Cities Attack Climate Change, One Kilowatt at a Time

September 29, 2010

Many North American cities are taking steps to reduce energy use and lessen their impacts on climate change. To help illustrate the nitty-gritty of such efforts, the tri-national Commission for Environmental Cooperation (Canada, US, and Mexico) issued a report on Sept. 17, 2010, that illustrates how 13 cities have progressed so far.

The report's authors say that cities have direct or indirect control of more than half the energy use in an urban area. The featured case studies were done for cities in each country that have a wide range of population sizes, economies, and strategies:

  • Canada: St. John, Montreal, Whistler, and York.
  • Mexico: Aguascalientes, Mexico City, Monterrey, and Municipio de Centro.
  • US: Boulder, Burlington, Eugene, Louisville, and New York City.

The steps taken so far in each city ranged from small, planned efforts to reduce building energy use, to comprehensive, multi-sector adopted plans for reducing energy use. Despite the touted progress, the authors acknowledge that many barriers to more energy use reductions remain, regardless of country, including apathy, institutional rigidity, interdepartmental squabbling, and lack of funding.

For many more examples of local efforts to reduce energy use and address climate change, see: