Many governors, mayors, and town boards are pledging to move their communities to 100% renewable and searching for wind, solar and hydropower opportunities to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. East Hampton, in New York State, is moving towards bringing wind turbines 30 miles off-shore whereas Palm Springs has already entirely electrified its entire community through an immense wind farm. Many communities are recognizing that their communities are going to have to make changes in order to mitigate their particular climate impact and adapt to the climate change consequences coming their way. This is called resilience. They are mitigating and adapting through green architecture, electric transportation and charging stations; battery storage, creating Community Choice Aggregation plans, rethinking ways to conserve, switching out light bulbs, altering building codes and planting trees. This includes planning public spaces to withstand sea level rise and rethinking their waste disposal and recycling.

This section takes a look at what individual towns, cities and states are doing as they prepare for climate change consequences. A number of states have passed significant energy legislation with 100% energy goals and others are moving in that direction.

US cities, towns and municipalities are equally motivated: over 139 cities, and twelve counties have already adopted ambitious 100% clean energy goals but few have achieved it. Six additional cities — Aspen CO, Burlington, Georgetown, Greensburg KS, Rock Port MO, and Kodiak Island — have already hit their targets, generating 100% of their energy from clean, non-polluting and renewable sources…In 2008, Rock Port, MO became the first city that could claim to get all its power from wind. 

In partnership with the global covenant of mayors, Google has begun estimating carbon pollution from cities around the world, as a way for leaders to focus and improve local climate programs.  Two of the cities, including Pittsburgh, Pa. and Mountain View, California, are in the US so far.



The Solutions Project

The Solutions Project is an organization first conceived in 2011 by prominent figures in science, business and the entertainment media with the goal of utilizing the combined efforts of individuals in the fields of science,…

Implementing the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act: A Virtual Roundtable Series

States and municipalities are learning from each other in a series of stunning webinars focusing on specific solutions. Although designed to illuminate New York’s 2019 landmark climate law, they are fascinating for everyone, experts and…

Community Resilience Indicator Analysis

County-Level Analysis of Commonly Used Indicators from Peer-Reviewed Research, 2019 update

Climate Emergency, Urban Opportunity

A new report from the Coalition for Urban Transitions finds that leadership from national governments is essential for achieving equitable and sustainable economic development in cities.

Cooling Emissions and Policy Synthesis Report

Action under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Destroy the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol) will phase-down the production and use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and could avoid up to 0.4°C of global…

Earth Overshoot Day – Cities

The global campaign for sustainability will be won, or lost, in cities. Between 70% and 80% of all people are expected to live in urban areas by 2050. Consequently, smart city planning and urban development…

About the Climate Resilience Toolkit

The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit provides scientific tools, information, and expertise to help people manage their climate-related risks and opportunities, and improve their resilience to extreme events. The site is designed to serve interested citizens,…

2018 Case Study Report

Cities are ready for 100% clean energy.

Moving Towards 100% Renewable Energy: Drivers Behind City Policies and Pledges

As the United States federal government retreats from energy and environmental regulation, local and regional efforts across the U.S. are scaling up. Cities, in particular, are intensifying their commitments to fight climate change and are…


To partner with indigenous and traditional communities to build a more sustainable, empowered, and just future through community-based projects, outreach, and technical assistance.

C40 Cities

Cities are where the future happens first. The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group connects more than 90 of the world’s greatest cities, representing over 650 million people and one quarter of the global economy. Created…

US Climate Alliance

In response to the U.S. federal government’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, Governors Andrew Cuomo, Jay Inslee, and Jerry Brown launched the United States Climate Alliance – a bipartisan coalition…

Resilient Communities For America

Resilient Communities for America (RC4A) champions the leadership of hundreds of local elected officials who are committed to creating more prepared communities that can bounce back from extreme weather, energy, and economic challenges. A strong…


Decarbonizing the U.S. Economy in a Way That’s Fast and Fair

By Sara Frueh   03/16/21  
As part of a global effort to limit the extent of climate change and stave off its worst impacts, many nations, regional jurisdictions, and cities have set the goal of emitting zero net greenhouse gases…

Tiny Town, Big Decision: What Are We Willing to Pay to Fight the Rising Sea?

