optimists relative to a world that is tackling climate change. Yes, it is daunting to move toward a future where vehicles are fully powered by electricity, and electricity generators rapidly decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; but it is feasible in the lifetime of most A&WMA members. Fortunately, strong leadership on climate change is coming from numerous entities: The United Nations; individual countries; states and provinces; cities; Fortune 500 companies; and individual homeowners around the World. The focus of this issue of EM are the climate change goals, policies, and programs of four selected cities and one state. As you'll discover, several have achieved previous targets and are creating even more aggressive goals; others are just beginning their efforts to reduce GHGs.

Dublin, Ireland
We start in western Europe, with the City of Dublin, Ireland. Dublin and County Dublin have several climate initiatives underway, along with goals for 2030. Interestingly, in the neighborhood of Tallaght, waste heat is captured from a large data center and is used to heat public buildings, with a plan to expand the heating to new homes. “A Green Future for the Emerald Isle” is authored by international student advisor and freelance writer Jennifer Blair, who spent 10 years studying and practicing law in Dublin.

St. Petersburg, Florida
Next, we'll go to sunny Florida and the City of St. Petersburg. Initiatives here include a commitment to 100% clean energy by 2035; and thus far adding 1.2 megawatts of solar capacity to city facilities. “St. Petersburg, Florida – Coastal Resiliency and Community Sustainability” is authored by Brandon Johnson (Stantec) and Sharon Wright (St. Petersburg's Director of the Office of Sustainability and Resiliency).

Dayton, Ohio
Moving to the Midwest, we look at Dayton, Ohio. Dayton plans to move the entire city to 100% renewable electricity by 2040. This may be achieved much sooner by adapting its existing electric aggregation program. “Dayton, Ohio Tackles Climate Change Through Innovation” is authored by Paul Stork (John Wood Group) and Michele Simmons (Sustainability and Environmental Projects Administrator, City of Dayton).

Los Angeles, California
The fourth article is from a city that has struggled for decades with smog and ozone issues, Los Angeles. Those problems will likely dissipate as Los Angeles meets 2025 and 2035 goals to supply renewable energy, reduce vehicle miles traveled, move quickly to zero-emission vehicles, create green jobs, and enact multiple initiatives involving environmental justice. “Leading The Fight Against Climate Change: The City of Los Angeles's Green New Deal” is authored by Charles C.Lee (Trinity Consultants).

State of New York
And finally, we broaden our reporting to more than an individual city. The fifth article provides details of new commitments formalized in New York State's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA, or the Climate Act). Sometimes near-term goals are especially impressive and more trackable. New York is working toward 70% renewable energy in just eight more years, by 2030. “New York State's Climate Act Begins with Bringing Stakeholders Together” is authored by Brian S. Noel (Trinity Consultants).

The Tip of the Iceberg
EM readers will be encouraged to know that there are scores of cities embracing the challenges of reducing carbon emissions and participating in worldwide efforts to address a changing climate. These cities usually employ environmental and sustainability professionals and utilize consulting firms with similar or advanced skills. There are ideas in this issue that can be used by other cities, as they formulate or enhance their climate change policies and programs. It is our hope that the plans and ideas discussed in this issue may help spark additional initiatives in the cities of EM's readers.

Continue reading the full December 2021 issue of EM.


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