571 Strategies To Reduce GHG Emissions Adopted by 44 Cities

This site has previously focused primarily on the obligations of nations, organizations, and citizens around the world to respond to climate change at levels consistent with their ethical and moral obligations as well as with the ethical and moral problems with most arguments made by opponents of  climate change policies.  While national responses to climate change for the most part remain frighteningly inadequate, many local governments around the world have started to step up to reduce GHG emissions sometimes at surprisingly ambitious levels. The following paper identifies 571 strategies that 44 cities have adopted to achieve their emissions reduction commitments. Many cities are reducing GHG emissions while claiming they are saving money and often improving the  quality of life and sometimes creating jobs.

571 Examples of Strategies to Reduce GHG Emissions at the Local Governmental Level From 44 Cities Around the World

Donald A. Brown

Scholar in Residence and Professor

Widener University Commonwealth Law School

This paper relies on the research of Brett Flower, Jaclyn Kartley, Stacey Lindsay, Tyler Semler, Widener University Commonwealth Law School Students, and Analyn Avila, Jason Bailey, Colin Bloomfield, Priyanka Chakraborty, Victoria Edmonds, and Ina Holm Johansen, University of Auckland Law School Students

  1. Introduction

All around the world, local governments are beginning to step up to reduce the threat of climate change creating some hope that the world could begin to take action at the civilization challenging levels necessary to avoid catastrophic human-induced climate change impacts. The Secretariat for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change website identifies 2508 cities that have made specific commitments to reduce GHG emissions.[1]

This paper identifies greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets and strategies that have been adopted to achieve these targets by 44 cities around the world.

This paper’s identification of hundreds of strategies adopted by 44 cities demonstrates that local governments are innovating to find creative strategies to reduce the enormous threat of climate change and thereby implementing novel GHG reduction tactics, many of which cannot be taken by higher levels of government including state, regional, and national governments. Because local governments are working at a scale closer to most people and businesses that are responsible for GHG emissions, local governments are often in an optimal position to work closest with those most responsible for GHG emissions.

This paper includes the following sections:

(1) List of cities and targets,

(2) Identification of strategies adopted by these cities arranged in the following categories:

  1. 15 strategies for building green buildings,
  2. 55 strategies for reducing energy use in buildings,
  3. 19 other strategies for reducing energy use in general,
  4. 37 strategies for increasing renewable energy,
  5. 16 strategies to increase energy efficiency,
  6. 10 energy ordinance strategies,
  7. 143 strategies to reduce GHG emissions from transportation,
  8. 18 lighting transformation strategies,
  9. 32 strategies for managing waste disposal,
  10. 51 land use planning strategies,
  11. 19 miscellaneous tactics for reducing GHG emissions,
  12. 71 strategies for educating citizens,
  13. 38 strategies for incentivizing private sector GHG emissions reductions,
  14. 22 funding strategies to reduce GHG reduction emissions,
  15. 25 cooperative government climate strategies; and.

(3) Thirty Conclusions from this Analysis.

