For decades, scientists have warned that ever-encroaching climate change will affect the world.
Today, experts stress that Earth faces irreversible damage if humans fail to lower planet-heating greenhouse gas emissions. They’ve called for an immediate and wide-scale change to reduce reliance on fossil fuels like oil and gas.
Major cities are massive contributors to pollution, accounting for more than 70% of greenhouse gas emissions globally. Targeting emissions in these areas is a good step toward a carbon-neutral future.
President Biden has announced his goal to cut US gas emissions between 50 and 52 percent by 2030. This accompanies the country’s renewed commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement.
These efforts are not insignificant. Still, with these goals in mind, it begs the question: Are US cities reducing emissions at a pace that supports widespread change?
Where We’re at
A national reduction of emissions could not happen without change on a local level. Many cities have stepped up to the challenge, but not all of them are succeeding.
A study conducted by USA Today found 45 of the 100 largest U.S. cities had adopted serious climate action plans. Of those, only 20 out of 38 were on track to achieve reductions in line with benchmarks by 2050. More than a dozen large American cities have no emissions tracking system at all.
Still, those that are succeeding are making significant progress. Las Vegas and San Antonio are both on track to eliminate 100% of local government greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Orlando is on track to achieve the community goal of a 90% reduction by 2040. Kansas City is on track to become carbon neutral by 2030.
Individual citizens are also voting to support these goals. In 2022, the city of Austin voted to allocate $7.1 billion to a plan aimed at reducing emissions in transportation.
Where We’re Going
We’ve come a long way, but there is still a long way to go before we reach a carbon-neutral world. How can US cities reach their emission goals?
Considering how we generate electricity is likely to be the fastest and most effective way to cut emissions.
Renewable energy is the future and the key to achieving stable emissions. By 2030, we would need to get about half of our country’s electricity from solar, wind, or other renewable sources in order to show marked improvement. Investing in renewable energy now is a great way to do your part in helping the planet.
You can also do your part at the ballot box. More and more voters are choosing to invest government funds in the plan to stop climate change.
The building and transportation industries are also seeing significant change. Renovating outdated infrastructure can reduce energy waste, ultimately lowering our carbon footprint. As for our vehicles, you can expect the sale of electric cars to continue rising.
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