By Christopher Flavelle  Photo by Erin Schaff   03/14/21  
Bobby Outten, a county manager in the Outer Banks, delivered two pieces of bad news at a recent public meeting. Avon, a town with a few hundred full-time residents, desperately needed at least $11 million…

U.S. Cities Are Under-Counting Their CO₂ Pollution By Almost 20%

By Eric Roston  Photo by Kena Betancur   02/02/21  
At least 48 U.S. cities are under-counting their carbon dioxide pollution by nearly 20%, according to a new study that compares local disclosures against a national database that can now estimate the same information. The…

Decarbonizing cities – how to harmonize buildings, mobility and infrastructure

By Francesco Starace and Jean-Pascal Tricoire  Photo by Getty Images   01/11/21  
An integrated approach is needed to fully decarbonize cities. Digitalization across buildings, mobility and energy infrastructure is key to achieving net zero carbon. Decarbonizing cities will not just benefit the environment, but also the jobs…

Climate Change Will Roast Cities More Than Anywhere Else

Dan Robitzski  Photo: Voctor Tangermann/Pixabay   01/08/21  
Scientists are taking aim at a commonly-overlooked problem in the fight against climate change: what to do about cities.

Climate Change Is Turning Cities Into Ovens

By Matt Simon  Photo by Arne Dedert   01/07/21  
Whichever side of the subjective city-versus-rural debate you’re on, the objective laws of thermodynamics dictate that cities lose on at least one front: They tend to get insufferably hotter, more so than surrounding rural areas.…

Finding Your Horizon

Thelma Young Lutunatabua  Photo via Generation Green New Deal Newsletter   01/06/21  
Both a pandemic and a climate crisis make planning for the future difficult. How do we design our lives around ever-increasing hurricanes or wildfires?

Study: Urban Greenery Plays a Surprising Role in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

By Pat Brennan   11/16/20  
Burning fossil fuels in densely populated regions greatly increases the level of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. The largest carbon dioxide sources are cars, trucks, ports, power generation, and industry, including manufacturing. Urban greenery adds…

Study Finds Some Communities Disproportionately Impacted By Heat

By Michael Monks  Photo by Michael E. Keating   10/20/20  
Extreme heat, flooding and worsened air quality will be the most deadly and costly effects of climate change, according to the National Climate Assessment. And these impacts will not affect neighborhoods equally.

Iowa City looks to create climate conversations with new ambassadors program

By Samantha Murray  Photo by Daniel McGregor-Huyer   10/13/20  
The City of Iowa City will launch Iowa City Climate Ambassadors this winter, a new program that aims to inspire people to work against climate change by creating initiatives on the individual level. The program…

NC Begins Resilient Communities Program

Officials announced Thursday a new initiative to help the state prepare for the affects of climate change while reducing damages from future disasters such as hurricanes, flooding and wildfires.

Some Cities Are Plotting a ‘Green Recovery’ After Covid-19

Photo by Bing Guan   09/26/20  
The cars that typically throng the huge highways weaving through Los Angeles are such an established part of the city’s fabric that when the coronavirus pandemic hit, their sudden absence felt bizarre to locals, even…

Corridor effort to bring awareness of local impacts of climate change

By Emily Chavez   09/24/20  
Eastern Iowa is taking action on climate change. From Sept. 19- 26, the City of Iowa City is celebrating Climate Fest, an opportunity for the community to address climate change. For the first time, Linn…

Will “Smart Cities” Save Us From Rising Seas?

By John Englander   06/02/20  
The world is becoming more and more urbanized. It is estimated that two thirds of the world’s population will be living in cities by the year 2050. Over the last decade or so, the concept…

Knitters Chronicle Climate Change One Stitch at a Time

By Laura M. Holson  Photo: Michael Spear for The New York Times   02/22/20  
Volunteers use different colors of yarn to make “temperature scarves” that serve as fashionable records of a warming world.

6 Changes in Society Could Rapidly Pave the Way to a Sustainable Future, Study Finds

By Johnny WoodDespite efforts to achieve net-zero by 2050, global emissions are still rising.A new study suggests ways to fast-track efforts to decarbonize the planet.Building a business case for sustainable energy could drive the transition.It's…

Cities and towns can’t solve climate change on their own

By Stephanie Manuzak   01/22/20  
They can make progress, but they need state and federal help, too, says sustainability manager Carol Davis of Blacksburg, Virginia.

7 trends that will define smart cities in 2020

By Cailin Crowe  Photo by Getty Images   01/02/20  
It's the turn of a new decade, and following a wild year of transformation in 2019, the 2020s are bound to face more innovation, speculation and security risks than ever before.

10 Climate Change Impacts That Will Affect Us All

And how to protect yourself from them. 

This one weird trick can help any state or city pass clean energy policy

Shutterstock A political strategy that actually works. This piece was originally published in May and has been lightly updated. As of December, 15 states (and Washington, DC and Puerto Rico) have official targets to get…

Empowering the Communities Most Vulnerable to Disaster

Jaishree Beedasy delves into how disasters disproportionately affect the most vulnerable groups in society, particularly children, and how to help them recover.

A Climate Change Double Whammy in the U.S. Corn Belt

Warming temperatures create two major drying trends, jeopardizing corn and soybean crops.