          I. Cities and reduction targets:

  1. Addis Ababa, reduce GHG output by 64% from business as usual projections by 2030.[2]
  2. 67% reduction of CO2 by 2035 in comparison to 2005[3]
  3. Amsterdam, by 2025, a 40 % reduction of CO2 compared to 1990 followed by 75% reduction by 2040.[4]
  4. Austin, net zero carbon by 2050,[5] 35% of its energy produced from renewables by 2020 and divest Austin of ownership in coal-generated facilities.[6]
  5. Berkeley, cut GHGs to 33% below 2000 levels by 2020, 80% reduction by [7]
  6. Berlin, reduce GHG emissions by 85% compared to 1990 levels by 2050, 40% compared to 1990 levels by 2020.[8]
  7. Bogotá, 62% GHG reductions by 2050.[9]
  8. Boston, 80% below 2005 CO2 levels by 2050, with an interim goal of 25% reduction by 2020.[10]
  9. Boulder, 80% reductions of CO2 below 2005 levels by 2050,[11]100% renewable electricity by 2030.[12] Finally, reduce organizational GHG emissions 80% below 2008 levels by 2030.[13]
  10. Brussels, 30% reduction of CO2 compared to 1990 levels by [14]
  11. Buenos Aires, 30% GHG reductions by 2030.[15]
  12. Calgary, 20% CO2below 2005 by 2020 and 50% below1990 by 2036.[16]
  13. Chicago, 80% reduction of CO2 below 1990 levels by 2050, with an interim goal of 25% below 2005 levels by 2020.[17]
  14. Copenhagen, achieving carbon neutrality by 2025.[18]
  15. Dublin, 13% reduction from 2005 CO2 levels by 2020.[19]
  16. Durban, 30% reduction of CO2 by 2020 from 1990 levels.[20]
  17. Edmonton, by 2035 35% GHG reductions below 2005 levels,[21]
  18. Hiroshima, 30% reduction of CO2by 2030 from 1990, by 2050 70% reduction from 1990.[22]
  19. London, reduce CO2 by 60% from 1990 by 2025, 80% by 2050.[23]
  20. Los Angeles, 45% reduction of CO2 by 2025, 60% by 2035, and 80% by 2050 from 1990 levels.[24]
  21. Melbourne, 100% CO2 reduction by 2020.[25]
  22. Minneapolis 15% CO2 reduction by 2015, 30% by 2025.[26]
  23. Nashville, 70 % CO2 reduction by 2050.[27]
  24. New York, 30% CO2 reduction below 2006 by 2017,[28] 80% by 2050, 40% by 2030. [29]
  25. Oslo, 50% CO2 reduction below 1991 levels by 2020; 95% below 1991 by 2030, 100% below 1991 by 2050.[30]
  26. Perth, 20% CO2 reduction by 2020 in comparison to 2011-2012, 32% by 2031.[31]
  27. Phoenix, carbon neutrality by 2020.[32]
  28. Philadelphia, 80% CO2 reduction from 1990 levels by 2050.[33]
  29. Pittsburgh, 20% CO2 reduction below 2003 levels by 2023.[34]
  30. Portland, 80% CO2 reduction from 1990 levels by 2050, interim goal of 40% reduction by 2030.[35]
  31. Quito, 30 % CO2 reduction CO2 by 2025. [36]
  32. Rio de Janeiro. 16 % CO2 reduction CO2 by 2016 and 20% by 2020 by considering 2005 as the baseline[37].
  33. Rotterdam, 50% reduction CO2 by 2050.[38]
  34. San Francisco requires individual departments in the city to develop annual climate action plans outlining steps to decrease GHG emissions.[39] The target for all departments is 25% reduction by 2017, 40% reduction by 2025, and an 80% reduction by 2050 all from 1990 levels.[40]
  35. Seattle, carbon neutrality by 2050.[41]
  36. Seoul, 25% reduction by 2020, 40% below 2005 by 2030.[42]
  37. Shenzen, 45% CO2 reduction in carbon intensity by 2020 to reach 0.81 tCO2 /CNY 1000.[43]
  38. Singapore, 36% GHG reductions by 2030 from 2005 levels,[44]
  39. Stockholm, net-zero by 2040 and fossil fuel free by 2050.[45]
  40. Sydney’s 70% CO2 reductions below 2006 levels by 2030.[46] The properties and operations owned by Sydney have been carbon neutral certified since 2011,[47] interim goals of 44% by 2030.[48] Sydney also plans to have the city use 100% renewable energy derived from solar, wind, and waste.[49]
  41. Vancouver, 5% CO2 reduction from 1990 levels by 2020.[50]
  42. Washington D.C., 80% CO2 reduction by 2050.[51]
  43. Wellington, 80% CO2 reduction from 2001 levels by 2050,[52] with interim targets of 10% by 2020; 40% by 2030; and, 65% by 2040.[53]
  44. Yokahama, 24% CO2 reduction by 2030, by 2050 80% from 2005 levels.[54]

      Section II. Strategies Deployed

The following identifies strategies that cities have adopted to achieve the reduction targets. Some of these strategies could be placed in several different categories

