1. Form a working group of concerned citizens, educators, environmental groups, churches, and businesses, among others, to advocate for action at the civic level.
2. Learn about what other cities and towns are doing to limit GHG emissions, set up Climate Action Commissions, develop Climate Action Plans and move towards becoming zero energy/zero carbon cities.
3. Share highlights of what other cities are doing to reduce carbon emissions with your local government leaders and encourage them to follow suit.
4. Make the case for the economic, environmental, and social benefits of reducing carbon emissions:
a. Cities and towns in most states extract and refine exactly ZERO transportation fuels. The 74 cents of each dollar of gas that goes toward crude oil and refining are promptly exported out of your community. For example, in Eugene, Oregon $150M of $200M spent every single year on fuels is exported. Imagine the positive impact those dollars could make towards supporting families, creating jobs and building a healthy, local economy.
b. 40% of all carbon emissions come from homes and commercial buildings. Most of that comes directly from fossil fuel use in the home or from using electricity produced by fossil fuels. Just as with gasolene, most cities import their electricity and fossil heating fuels and export their money to pay for them.
c. Research and communicate the threat posed by climate change to your community’s environment, and to your community itself. How will climate change affect your immediate surroundings and the people who live there?
d. Research and describe the potential health benefits of reducing greenhouse gases to your community, such as cleaner air from fewer pollutants, more predictable, less extreme weather events, and more active citizens.
5. Engage businesses and community organizations.
a. Learn more about what corporations all over the world are doing to move towards zero energy/carbon neutral operations.
b. Share the highlights and examples of these leading corporations with local business and community organizations.
6. Learn from other cities’ climate ordinances, most of which include some form of Climate Action Commission and Climate Action Plan.
7. Fashion an ordinance specific to your community.
a. Use examples from other cities’ ordinances as a starting point.
b. Consult with city councillors, city administrators, and business leaders to get their input and buy-in.
c. Build community-wide support for the ordinance.
8. Learn about the resources available for a Climate Action Committee to develop realistic and measurable carbon reduction plans. Understanding these will help you communicate to city councilors and community leaders just how feasible it is to develop and implement your city’s own Climate Action Plan. Here are some starting points:
a. ClearPath™ is a leading online software platform for completing greenhouse gas inventories, forecasts, climate action plans, and monitoring at the community-wide or government operations scale.
b. The Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance’s Framework for Long Term Deep Carbon Reduction provides templates and examples of what other cities have done to develop realistic carbon reduction plans of at least 80% by 2050.
c. The Center for American Progress suggests Five Ways Cities Can Prepare for meeting carbon pollution standards.