Which U.S. Cities are Taking Action on the Paris Accord

Paris agreement Paris accord

The U.S. is no longer a signer to the Paris Accord, a global climate change agreement. But hundreds of American cities are already taking climate action.

Editor’s Note: June 27, 2018 More than 400 U.S. mayors are now participating in Climate Mayors and upwards of 150 U.S. cities have signed onto the Global Covenant. Also, Bloomberg Philanthropies launched the We Are Still In climate declaration in 2017 for mayors, governors and business leaders with 2,812 signed on to date. Numerous other cities and corporations continue to work with CDP Cities, a global environmental disclosure platform for cities helps them measure, manage and disclose environmental data in a standardized fashion.

According to the Sierra Club, more than 65 mayors were already part of the “Mayors for 100% Clean Energy” compact ahead of President Donald Trump pulling the United States out of the Paris Accord addressing global climate change.

Led by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Bloomberg Philanthropies is forming a group that includes 30 mayors, governors and corporations pledging to uphold U.S. commitments under the agreement. The organization has also pledged upwards of $15 million to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to cover the funding the United States will presumably no longer commit to as it backs away from the accord. Other cities, and regions, are reportedly forming pacts to stay on their greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets, which includes emissions from both vehicles and buildings.

Cities like Austin, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, Ore., San Fracisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. are already part of the C40 Cities, which is a network of cities representing 25 percent of global GDP, that create climate actions to reduce GHG emissions. Recent statements from mayors, former President Barrack Obama, indicate leaders will take up the reins:

 

Chicago is one of 30 cities, coordinated by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, that put an RFP out to automakers for $10 billion worth of electric vehicles in March following the Trump Administration’s re-opening of 2022 through 2025 gas-powered vehicle emissions reductions rules under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

New York Mayor Bill deBlasio has stated he will issue an executive order maintaining the city’s commitment to the Paris Accord. 

There are also 133 U.S. cities are signed onto the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, which emphasizes the importance of climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as increased access to clean and affordable energy. The Sierra Club’s Clean Energy initiative is led by Salt Lake Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Miami Beach, Fla., Mayor Philip Levine, Columbia, S.C., Mayor Stephen Benjamin and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

There are four cities and one island already powered by 100 percent renewable energy:

  1. Aspen, Colo. – As of 2015, the city of Aspen is powered by 100 percent renewable electricity – a mix of approximately 50 percent wind, 45 percent hydropower, and the remaining 5 percent from solar and landfill gas.
  2. Burlington, Vt. – As of 2014, Burlington is powered by 100 percent renewable electricity.
  3. Greensburg, Kan. – As of 2013, Greensburg is powered with 100 percent renewable electricity.
  4. Kodiak Island, Alaska – Since 2012, Kodiak Island is powered by 100 percent renewable electricity.
  5. Rockport, Mo.Rockport is powered by 100 percent wind energy.

Smaller cities and communities like Salem, Mass., part of the Global Covenant of Mayors, chip away at emissions with carefully orchestrated projects like grant-funded school top solar. Their mayors took to social media to remind residents that despite changes at the Federal level, “your city government is here, still committed to action, and ready to pick up where Washington is giving up:”

Editor’s Note, June 9, 2017: Since the article was originally published, mayors from places like Brighton, N.Y., and Charlottsville, Va., are joining the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, co-founded by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and are pledging to take climate actions that uphold the global agreement:

 


Mayors for 100% Clean Energy List:

  1. Mayor Alan L. Nagy, Newark, CA
  2. Mayor Annette M. Blackwell, Maple Heights, OH
  3. Mayor Ardell Brede, Rochester, MN*
  4. Mayor Biff Traber, Corvallis, OR
  5. Mayor Bob Dixson, Greensburg, KS*
  6. Mayor Bobby Hopewell, Kalamazoo, MI
  7. Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orlando, FL
  8. Mayor Cary Glickstein, Delray Beach, FL
  9. Mayor Catherine Blakespear, Encinitas, CA
  10. Mayor Charles E Tokar, Village of Chicago Ridge, IL
  11. Mayor Christopher Roberts, Shoreline, WA
  12. Mayor Christopher Taylor, Ann Arbor, MI
  13. Mayor D. Dwight Worden, Del Mar, CA*
  14. Mayor Dave Coulter, Ferndale, MI
  15. Mayor David Mejia, Alhambra, CA
  16. Mayor David S Cassetti, Ansonia, CT
  17. Mayor Derrick Henry, Daytona Beach, FL
  18. Mayor Drew Fixell, Tarrytown, NY
  19. Mayor Elizabeth Patterson, Benicia, CA
  20. Mayor Emmett V. Jordan, Greenbelt, MD
  21. Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles, CA
  22. Mayor Esther Manheimer, Asheville
  23. Mayor Ethan K. Strimling, Portland, ME
  24. Mayor Eugene Flinn, Palmetto Bay, FL
  25. Mayor Frank Bivona, Franklin Lakes, NJ
  26. Mayor Fred Shaw, Carpinteria, CA
  27. Mayor Glenn Hendricks, Sunnyvale, CA
  28. Mayor Glenn R Sylvester, Daly City, CA
  29. Mayor Greg Lemons, Abita Springs, LA*
  30. Mayor Greg Scharff, Palo Alto, CA*
  31. Mayor Heidi Harmon, San Luis Obispo , CA
  32. Mayor Helene Schneider, Santa Barbara, CA*
  33. Mayor Jackie Biskupski , Salt Lake City, UT*
  34. Mayor JoAnn B. Seghini, Midvale City, UT
  35. Mayor John A Ostenburg, , IL
  36. Mayor John A Ostenburg, Park Forest, IL
  37. Mayor John Engen, Missoula, MT
  38. Mayor John L Rowe, Jr. , Portsmouth, VA
  39. Mayor Jordan Norley, Borough of West Chester, PA
  40. Mayor Judy Paul, Town of Davie, FL
  41. Mayor Kevin Faulconer, San Diego, CA*
  42. Mayor Lamar Fisher, Pompano Beach, FL
  43. Mayor Len Pagano, St. Peters, MO
  44. Mayor Lioneld Jordan, Fayetteville, AR
  45. Mayor Lydia E Lavelle, Carrboro, NC
  46. Mayor Mark Meadows, East Lansing, MI*
  47. Mayor Mary Casillas Salas, Chula Vista, CA
  48. Mayor Mary Prochnow, Los Altos, CA
  49. Mayor Miro Weinberger, Burlington, VT*
  50. Mayor Nicola Smith, Lynnwood, WA
  51. Mayor Patrick L Wojahn, College Park, MD
  52. Mayor Peter Rustin, Tenafly, NJ
  53. Mayor Philip K. Stoddard, South Miami, FL
  54. Mayor Philip Levine, Miami Beach, FL*
  55. Mayor Phillip D. Kramer, Franklin Township, NJ
  56. Mayor Rick Kriseman, St. Petersburg, FL*
  57. Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, Grand Rapids, MI*
  58. Mayor Sam Liccardo, San Jose, CA*
  59. Mayor Savita Vaidhyanathan, Cupertino, CA
  60. Mayor Shelley Welsch, University City, MO
  61. Mayor Skylar Peak, Malibu, CA
  62. Mayor Steve Benjamin, Columbia, SC
  63. Mayor Steve Skadron, Aspen, CO*
  64. Mayor Suzanne Jones, Boulder, CO*
  65. Mayor Ted Winterer, Santa Monica, CA*
  66. Mayor Tim Kabat, La Crosse, WI
  67. Mayor Tom Butt, Richmond, CA*
  68. Mayor Val Tollefson, Bainbridge Island, WA

*Mayors of communities that have adopted goals to transition to 100 percent renewable energy community-wide no later than 2035.

About the author

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox is Editor of EfficientGov.com and Senior Editor at Lexipol. She is based in Massachusetts.