Communities

COMMUNITIES

COMMUNITIES

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.

CURRENT NEWS

Hoboken establishes new department to wage its own war against climate change

By Ron Zeitlinger 01/11/24
People are always complaining about the weather, but no one ever does anything about it. Until now, sort of.
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Why people don’t have to pay anything for electricity in this Florida community

By Nicolas Rivero 01/06/24
In this Florida development, no one pays an electricity bill. It’s not because of subsidies, but by design: All of the 86 homes built or planned in Hunters Point, a residential development about an hour…
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How the suburbs could become 15-minute cities

By Michael J. Coren 11/28/23
Cities are in a hurry. Many are declaring themselves 15-minute metros, promising access to housing, shopping, schools and jobs within a 15-minute-or-so walk, bike or transit ride. And who wouldn’t want to live nearly next…
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First Fully-Electric MLS Soccer Stadium Being Built in New York City Could Transform the Whole Neighborhood

By Andy Corbley 11/28/23
New York City Football Club (NYCFC) recently revealed their proposal for a new soccer stadium in Willets Point, Queens, that would be totally electric, partly run on green energy, and built with recycled materials that…
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Plans to get an entire block off the natural gas system take shape in one California city

By Ysabelle Kempe 11/27/23
Underfoot in our cities lies a mammoth network of pipelines, delivering natural gas to millions of homes and businesses. In one small California city, plans are afoot to pare back this system: Albany, in the…
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As communities face climate change, CORE and CLEER help them transition to clean energy

By Eleanor Bennett 10/26/23
Transitioning to renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency is a crucial part of addressing climate change. But climate scientists and advocates say that the transition can be complicated, especially in communities that rely on…
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How does climate change threaten your neighborhood? A new map has the details.

By Kate Yoder 10/12/23
If you’ve been wondering what climate change means for your neighborhood, you’re in luck. The most detailed interactive map yet of the United States’ vulnerability to dangers such as fire, flooding, and pollution was released…
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How to cool down a city

By Pablo Robles, Josh Holder and Jeremy White 09/18/23
Singapore’s prime minister has described climate change as “life and death.” He has reason to worry: Stifling temperatures and humidity already last all year, and the city-state has warmed at twice the global average over…
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Strengthening a Minnesota Community with Solar and Resilience

By Gabe Epstein 07/06/23
Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood is a community of approximately 6,000 residents, most of whom have a household income of less than $35,000 annually. To support economic stability and energy resilience in this neighborhood, Duluth-based nonprofit…
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Cities Must Be Redesigned for a Future of Extreme Heat

By Akshat Rathi and Oscar Boyd 05/18/23
On this week’s Zero, Akshat Rathi talks to Eleni Myrivili, global chief heat officer for UN Habitat, about how cities can better cope with heat waves. By 2050, almost 70% of the world’s population will…
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Two weeks until California slashes rooftop solar incentives

By Sammy Roth 03/30/23
It’s been nearly a decade since California lawmakers ordered the state’s Public Utilities Commission to revamp a rooftop solar incentive program called net metering. In two weeks, we’ll finally begin to see the consequences of…
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He Wanted to Unclog Cities. Now He’s ‘Public Enemy No. 1.’

By Tiffany Hsu 03/28/23
For most of his 40-year career, Carlos Moreno, a scientist and business professor in Paris, worked in relative peace.
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KEY RESOURCES

Community Disaster Resilience Zones

09/08/23
Community Disaster Resilience Zones will build disaster resilience across the nation by driving federal, public and private resources to the most at-risk and in-need jurisdictions.

FEMA gives special status to 500 climate-vulnerable neighborhoods

09/07/23
Nearly 500 U.S. neighborhoods vulnerable to climate change have been selected to receive special help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and potentially other federal agencies, FEMA said Wednesday.

