CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Climate Action Plan: Building Thriving and Healthy Neighborhoods, to be launched today at the fifth annual Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit, is a long-term plan containing 33 actions designed to make Cleveland more resilient in the face of global climate change. The overarching goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 (with 2010 emissions levels as the baseline).
“This is a bold, yet achievable, goal, that doesn’t sacrifice our ability to build a thriving and sustainable regional economy,” said Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “This plan makes sense from an economic, environmental, and equity perspective; climate change adds a sense of urgency.”
The global increase in greenhouse gas emissions has created social, economic, budgetary, health, ecological and security impacts for cities across the country, prompting local governments to plan differently for the future.
The Climate Action Plan addresses these changes as well as provides strategies that reduce carbon emissions over the long term. Interim goals have also been set: 16% reduction by 2020 and 40% reduction by 2030 (both compared to 2010 levels).
While Cleveland is relatively well positioned in the face of climate change because of access to fresh water and a temperate climate, it still faces many impacts that put environmental and human health at risk. Projections depict a climate in Cleveland more like Oklahoma by mid-century, including many more high heat days, more intense storms, and more frequent drought conditions.
In October 2012, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability convened a 50-member Climate Action Advisory Committee with representatives of leading Cleveland organizations from the commercial, industrial, educational, government, and non-profit sectors to inform and create the Climate Action Plan. Successful implementation will require ongoing commitment from this broad base of stakeholders and the greater Cleveland community.
“This plan is about much more than climate change. It provides 33 specific actions we can take now and in the future to strengthen our economy and clean our environment which in turn will increase the livability of our neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life for all Clevelanders,” said Jenita McGowan, Chief of Sustainability.
The 33 actions are focused in six key areas:
- Energy Efficiency and Green Building;
- Advanced and Renewable Energy;
- Sustainable Mobility;
- Waste Reduction and Resource Conservation;
- Land Use and Clean Water; and
- Community Engagement and Public Health.
The fifth annual Sustainability Summit, taking place October 3 and 4 at Public Auditorium will focus on implementing the next steps in the Climate Action Plan. The plan builds on the Sustainable Cleveland Municipal Action Plan, which focuses on specific actions being taken by Cleveland city government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through operational changes.
Because the Cleveland Climate Action Plan takes a long-term approach, it will be evaluated over time to determine where these actions and goals should be modified or revised. This flexible approach allows for new technologies, new laws and new opportunities to inform the plan, the actions and the goals.
The Climate Action Plan is available online at: www.sustainablecleveland.org/about/climate-action-plan/
Editor’s Note: The Climate Action Plan is currently on the summit agenda for 1:30 p.m., Thursday, October 3, 2013 at Public Hall, 500 Lakeside Avenue. Please contact the Mayor’s Office of Communications at 216-664-4011 if you would like to attend.