Mayor Jim Kenney – joined by sustainability officials and advocates – today deepened Philadelphia’s commitment to meet the challenge of climate change by announcing a series of new steps.
“Since the White House has opted to step away from its obligations to this issue, all cities – including Philadelphia – must step up. The hotter, wetter, more extreme weather brought by climate change disproportionately harms our city’s most vulnerable residents,” said Mayor Kenney. “Transitioning to a just energy system that is clean and affordable for all will slow these changes and make Philadelphia a better place for current residents and future generations.”
At today’s event, Mayor Kenney signed onto “Mayors For 100% Clean Energy,” joining 99 other mayors in vowing to support a vision of 100% clean and renewable energy. The effort is spearheaded by the Sierra Club. “We are at a moment in time when the environment is under attack from federal policies,” said ‘Philadelphia Ready for 100’ volunteer Pratima Agrawal, “Mayor Kenney’s pledge is a guiding light for our resistance against those attacks and an affirmation that progress can happen when people rally together.”
The Mayor also announced the City will host on its website climate data that was removed from the Environmental Protection Agency website in April. This information includes background on how and why the climate is changing and what individuals can do to both slow carbon emissions and adapt to the changes residents are already experiencing. The City is hosting this data at https://beta.phila.gov/climatechangeisreal/. The source code is published as open source, so other cities can join the effort by copying the site with a few clicks.
“The City of Philadelphia is committed to helping transform our energy systems and to keeping the public informed,” said Mike DiBerardinis, Managing Director. “Absent federal leadership on climate change, local leaders will roll up our sleeves and work with residents, community groups, and local institutions to fight climate change.”
Energy and climate action are key components of both Greenworks, Philadelphia’s comprehensive sustainability plan, and the Philadelphia Energy Authority’s Energy Campaign, a ten-year initiative to invest in energy efficient buildings and renewable energy generation to create jobs and lower energy bills. You can learn more about these programs at www.phila.gov/green and http://www.philaenergy.org/energy-campaign/.
Drexel University is among several local institutions that have joined the City in committing to climate action in the wake of the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from international climate commitments and retreat from established climate science. Drexel University has committed to meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
Today’s actions follow the Mayor’s earlier commitment – made June 1, the day of the White House announcement – that the City will work towards the internationally-agreed upon carbon emissions reduction targets set in the Paris Accord. Energy used by buildings and industry creates 79% of carbon pollution in Philadelphia. Clean, carbon-free energy will be a critical tool to help Philadelphia meet internationally-agreed upon carbon emissions reduction targets locally.
Philadelphians who want to act now can find sustainability and environment action guides at https://beta.phila.gov/documents/environment-sustainability-city-of-philadelphia-action-guide/.
This Fall, Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability will release a citywide energy vision identifying how the city and others can work together to meet the Mayor’s for Clean Energy commitments and overcome the challenges of climate change.