In response to the federal leadership void, state, local and private organizations are taking action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. For example, more than 284 Mayors have signed the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement, a compact initiated by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. By signing, cities are agreeing to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets in their communities, and urge state and federal governments to do the same. They also agree to urge the U.S. Congress to establish a national emissions trading system.
This agreement is voluntary and not legally binding however. An informal survey (November 2005) indicates that approximately 25% of the 181 cities who were then members knew that their mayor had signed the agreement and only 10% had introduced initiatives to combat climate change. NCS has built this manual in collaboration with Paradigm Nouveau, ICLEI and Global Energy Center for Community Sustainability to enable all cities to deliver on their commitment.
In June 2006, the Global Energy Center for Community Sustainability (GEC), in partnership with The Johnson Foundation, invited Hunter Lovins to attend the first of four leadership summits focused on Energy and Climate Change, at The Wingspread Conference Center. Forty experts from the corporate, academic/academia, nonprofit, government and financial sectors issued an action agenda.
At the Summit, Mayors of cities leading the climate reduction battle (like Rocky Anderson of Salt Lake City, UT and Susanne Anderson of Portland, OR) as well as organizations helping those cities (like ICLEI and the U.S. Green Building Council) acknowledged that there exists no comprehensive manual for municipal leaders setting forth an achievable action plan, giving best practices, model ordinances and case studies. The group tasked NCS to produce this Climate Protection Manual for Cities to provide local governments with the expertise they need to curb their city’s greenhouse gas emissions, and so we wrote it.
Cities looking for resources to initiate a climate action plan are faced with surveying hundreds of different organizations and their web sites or scouring other cities resources to find what they are doing, frequently hidden within city budgets under indirect line items. This Climate Protection Manual for Cities is collaborative, collecting the disparate case studies, best practices, cost/benefit analyses, legislation, technical descriptions and contacts to facilitate Climate action planning and implementation. Target areas include energy efficiency auditing and retrofits, high performance municipal building codes, transportation, investment in green energy, to name a few. This collection of resources serves as a comprehensive how-to manual for cities who commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The manual is free to use, open to the public enabling climate protection advocates and implementers to access data, articles and each other.
Funding for the Cities Manual:
Paradigm Nouveau Enterprise is known for meeting the urgent needs of the 21st century through innovative action, thinking and dialogue that produces unprecedented results. PNE acknowledges that the Climate Protection Manual for Cities is a project consistent with its mission, and has agreed to provide the partnership and funding necessary for its creation.
Other financial supporters also include Doug and Lisa Granat and Family, and three anonymous donors.
The content of this article can also be found in Chapter 2 of the Climate Protection Manual for Cities, “Why Act Now.” It describes the sustainability imperative, why businesses should be addressing their greenhouse gas emissions. Stay tuned for the Climate Protection Manual for Businesses, development beginning in 2007.