Let a Hundred (Municipal) Flowers Bloom

by Daniel Farber

May 17, 2018

In the era of Trump, one bright spot remains what's happening in cities across the nation. Here are some numbers: 402 U.S. mayors have endorsed the Paris Agreement and announced their intention of meeting its goals, while 118 have endorsed the goal of making their cities 100 percent renewable. A bit of quick research provides a sample of what some major cities are already up to:

Atlanta. Atlanta's city council has set ambitious goals: 100 percent renewable energy for city operations by 2025 and for the entire city a decade later.

Chicago. Chicago commissioned climate scientists to report on how climate change would impact the city. The report cites more heat waves and heavier rains and snows. The mayor has announced a plan to power city buildings with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025. The city has adopted an elaborate climate change adaptation plan.

Houston and Dallas. Houston's city government now gets 89 percent of its power from wind and solar, while Dallas gets 100 percent from wind. Austin is also at 100 percent.

Los Angeles. LA Metro, the LA Department of Transportation and LA City Council committed to using only electric buses by 2030. A new community choice program allows consumers to opt for heavy or even complete reliance on renewables in their energy mix.

Miami. The Miami-Dade website says, "There is consensus among the world's leading scientists that Southeast Florida is one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change. Miami-Dade County has been in the forefront of addressing these issues for many years, particularly potential flooding impacts." Miami-Dade also has an elaborate energy efficiency program. South Miami now requires solar installations for all new homes.

Phoenix. Phoenix aims to get 15 percent of its energy from renewables by 2025 and to be carbon neutral by 2060. The city already ranks third in the nation for solar power.

New York City. According to the Guardian, "New York City has already earmarked billions of dollars to retrofit 1 million buildings to make them more energy-efficient, electrify its municipal vehicle fleet, plant thousands of trees and coat rooftops in solar panels." The goal is to reduce emissions 80 percent by 2050.

San Francisco. Also according to the Guardian, in "2015, the city measured its greenhouse gas emissions at 28 percent below 1990 levels—despite the city's population growing nearly 20 percent, and a robust bump in its gross domestic product of 78 percent."

Cross-posted from Legal Planet.

Tagged as: renewable energy
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Daniel A. Farber is the Sho Sato Professor of Law and Director of the California Center for Environmental Law and Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

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