Louisville Is Kentucky’s First City To Commit To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Louisville is the first city in Kentucky, the 160th city in the U.S., and the 455th city on the planet supporting emissions reduction. Forward-thinking mayors around the world are important leaders in the fight against climate change.

Louisville became Kentucky’s first city to pledge to use only renewable energy by 2035 for municipal operations and community-wide by 2040. It is the 160th city nationwide to make this commitment. The Louisville Metro Council Parks and Sustainability Committee approved a resolution 15 to four establishing the commitment to renewable energy.

Louisville has worked on reducing its carbon footprint for almost a decade. Mayor Greg Fischer signed the Global Covenant of Mayors, committing the city to reduce emissions and prepare for climate change impacts. The city finished doing a community greenhouse gas inventory and set an emissions reductions target.

“Those of us who have been working for over a year and a half to get this resolution passed are more than thrilled,” said Drew Foley, Chair of Greater Louisville Sierra Club, in a statement. “We are thankful to the fifteen forward-thinking, passionate councilpersons who passed this Resolution last night; they are leading Louisville into a carbon-free future where everyone can thrive.”

Nancy Givens, a member of Renewable Energy Alliance of Louisville, hopes that Louisville’s commitment to 100 percent renewable energy “will become a model for cities throughout Kentucky and an impetus for changes in state policy...policy that has hampered climate change progress far too long.”

Cities matter in the fight against climate change

Given President Trump’s continued climate change denial, it is important for states and cities to commit to reduce emissions and adopt renewable energy. In addition to the 160 cities that have committed to 100 percent renewable energy, more than 10 counties and seven states have adopted similar goals. Six cities in the U.S. (Aspen, Burlington, Georgetown, Greensburg, Rock Port, and Kodiak Island) have met their goals already and generate 100 percent of the energy used community-wide from renewables.

More than half of the world’s population live in cities and consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy. Greenhouse gas emissions from cities can be reduced by nearly 90 percent by 2050, according to a report by Coalitions for Urban Transitions. Investment to make that happen would generate an economic return of $23.9 trillion.

Scientists say that global warming needs to hold at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels to avoid the worst climate change impacts. To accomplish that emissions need to be nearly halved by 2030 from 2010 levels and reach net-zero by 2050. The good news is that nearly 10,000 cities and local governments globally have committed to set emissions reduction targets with plans to achieve those goals.

According to an analysis by C40, 30 cities globally have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions.

The 30 cities represent about 58 million people. The 30 cities, on average, have reduced emissions by 22 percent. Three cities (London, Berlin, and Madrid) averaged about 30 percent in reductions and Copenhagen reduced emissions by 61 percent.

Cities and states across the U.S. are involved in climate change mitigation activities. Most states have five to 12 mitigation related activities, according to an analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. California has the most with 25 mitigation activities. A total of 455 cities support emissions reduction, and 110 of those cities have set emissions reduction targets.

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