The challenge of addressing climate change and dependence on fossil fuel is global, but some of the most important solutions can be local. For this reason local activists are working with the Sierra Club and reaching out to multiple cities, towns, and counties with the Cool Cities program, to promote efficient use of energy and renewable sources while reducing carbon emissions.
Under Cool Cities volunteers ask towns to pledge to reduce their carbon emissions and meet the standards of the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. The Climate Protection Agreement is like the Kyoto Protocol for US towns- municipalities pledge to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions 7% below 1990 levels by 2012. Volunteers also ask towns to join ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives- an organization that assists with performing town wide energy audits and creating climate action plans), and to create and implement a climate action plan.
With Cool Cities we want to see municipalities do the following:
- Sign onto (and pass a resolution supporting) the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement- the Kyoto protocol for towns.
- Join ICLEI, a non-profit organization that provides software and support to perform climate audits of the town and the community. The cost is a few thousand a year, but they end up saving the town much more in energy savings.
- Perform these energy audits and create an action plan for meeting long term carbon dioxide reduction targets
- Enact changes that get them to meet those targets (including creating an green energy or climate task force including committed members of the community that can help track and suggest changes).
- Regularly update the climate audit and climate plan to make sure the town meets or beats its target.
Sign up at the Cool Cities website as an activist to help- lead the effort for your town or help with an existing campaign.