North American City Sustainability Study 2023

08/01/23
The impact of climate change is top of mind for real estate investors and occupiers. Nearly 70% of the more than 500 commercial real estate professionals participating in a recent CBRE global survey cited reducing…

5 Ways Community Solar Empowers Solar for All

07/06/23
Solar power is a long-lasting and cost-cutting renewable energy solution, but installing a home solar panel system isn’t feasible for everyone. Luckily, the benefits of solar aren’t limited to those who have panels on their…

FACT SHEET: The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Releases New Resources to Advance Climate Science and Support Decision Making

03/22/23
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is releasing new resources to advance climate science and knowledge, and to support leaders at every level of government in managing the impacts of climate…

The Solutions Project

03/07/21
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

01/18/21
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

10/01/20
County-Level Analysis of Commonly Used Indicators from Peer-Reviewed Research, 2019 update

Climate Emergency, Urban Opportunity

10/01/20
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

10/01/20
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

08/27/20
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

06/08/20
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

02/20/20
Cities are ready for 100% clean energy.

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

02/12/20
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…

OnePlanet

01/03/20
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

11/26/19
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

11/26/19
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

11/26/19
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…

How Cities Can Improve Homes

10/22/19
While reducing energy use in residential buildings plays a key role in meeting these goals, historically, this has been a hard sector to tackle. Residential buildings are decentralized, which makes it difficult to implement programs…

Zero Net Energy Buildings with Zero Net Added Cost

10/22/19
Would you consider making your next home or building project a zero energy project? If the net added cost to you was also zero, would you be more interested? Most people would. It’s possible to…

American Cities Climate Challenge

07/01/19
The American Cities Climate Challenge is an unprecedented opportunity for 25 ambitious cities to significantly deepen and accelerate their efforts to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for their residents. As Climate Challenge winners,…

Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate Change

05/28/19
Co-chaired by Maros Sefcovic and Michael Bloomberg, The Global Covenant of Mayors serves cities and local governments by mobilizing and supporting ambitious, measurable, planned climate and energy action in their communities by working with city/regional…

100% Commitments in Cities, Counties, & States

04/05/19
Across the U.S. over 90 cities, more than ten counties and two states, have already adopted ambitious 100% clean energy goals. Six cities in the U.S.--Aspen, Burlington, Georgetown, Greensburg, Rock port, and Kodiak Island--have already…

MORE NEWS

‘They’re not ready’: Cities scramble to implement climate law

By Timothy Cama   02/09/23  
The landmark climate change law passed last year relies heavily on cities and towns to implement some key provisions, but some aren’t yet ready to take on the challenge. City governments, still battered by the…
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Can cities eliminate heat-related deaths in a warming world? Phoenix is trying

By Emma Loewe   01/24/23  
Regional Carrillo could walk to his last job in five minutes. In most places, it would be a pleasant commute. But in Phoenix, where summer days routinely top 110 degrees Fahrenheit (and can feel like…
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Why Not Cover Ugly Parking Lots With Solar Panels?

By William Ralston   01/23/23  
A BACKLASH AGAINST industrial-size solar farms is brewing. At least 75 big solar projects were vetoed across the United States last year, compared to 19 in 2021. And between January 2021 and July 2022, planning…
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A California town’s wastewater is helping it battle drought

By Naoki Nitta   01/23/23  
Standing under a shady tree drooping with pomegranates late last year, Brad Simmons, a retired metal fabricator who has lived in Healdsburg, California, for 57 years, showed off his backyard orchard. Along with the apple,…
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How to build a better bike-share program

By Gabriela Aoun Angueira   01/20/23  
Geoff Coats still remembers how he felt when, in May 2020, all 1,350 bicycles in New Orleans’s popular bike-share program vanished.
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NEW REPORT: U.S. Conference of Mayors in Partnership with Wells Fargo Release Report on Effective Solutions for Climate Resilience

By Sara Durr   01/19/23  
Today, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) along with the Wells Fargo Institute for Sustainable Finance released a new report “Investing in Resilient and Equitable Neighborhoods,” which highlights focus areas, best practices and strategies…
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DOE Launches $10 Million Prize to Accelerate Community Solar in Underrepresented Communities

01/19/23  
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) today launched a slate of initiatives to support the deployment of equitable community solar projects and recognized projects exemplifying best practices in community solar.…
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The best and worst US states for climate change

