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New Report: U.S. Cities Fighting Global Warming Face Considerable Challenges

| Written by John Bailey | No Comments | Updated on Jan 8, 2007 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/for-immediate-release-january-8-2007/

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 8, 2007

New Report:  U.S. Cities Fighting Global Warming Face Considerable Challenges

Lessons from the Pioneers: Tackling Global Warming at the Local Level
This January 2007 report looks at ten of the most visible and successful cities involved in global warming solutions and finds that reducing GHG emissions below 1990 levels will be a major challenge. Many cities will likely not meet their goals unless complementary state and federal policies are put in place very soon. download the reportview executive summary

Minneapolis, MN – “The 355 U.S. cities in 49 states that have committed to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will miss their goals unless they redouble their efforts,” says John Bailey, author of a new report from the Minneapolis-based Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), MINNEAPOLISLessons from the Pioneers: Tackling Global Warming at the Local Level.

The report praises the signatories to the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement for taking responsibility for the impact of their own consumption behavior on global warming. The initiative commits cities to lower their GHG emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels.

“The sheer number of these ‘Kyoto cities’ promises an interesting mix of strategies and a steep learning curve as communities discover from one another what works and what doesn’t,” Bailey observes.  The report, a look at ten of the most visible and successful cities involved in global warming solutions, finds that only one, Portland, Oregon has come close to keeping GHG emissions growth at bay.  Its citywide emissions are less than one percent above 1990 levels.

The overriding conclusion of the report is that reducing GHG emissions below 1990 levels will be a major challenge. Many cities will likely fail in their attempts unless complementary state and federal policies are put in place.

Other findings include:

  • Data gathering methodologies differ among communities, making comparisons between cities problematic.
  • The most significant factor accounting for differences in greenhouse gas emissions among cities was the amount of fossil fuels (vs. hydroelectricity) used in generating their power.
  • With one exception, emissions increased by 6.5 percent to 27 percent over 1990 baseline measurements.
  • Almost all of the cities were expecting to realize a significant portion of their GHG reductions as a result of actions taken by higher levels of government (e.g. a state-level renewable portfolio standard or an increase in federal fuel economy standards).  The cities must begin a concerted, collective effort to influence climate policies that are outside their jurisdictions.

The report, Lessons from the Pioneers: Tackling Global Warming at the Local Level, can be downloaded from ILSR’s web site at http://www.newrules.org/

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About ILSR: The Institute for Local Self-Reliance is a nonprofit organization founded in 1974 to advance sustainable, equitable, and community-centered economic development through research and educational activities and technical assistance. More at http://www.ilsr.org

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John Bailey

About John Bailey

John Bailey is ILSR’s Development Director.  He was a senior researcher at ILSR from 1992 until 2011, specializing in decentralized energy policy and analysis including topics of renewable energy, climate change, efficiency, tax policy and electric vehicles.

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