|72% of responding cities use alternative fuels and/or use hybrid-electric technology in their fleets. Click to enlarge. Source: USCM|
According to a new survey released by the Mayors Climate Protection Center during The US Conference of Mayors’ (USCM) 75th anniversary meeting this weekend, mayors are acting on many fronts to enhance climate protection, without significant support from their state and federal partners.
The survey indicates that cities throughout the country, regardless of size, have initiated a multitude of actions aimed at reducing carbon emissions. Surveying the 400 mayors who at that time had signed The US Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, 134 of them provided data for this first-ever assessment of city climate protection efforts. On the transportation front:
Seventy-two percent of the responding mayors stated that their city fleets now use alternative fuels and/or use hybrid-electric technology.
Four in five of the cities have, or are considering instituting in the next year, procurement policies which favor the purchase of vehicles which run on alternative fuels and/or use hybrid-electric technology. Specifically, 46% of the cities currently have such policies; another 33% are considering instituting them.
More than half of the cities (52%) provide financial or other incentives that encourage employees to use public transportation; use carpools, vanpools, or car-sharing; or ride a bicycle or walk to work.
Other findings of the survey include:
More than four out of five of the survey cities now use renewable energy, or are considering beginning by next year.
All but four of the survey cities (97%) are using more energy-efficient lighting technologies in public buildings, streetlights, parks, traffic signals, and other applications, or expect to by next year.
Nearly nine in ten of the cities require, or anticipate requiring in the next year, that new city government buildings be more energy efficient and environmentally sustainable.>
More than three out of four of the cities are undertaking efforts to encourage the private sector to construct buildings that are energy efficient and use sustainable building techniques.
More than nine out of ten cities consider efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to be part of their broader efforts to address public health concerns, such as improving air quality or encouraging active living.
In nearly three in four of the cities, mayors have reached out to other mayors, elected county officials, or other leaders in the region to encourage them to sign on to the US Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement and/or take action on climate protection.
If the Energy and Environmental Block Grant now pending in Congress is enacted, half of the cities will use the funds provided through it to improve community energy efficiency. Instituting and/or encouraging green building practices leads the list of specific activities for which resources are currently not available that cities would undertake if block grant funds became available.
This survey clearly shows that mayors are acting decisively to curb global warming, helping fill the void left by federal inaction. Mayors are leading the way by implementing successful strategies to change human behavior and help protect the planet.—Conference President Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer
As of 21 June, 540 mayors have signed The US Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, committing to reduce carbon emissions in cities below 1990 levels, in line with the Kyoto protocol and due to an absence of federal leadership.