By Inaara Thawer   12/27/22  
A recent study by Wise Voter set out to compare how each U.S. state is coping with the growing climate crisis. Each state was ranked based on five environmental factors. These were Carbon Emissions, the…
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The best and worst cities for climate change in 2023

By Logan Sachon and Pat Howard   12/22/22  
The climate is changing, and it’s happening faster and with more dangerous consequences in some cities.
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The climate impact of your neighborhood, mapped

By Nadja Popovich, Mira Rojanasakul and Brad Plumer   12/13/22  
New data shared with The New York Times reveals stark disparities in how different U.S. households contribute to climate change. Looking at America’s cities, a pattern emerges.
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Booker, Huffman, Merkley, Lowenthal Introduce Legislation to Address Plastic Production Crisis

12/01/22  
Today, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA-2nd), together with U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-CA-47th), introduced the Protecting Communities from Plastics Act, legislation that addresses the plastic…
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BRIEFING NOTE: Why getting off methane gas is right for communities

10/24/22  
The growing SAFE Cities movement of local governments working to stop the expansion of all types of fossil fuel infrastructure. This includes building electrification, especially in new buildings, in the US and Canada.
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A Closer Look at Six ‘11 Most’ Sites Affected by Climate Change

By Samantha de Leon   10/19/22  
From cities to harbors to cemeteries, the impacts of climate change have the potential to affect all types of historic resources. The approaches to adapting to these challenges are not simple, and require preservationists to…
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More Americans are moving into hurricane zones even as climate risks mount

By Anna Phillips   10/01/22  
Officials in Charleston, S.C., are clear that climate change poses an existential threat. They are working on plans to build a $1.1 billion sea wall that would protect historic homes from the increasingly powerful hurricanes…
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Mapping the coolest spots inside the world’s sweltering cities

By Laura Millan, Hayley Warren and Jeremy Scott Diamond   08/04/22  
The cement, glass and steel that give shape to urban life have also turned modern cities into dangerous heat sinks. Scorching sunlight gets absorbed, stored and slowly emitted in a bubble of warmth that can…
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Inside Ithaca’s plan to electrify 6,000 buildings and grow a regional green workforce using private equity funds

By Robert Walton   06/02/22  
Ithaca is known for its progressive politics — in the 90s the city pioneered a time-based currency to inspire local spending, for example. But the decarbonization plan is among its most ambitious efforts, according to…
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How Does Climate Change Affect Real Estate Prices?

By Andrew Dehan   02/27/22  
Whether you notice it or not, climate change is affecting the world around us. From droughts to fires to rising amounts of hurricanes, we’re noticing how our world is changing. These changes are causing shifts…
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Cities worldwide aren’t adapting to climate change quickly enough

By John Rennie Short   10/20/21  
Climate change is magnifying threats such as flooding, wildfires, tropical storms and drought. In 2020 the U.S. experienced a record-breaking 22 weather and climate disasters that each caused at least US$1 billion in damage. So…
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A New Tool to Balance Clean Energy and Wildlife Habitats in Maine

By David M. Kuchta   10/13/21  
As we face the dual crises of climate change1 and biodiversity loss,2 a new digital tool helps expand virtually carbon-free energy without sacrificing the wildlife habitats that support biodiversity. In Maine, the innovative Renewable Energy…
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Climate Change Is Bankrupting America’s Small Towns

By Christopher Flavelle   09/02/21  
 It’s been almost five years since Hurricane Matthew flooded this small town on the coastal plain of North Carolina. But somehow, the damage keeps getting worse.
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What would it take to put all our electric lines underground to prevent outages?