          A. Building green buildings

  1. Enacting a policy that new buildings must be designed with passive/low energy, (Oslo).
  2. Developing net zero apartment buildings, (Sydney).
  3. Implementing a Zero Emissions building plan:
    • Eliminating emissions from new buildings by 2020;
    • Increase building insulation requirements; and
    • Reduce energy use,(Vancouver).
  4. Specify future clean energy designs for new buildings, (Boulder).
  5. Encourage net zero buildings with the E+ program, (Boston).
  6. Public School 62 is the first “net-zero energy” school constructed in New York City. The school is designed to reduce energy use by roughly 50% as compared to a standard new NYC public school by using an ultra-tight high- performance building envelope, day-lit corridors, energy recovery, a geothermal well field, and demand-control ventilation. The building offsets the rest of the energy use with wrap-around solar PV panels placed on the entire roof area and the south façade, and solar thermal panels to provide domestic hot water and supplement the heating system, (New York).
  7. Establishing, implementing, and maintaining sustainable building practices for the buildings it owns, leases and funds over the course of their entire (Edmonton).
  8. Upgrade green building standards to include more protective standards for new buildings and certain public and private sector buildings, (Austin).
  9. Require owners of large buildings to incorporate integrated energy modelling early in design process, (Austin).
  10. Mandatory energy modelling and an energy assurance scheme for buildings larger than 5,000 sq m., (Calgary).
  11. Create show case and best practice energy buildings for public buildings, (Melbourne).
  12. Expand requirements for new buildings including implementing a New-Zero goal by 2030, requiring all new buildings to be solar capable, requiring that new city buildings meet LEED Gold standard, requiring new developments to encourage and accommodate low-carbon transportation choices, and require private construction to meet LEED Silver standard (Boston).
  13. Model good behavior to stimulate copycat behavior. A surprisingly successful approach that has seen significant upticks in “passive building” stock is the adoption of the Made In Green standards, a plan which focuses on making public buildings exemplars of ecological considerations, developing rigorous standards for new construction, encourages the incorporation of sustainable neighbor strategies in all new developments, develops green economic networks such as the Employment-Environment Alliance, and focuses on low-carbon mobility, (Brussels).
  14. Official and municipal buildings have all been made climate neutral and schools and public buildings will be transformed as well. Post-2015 only climate neutral buildings are being permitted for construction, (Amsterdam).
  15. Obtain LEED GOLD certification for all new construction and major renovation projects, (San Francisco, Airport).

