Report demonstrates cities’ key role in addressing and preventing the worst effects of the climate crisis
Mayors call on federal government to better support cities as they work to build a more just and sustainable future
Download the full report HERE
April 21, 2021 – Today, Climate Mayors released a forward-looking report summarizing the key takeaways from the National Dialogue on Green and Equitable Recovery series and highlighting tangible solutions for a green and just economic recovery in cities across the United States. The report also makes the case for – and lays out how the federal government can be partners in –moving local climate priorities forward.
The report outlines key policy priorities and local success stories in the transit and mobility, buildings, electric power, and nature-based system sectors that have a demonstrated track record of creating jobs and building resilience. The report features success stories from Youngstown, Saint Paul, Dayton, Austin, Boston, Orlando, Columbia, Cincinnati, Houston, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, Madison, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Miami.
“Cities around the country are demonstrating their unmatched ability to be an engine for a sustainable, equitable, and resilient economic recovery,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Climate Mayors Chair. “But they cannot do it alone. Cities need direct support from the federal government so they can meet the needs of this moment and deliver on the promise to build back better.”
“We are ready to partner with the federal government and build back better,” said Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. “With that partnership, we can scale up our efforts and expand our successes throughout our states and regions, and we are excited to do so.”
“This report reflects the remarkable progress cities were able to achieve toward our climate goals when federal leadership was lacking,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “Now imagine what we can do in partnership with an administration committed to rejuvenating the nation’s economy and prioritizing a green recovery. The challenges ahead are significant, but so are the opportunities. By working together in our communities, and at all levels of government, we can seize this moment and create a more equitable and sustainable future.”
The success stories of Climate Mayors across the country demonstrate that environmental stewardship, fiscal responsibility, and economic growth are not mutually exclusive. However, city budgets are under enormous strain as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and are in need of federal support.
Building back a green economy led by local governments and supported by the federal government is an essential first step in achieving local and national climate goals, while ensuring a just, equitable, and sustainable economic recovery that is resilient for generations to come.
This report was developed by Climate Mayors leadership in collaboration with RMI. Climate Mayors and its work to accelerate local climate progress across the country is made possible with support by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Examples of city-led initiatives include:
- Approved a lease agreement with Sunnyside Energy, LLC to advance the Sunnyside Solar Project – an innovative public-private partnership to convert a 240-acre closed landfill in the Sunnyside neighborhood into the largest brownfield solar installation in the nation.
- Closed and abandoned in 1970, the landfill has contributed to the stagnation of the neighborhood’s economy and presented serious health and safety concerns for children, families, and residents for decades.
- The project – expected to generate enough clean energy to power 5,000 homes, offset 120 million pounds of carbon per year, and bring an estimated $70 million in private investment to the community – is a perfect example of how brownfield-to-brightfield projects can combat the climate crisis while creating jobs and addressing decades of environmental injustice.
- Launched its “GreenPower” solar workforce training program to train and hire workers locally from underrepresented populations.
- The program has installed 1 MW of solar on city facilities as of October 2020.
- After 2020, Mayor Rhodes-Conway intends to ramp up the program and to be adding 1 MW annually by 2022 to support their municipal goal of 100% renewable energy by 2030.
- Used federal funding to improve energy efficiency throughout the community
- The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance used its Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grants (EECBGs) to encourage energy efficiency upgrades in residential and commercial buildings resulting in $1.9 million in annual energy savings
- This grant laid the foundation for the Green Cincinnati Plan, which, among other actions, includes plans to reduce energy burdens by 10% by providing funding for upgrades in existing multifamily properties
- To combat rising seas and extreme weather, the city established the Miami Forever Bond, a $400 Million General Obligation Bond (GOB) approved by voters in 2017 to fund projects to build resilience
- The Bond dedicates $192 million to mitigate future sea level rise, $100 million toward affordable housing, $78 million for parks and cultural facilities, $23 million for road improvements and $7 million for public safety.
About Climate Mayors
Representing over 74 million Americans from 48 states, Climate Mayors is a peer-to-peer network of 476 U.S. city mayors who have committed to fighting climate change. Originally founded in 2014, the network’s ranks swelled to almost 400 mayors in response to the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Climate Mayors commit to taking ambitious action to meet each of their cities’ current climate goals, while working together towards achieving our national Paris targets. For more information, please visit www.climatemayors.org.