Indy Mayor Looks to Paris, Not D.C., in Climate Change Plans

Says city should be carbon neutral by 2050.

(Photo by Jasssmit)

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Another mayor has vowed to go full speed ahead in climate change response — despite the actions (and inactions) of President Donald Trump’s federal government.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced at the Indiana Climate Leadership Summit last week that the city is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, the Indianapolis Star​ reports. That decision will keep Indianapolis up to date with the 2015 Paris climate agreement, which Trump withdrew from in June.

Hogsett cited the spate of recent natural disasters, including hurricanes Harvey and Irma, in his announcement.

“The climate is changing,” he said, adding that if “the tragedies of the last several weeks have taught us anything, it is this: How well cities are prepared will determine their success over the years and decades to come.”

Dozens of mayors have banded together regarding the Paris agreement. In November 2016, 37 city leaders signed an open letter to the newly elected president-in-waiting, urging him to embrace its goals. After Trump signed an executive order in March intended to undo many of President Barack Obama’s environmental regulations, they published another open letter. When Trump finally announced that the U.S. would exit the climate accord, a group of several hundred mayors, including the mayors of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Jose and Dallas, vowed to stay bound to its goals.

Other cities that have made 100 percent renewable promises include San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Salt Lake City and Madison, Wisconsin.

According to the Indianapolis Star, the city’s emissions are similar to other large metros, but it could be in a unique position to pioneer solutions. That’s because it’s one of the best studied in the world for its levels of greenhouse gas emissions and their origins, thanks to a model developed at nearby Purdue University that tracks emissions’ placement and amount down to the building level.

“If for Indy, we can learn how to do this and make carbon neutrality possible … then we will save the world trillions of dollars and millions of lives potentially lost from climate change,” Paul Shepson, a professor of atmospheric chemistry at Purdue University, told the paper.

The specifics of how Indianapolis will achieve 100 percent have yet to hammered out, but according to WIBC, the city is planning to hire a consulting firm to assess its infrastructure, disaster readiness, and emissions, as well as the ties between climate change and health, poverty, and crime.

Rachel Dovey is an award-winning freelance writer and former USC Annenberg fellow living at the northern tip of California’s Bay Area. She writes about infrastructure, water and climate change and has been published by Bust, Wired, Paste, SF Weekly, the East Bay Express and the North Bay Bohemian

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Tags: resilient citiesclimate changemayorsindianapolis

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