       B. Reducing energy use in buildings

  1. Developing a district heating system using biomass energy resilience capacity building techniques, (Boulder).
  2. Encouraging eco-certification for municipal buildings, (Oslo).
  3. Adopting building efficiency standards and requirements, (Boulder).
  4. Achieving net zero energy at the new Airfield Security building, (San Francisco, Airport).
  5. Creating building energy monitoring requirements, (Philadelphia).
  6. Providing home repair and energy efficiency upgrades to low income residences, (Portland).
  7. Retrofit 40% of buildings to reduce energy consumption by 2020, (Chicago).
  8. Conserve energy through green roofs, 6,000 to be installed by 2020, (Chicago).
  9. Distribute weatherization materials and compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) to residents, (Chicago).
  10. Make municipal operations a model for minimizing environmental impacts from cleaning products to green roofs, (Boston) (Minneapolis).
  11. For existing municipal buildings incorporate LEED commercial interiors guidelines, (Boston).
  12. Encourage net zero buildings with the E+ program, a program that seeks to make existing buildings ultra efficient, (Boston).
  13. Encourage greening buildings with the Mayor’s Carbon Cup Award to recognize businesses that achieve deep GHG reduction goals, (Boston).
  14. Ensure that building decision-makers have access to building energy use information, (New York).
  15. Improve the energy performance of existing large buildings through the expansion of energy reporting, benchmarking, and disclosure practices, (Edmonton).
  16. Require all new occupied city owned, funded, or renovated buildings to exceed the highest sustainability rating standards, (Calgary).
  17. Create a survey of commercial buildings to determine barriers to energy retrofits, (Melbourne).
  18. In municipal buildings, both houses and offices, phase out the use of oil heating, (Oslo).
  19. Adopt passive house standards for all municipal buildings to minimize the amount of energy required for space heating and cooling, (0slo).
  20. Challenge all city buildings to achieve 10% energy reduction, (Wellington).
  21. Encourage builders and developers to site buildings for better solar orientation to maximize passive solar heating, (Calgary).
  22. Promote the use of visible energy meters in homes and workplaces, (Calgary).
  23. Increase quantity of green certified buildings by focusing on both new construction and remodeled stock using the Green Building Program as a Strategies include minimization of energy and water use (for instance, greywater reuse, rainwater harvesting, storm water reclamation, and regulation of local waterway use and pollution) and maximization of construction debris recycling and reuse, (Berkely).
  24. Enhance energy use standards for existing housing stock by encouraging energy efficiency (green building requirements) achieved via subsidized upgrades for insulation, rebates for energy upgrades, income-qualified weatherization services, making publicly available residential blocks energy efficiency data, state funded energy efficiency loans, and official endorsement of the Energy Star rating program, (Berkely).
  25. Increase public building renewables use and overall energy efficiency following a multi-headed approach that includes Energy Star compliance, the use of solar installations designed to off-set power use, upgrading all city lights (including traffic lights) to LEDs, a mandate that all public buildings under construction or renovation meet LEED silver certification or higher, the use of the Precautionary Principle in all city purchasing decisions, water conservation and recycling programs, and upgrade city vehicle fleet from conventionally powered vehicles to those using alternative, renewable energy, (Berkeley).
  26. Expand energy efficiency program by focusing on the residential experience of citizens and targeting low income, rental, and multi-unit housing, (Boston).
  27. Work with third party organizations to incentivize building owners to seize opportunities for energy efficiency projects both during construction and renovation, (Boston).
  28. Work with utilities to encourage replacement of inefficient outdated equipment before traditional end-of life points are reached, assist in bulk purchasing of replacement technologies and green tech. encourage load-shifting to enhance renewable energy usage, and encourage the deployment of thermal and battery storage, (Boston).
  29. Work with utilities to identify commercial tenant spaces that are abnormally energy demanding and reach out to these to encourage efficiency Similarly, target residential rental opportunities to reduce energy demand, (Boston).
  30. Lead by example, fully shifting public buildings to energy efficient practices by 2020 including the use of high efficiency street lighting, insulation of public buildings, and deployment of renewable energy infrastructure, (Boston).
  31. Conduct more pilot programs including construction of net-zero buildings, incentivize sustainable building practices by offering public land and financial considerations for industry interested in experimenting, leverage Boston’s research capabilities to develop and experiment with better building processes, explore green leasing and encourage vertical thinking that considers roof space as environmental space, including use of cool roofs and green roofs, (Boston).
  32. Reform existing codes to ensure rigorous coverage and retrain inspectors to ensure proper enforcement. Expand building codes to increase standards for renovation and building projects, (Boston).
  33. Work to interconnect existing energy data and reporting mechanisms, (Boston).
  34. Add energy efficiency measures to all current and past city building projects, (Boston).
  35. Adapt public housing to achieve passive standards and assist low income citizens in implementing energy saving alterations, (Brussels).
  36. Require that public buildings play an “exemplary role” by requiring them to exceed standards and demonstrate to the public the energy successes. Require that buildings achieve passive goals, the public fleet to be completely green, and environmental training for all employees be made standard, (Brussels).
  37. Launch the Green Condominium Program (aimed at improving energy efficiency in small, single family homes), the Green Landlord Program (aimed at encouraging landlords to upgrade their facilities), the Home Energy Efficiency Empowerment Program (aimed at educating homeowners on energy efficiency and providing technical know-how and funding assistance), and the Home Energy Technology Program (aimed at assisting in the widescale adoption of green tech, primarily through funding and tax breaks, (Vancover).
  38. Reduce local government building energy use by 75% before 2050 by increasing renewable energy, installing solar power and LED lighting, (Nashville).
  39. Convert public buildings to green buildings, (Hiroshima).
  40. Upgrade all city buildings and offices with energy proficient lights and insulation systems (Los Angeles).
  41. Install energy saving devices in all public buildings, (Ahmadabad).
  42. Determine energy resilience capacity, the ability of the energy system to withstand threats, (Boulder).
  43. Implement cost-effective upgrades in existing buildings to improve energy efficiency in the near term, (New York).
  44. Adopt Eco-Industrial park plans, (Addis Ababa).
  45. Retrofit 40% of buildings to reduce energy consumption by 2020, (Chicago).
  46. Distribute weatherization materials and CFLs to residents, (Chicago).
  47. Make municipal operations the model from cleaning products to green roofs, (Boston) (Minneapolis).
  48. For existing municipal buildings incorporate LEED commercial interiors guidelines, (Boston).
  49. Target inefficient buildings with a mandatory energy reporting ordinance, (Boston) (Minneapolis).
  50. Retrofit 40% of buildings to reduce energy consumption by 2020, (Chicago).
  51. Create EcoRoof incentives, (Portland).
  52. Conserve energy through green roofs, 6,000 to be installed by 2020, (Chicago).
  53. Implement Cool Roofs project, (Melbourne).
  54. Conserve energy through green roofs, 6,000 to be installed by 2020 (Chicago)
  55. For existing municipal buildings incorporate the LEED commercial interiors guidelines, (Boston).     