By Will Englund   09/02/21  
Hurricane Ida plunged more than 1 million customers on the Gulf Coast into darkness, and then knocked out power to another 200,000 in the Northeast on Wednesday night. The chief culprit, especially as the storm…
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How cities can achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050

By Shu Wang and Ripin Kalra   08/31/21  
Cities generate markets and cultures that come at a consequential cost and cause irrecoverable damage to the environment—climate change. Economies and society are significant barriers to achieving global targets such as the Paris Climate Agreement…
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Keep Fuel Dollars Local By Switching To EVs

By Carolyn Fortuna   08/30/21  
Let’s step back from this norm about fueling dollars and think about it a bit more closely. Wouldn’t it make sense to focus on generating electricity locally, so consumers can shift to electric transportation and save…
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This year’s extreme fires and floods may change what Americans think about climate change, our research finds

By Leanne Giordono , Hilary Boudet and Chad Zanocco   08/19/21  
The latest United Nations climate report concludes that human-caused climate change is “a code red for humanity,” as the U.N. secretary general put it. That threat is visible in a slew of unprecedented events across the globe.
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US communities say dire predictions in UN climate report already unfolding

By Rachel Frazin   08/17/21  
For many U.S. communities, the bleak predictions laid out in a new United Nations climate change report are more a reflection of the present and not just what’s to come.
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U.S. infrastructure projects in need of funding

07/29/21  
The snapshot below presents infrastructure projects in cities around the nation pending public or private investment, most of which respond to years of deterioration and the need for enhanced climate and environmental resilience. Addressing these…
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Washington state county is first in US to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure

By Oliver Milman   07/28/21  
A county in Washington state has become the first such jurisdiction in the US to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure, following a lengthy battle over the impact of oil refineries on the local community. In…
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How cities can adapt to climate change

By Brodie Boland and others   07/20/21  
Cities are on the front lines of the growing physical risks associated with climate change. 1 They are home to more than half of the world’s people, and by 2050, that figure is projected to…
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New tool called ‘Vulcan’ could help cities better estimate their carbon dioxide emissions

By YCC Team   05/06/21  
A lot of cities have ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But to achieve those goals, they first need to know exactly how much carbon pollution they produce now and where it comes from.
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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…
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Tiny Town, Big Decision: What Are We Willing to Pay to Fight the Rising Sea?

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

By Eric Roston   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…
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Decarbonizing cities – how to harmonize buildings, mobility and infrastructure

By Francesco Starace and Jean-Pascal Tricoire   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…
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Climate Change Will Roast Cities More Than Anywhere Else

Dan Robitzski   01/08/21  
Scientists are taking aim at a commonly-overlooked problem in the fight against climate change: what to do about cities.
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Climate Change Is Turning Cities Into Ovens

By Matt Simon   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.…
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Finding Your Horizon

Thelma Young Lutunatabua   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?
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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…
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Study Finds Some Communities Disproportionately Impacted By Heat

By Michael Monks   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.
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Iowa City looks to create climate conversations with new ambassadors program

By Samantha Murray   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…
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NC Begins Resilient Communities Program

10/02/20  
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.
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Some Cities Are Plotting a ‘Green Recovery’ After Covid-19

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…
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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…
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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…
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Knitters Chronicle Climate Change One Stitch at a Time

By Laura M. Holson   02/22/20  
Volunteers use different colors of yarn to make “temperature scarves” that serve as fashionable records of a warming world.
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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.
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7 trends that will define smart cities in 2020

By Cailin Crowe   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.
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10 Climate Change Impacts That Will Affect Us All

By Renee Cho   12/27/19  
As global greenhouse gases are projected to hit a new high for 2019, Petteri Taalas of the World Meteorological Organization recently declared, “Things are getting worse.” A 2019 poll found that only 24 percent of…
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This one weird trick can help any state or city pass clean energy policy

By David Roberts   12/26/19  
Federal climate politics in the US remains as gridlocked as ever, but the past few years have seen a remarkable flourishing of climate and clean energy policy at the subnational level, in states and cities…
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Empowering the Communities Most Vulnerable to Disaster

By Anuradha Varanasi   12/23/19  
Jaishree Beedasy delves into how disasters disproportionately affect the most vulnerable groups in society, particularly children, and how to help them recover. ...
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A Climate Change Double Whammy in the U.S. Corn Belt

By Marie Denoia Aronsohn   12/18/19  
The United States Corn Belt includes western Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, eastern Nebraska, and eastern Kansas. The region has dominated corn production in the U.S. since the 1850s, accounting for more than a third of…
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