Over the past three decades, more than 600 local governments across the United States adopted their own climate action plans setting greenhouse gas reduction targets. These pledges were in addition to America’s commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement, an international treaty signed by nearly 200 nations to limit the impact of climate change.
But experts now say that many of those cities’ individual plans were aspirational at best. Now they must work harder if they’re going to curb the warming trend.
Palm Springs also has seen success in reducing emissions, but the city sweltered this summer during its hottest June and July on record and fears the rising heat will hurt its tourism-reliant economy.
It reduced last year’s emissions to 16% below levels a decade ago. That was due in large part to a collaboration with a community-choice program launched last year that allows local governments to purchase electricity for its residents. All residents were automatically enrolled in Desert Community Energy’s carbon free plan, which provides electricity from carbon-free sources such as hydropower, wind, and solar.
Without the program, city officials said it would have seen a nearly 5% increase in greenhouse gas emissions.