How Cities Are Responding to Climate Change

The White House recently named 16 communities as Climate Action Champions recognizing their innovative efforts to address the threats of climate change

What Happened?

The White House recently named 16 communities in the U.S. as Climate Action Champions recognizing their innovative efforts to address the threats presented by climate change. The announcement underscores a trend in local governments' implementing of solutions to protect infrastructure and economies from climate change.

Climate Action Champions

The White House launched the Climate Action Champions competition to spur brainstorming and innovation in sustainability and resilience at the local level. From the competition, 16 communities were recognized as leaders in their efforts to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

These communities were given federal funding to further build out their resilience projects for long-term success, as well as access to peer-to-peer learning and mentorship from federal programs to aid in initiative building and deployment.

Each Climate Action Champion will be assigned a coordinator that will connect local communities to federal agencies, national organizations and foundations for additional support and resources. These larger entities will help the local communities boost awareness campaigns and take advantage of technical assistance opportunities available to them. Types of federal support for the 16 champions include:

  • Access to renewable experts
  • Resilience partnership with federal facilities
  • Exercises in adaption, preparedness and resilience
  • Peer network for long-term planning and best practices

Furthermore, the White House is launching a Climate Education and Literacy program to ensure members of the community have access to up-to-date information on climate change, severe weather and the impacts on infrastructure and economic activity. This initiative includes developing more climate science courses for schools as well as engaging with senior citizens and professionals.

Support at the Local Level

In addition, the White House announced new resilience funding opportunities for local communities combatting the threats of climate change by building sustainable projects and reducing carbon emissions. These include:
  • Funding for Smart Grid Technologies: The U.S. Department of Energy is offering up to $3.5 million in federal grants through the Resilient Electricity Delivery Infrastructure Initiative to help cities improve recovery of electricity delivery services with the latest smart grid technologies.
  • Funding for Resilient Coastal Communities: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is awarding up to $15 million in Coastal Resilience grants to support coastal communities as they mitigate the impacts of extreme weather, climate change and changing ocean conditions.

At the Lima Climate Change Conference, representatives from the Conference of the Parties discussed how best to address climate change on a global scale. One major trend emerging from the event was a push toward investment in low-carbon infrastructure at the city level to reduce emissions while spurring economic growth and improving quality of life.

Because cities account for 70 percent of global emissions, they are a good place to start. The types of projects proven most effective range from energy-efficient transit systems to solar power installations to retrofitting buildings with green materials and infrastructure.

To support these projects, technical and capital assistance is needed at the local level. It was argued that national governments should empower cities to reach ambitious sustainability goals by making access to capital and resources easier and more affordable.

What Climate Change is Driving

Gov1 has tracked a growing list of climate change initiatives focused on sustainability and resiliency at the local level.

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