Brighton Kaoma: Empowering Communities for Climate Action Since Age 14

As a teenage radio journalist in Zambia, Kaoma helped communities voice their environmental concerns. Now he’s a graduate student in Environmental Science and Policy.

How indigenous peoples can help the world meet its climate goals

By Julia Rosen  Photo: Greenpeace   11/05/19  
The first time Mandy Gull visited Canada’s Broadback Forest, she was struck by the displays of delicate lichen. By the dense, ancient trees. By the moss-covered floor, which rose and fell like a rumpled green…

Cities, states and companies vow to meet U.S. climate goals without Trump. Can they?

By Julia Rosen  Photo: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times   11/04/19  
Despite President Trump‘s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, the United States hasn’t completely abandoned the landmark international agreement.

Q&A With Sustainable Cities Expert Jitendra Bajpai

The engineer and urban transport planner teaches a course on sustainable cities for the M.S. in Sustainability Management program. 

Urban humans

From space shortages to worsening climate change, cities are being forced to adapt at a pace never experienced before. How far can they push their limits, and make sure they leave no one behind?

94 World Mayors Call for Green New Deal, Blast Slow National Actions

Disappointed by the lack of concrete action at September's UN Climate Action Summit, the mayors of some of the world's biggest cities are taking matters into their own hands.The C40 group of mayors — who…

A Sustainability Indicator to Compare the Bike Friendliness of U.S. Cities

An index created by a student would measure how well cities are encouraging bicycling through infrastructure, safety, and clean air.

To Counteract Trump on Climate, States Set Clean Energy Targets

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How cities reshape the evolutionary path of urban wildlife

If researchers can figure out how pigeons and rats evolve to thrive in hostile city habitats, it could help other beasts--including us--adapt to climate change.

Indigenous people are already working “green jobs”

From Standing Rock to the Unist’ot’en Camp, land defense and water protection are necessary for the continuation of life on a planet teetering on collapse.

RELEASE: New Report Finds National Governments Can Unlock Nearly $24 Trillion by Investing in Zero-Carbon Cities

A new report from the Coalition for Urban Transitions, supported by 50 leading institutions, shows that national governments that invest in low-carbon cities can enhance economic prosperity, make cities better places to live and rapidly…

The Fight For Environmental Justice In America’s Segregated Cities

By Peter Dykstra  Photo:   09/07/19  
Abolitionist climate justice is an evolving movement that aims to tackle the disparate effects of climate change across race and class

I helped expose the lead crisis in Flint. Here’s what other cities should do.

The fight against lead in water is a fight for our kids.

Major U.S. cities are leaking methane at twice the rate previously believed

By Sid Perkins  Photo: Kort/University of Michigan   07/19/19  
Natural gas, long touted as a cleaner burning alternative to coal, has a leakage problem. A new study has found that leaks of methane, the main ingredient in natural gas and itself a potent greenhouse…

These Are the Cities Doing the Most to Combat Global Warming

By Jeremy Hodges and Demetrios Pogkas   05/15/19  
Cities, which are home to more than half the world’s population, are stepping up efforts to slash pollution, often wresting the fight against climate change away from national governments.

The Fight to Tame a Swelling River With Dams That May Be Outmatched by Climate Change

By Tyler J. Kelley  Photo by Ackerman and Tim Gruber   03/21/19  
There were no good choices for John Remus, yet he had to choose. Should he try to hold back the surging Missouri River but risk destroying a major dam, potentially releasing a 45-foot wall of…

Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston and DC join Bloomberg climate challenge winners

By Chris Teale   10/22/18  
Four more cities have been honored as winners of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, DC.

Mike Bloomberg Names Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, DC as Winners in Bloomberg American Cities Climate ChallengeIssue is resolved.

By Bloomberg Philanthropies   10/21/18  
Today, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action and former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg joined Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto in West End Overlook Park to announce Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington D.C. as the next round…

Climate gentrification: the rich can afford to move – what about the poor?

By Oliver Milman   09/25/18  
As people flee intense heat in Arizona for gentler climes, rental and property values soar. But what about those left behind?

Where should you move to save yourself from climate change?

By Oliver Milman   09/24/18  
Climate change is fueling heatwaves, hurricanes and floods, gradually making certain places in the US challenging, if not outright miserable, to live in. Scientists, and some members of the public, are starting to question where…

At the Edge of the World, Facing the End of the World

By Matt Simon   09/17/18  
Al Gore got onstage Friday at the Global Climate Action Summit and said this, his voice crescendoing into a boom: “We are seeing businesses lead the way, we're seeing investors lead the way, we're seeing…

How This Community Fought for $70 Million in Cleanup Funds — and Won

By Johnny Magdaleno   08/13/18  
Southwest Fresno has California’s worst air quality and greatest concentration of disadvantaged neighborhoods. The inspiring story of residents who mobilized to claim the state funds to redress these ills.