July 2020 – Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson
Climate Mayors Steering Committee Member

This year, mayors have faced crises that have shaken the country and disproportionately affected our underserved communities. Although we are often short on resources, we are the leaders on the front lines, dealing head-on with unprecedented challenges. And in the midst of these issues, we continue to contend with the implications of climate change on our cities.

At the local level, our job as leaders is to provide a safe and healthy environment for our residents and to be good stewards of our cities. As a father of two young boys, it is important to me that Dallas continues to thrive so that my sons can grow up in a better city than I did. It is imperative that we pursue policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prepare for the impacts of climate change on residents and businesses, and work to build healthier, more prosperous communities.

That’s why I created the Environment & Sustainability Committee, the first-ever standalone Dallas City Council committee devoted to environmental issues, and I made the creation and implementation of the Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) its No. 1 priority.

In late May, the City Council unanimously passed the CECAP, the city’s first-ever environmental plan. The plan is built on engagement with an incredibly broad and diverse set of community stakeholders. This process, and the unanimous outcome, represented a significant step forward for equity, environmental justice, and resilience in Dallas.

The CECAP outlines 97 actions the city can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve environmental quality in every ZIP code in the city while also accommodating the needs of the business community. The plan has eight overarching goals:

  • Making buildings more efficient;
  • Generating and encouraging renewable, reliable, and affordable energy;
  • Ensuring communities have access to sustainable, affordable, transportation options;
  • Making Dallas a zero-waste community;
  • Protecting water resources and communities from flooding and drought;
  • Protecting and enhancing the city’s ecosystems, trees, and green spaces that in turn improve public health;
  • Providing all communities with access to healthy, locally grown, and sustainable food; and
  • Ensuring all Dallas communities breathe clean air.

For decades, Dallas has faced numerous environmental challenges. We have contended with air pollution, water pollution, and toxic hazards throughout our city, but particularly in underserved areas. I know this struggle firsthand; I grew up in the shadow of a lead smelter plant in West Dallas. Now, I believe, we are taking steps to overcome such challenges and to make Dallas a global leader in addressing environmental issues.

I am proud of our work to create this plan, which will mean a more just, equitable, and resilient future for all Dallasites, including my two sons.