  C. Other energy reduction tactics.

  1.  Create procedures which allow roadway projects to use more locally-produced and recycled content materials thus saving on costs and energy, (Austin).
  2. Install lighter-colored pavement to reduce urban area temperatures, improve road strength, and lower energy bills of surrounding buildings, (Sydney).
  3. Implement a Neighborhood Energy Strategy:
  • Supply centralized heating, hot water, and cooling for several buildings;
  • Eliminate the need for boilers in each building;
  • Use low carbon renewable energy sources reducing fossil fuel use, (Vancouver).
  1. Assess various available energy reduction programs to determine which might be the best fit for Pittsburgh, (Pittsburgh).
  2. Seek out funding towards repurposing study, that is examine infrastructure and building uses to see if they can be used for more than one use, potentially saving money and energy, (Pittsburgh).
  3. Perform local electricity generation analysis, that is examine all the ways in which energy is generated in the city to see if cost savings and efficiency improvements are possible, (Boulder).
  4. Explore consumption-based accounting method to track and measure GHG emissions from products and packaging produced outside of Boulder but consumed locally, (Boulder).
  5. Launch an effort to reduce city wide water consumption, (New York).
  6. Enhancement of water conservation practice in new and existing buildings, (San Francisco, Airport).
  7. Implement Urban landscapes Climate Plan, (Melbourne).
  8. Scale up deep energy retrofits that holistically address heating systems, cooling systems, and building envelopes and transition buildings away from fossil fuels, (New York).
  9. Establish a Green Renovation Program, (Edmonton).
  10. Create a more responsible public procurement system that looks at purchases both for environmental impacts and lifecycle costs, (Berlin).
  11. Invest $14.8 million at rate of $1 million per year in reducing GHGs, (Melbourne)
  12. Build advanced heat and power systems to provide energy needs, (Berlin).
  13. Improve energy use behavior, wide spread adoption of energy efficient light bulbs, attic insulation projects in existing home stock, and require that new buildings meet the A standard on the BER scale, require major refurbishment of existing housing stock (including attic and wall insulation, boiler upgrades to high efficiency, window replacement, and use of renewable heat sources), implement the District Heating Plan (a new institutional construct that is modelled on Swedish successes in centralizing city heating). The Dublin City Development Plan has likewise been rewritten to mandate high energy performance as standard in all new buildings, (Dublin).
  14. Create a district heating system that covers insulation of new and old buildings. By 2040, almost 200,000 buildings will be administered heat by this system which successfully replaces the individual gas furnace, (Hiroshima).
  15. Invest four million Australian Dollars since 2007 in promoting innovation and technologies to reduce energy use, (Perth).
  16. Develop a coherent, city-wide, approach to neighborhood based energy systems which utilize the current, effective, District Energy Network initiative, (Vancouver)                                                                                                                                          Increase Renewable Energy
  1. Using a water distribution system to generate electricity, (Oslo).
  2. Commit two million dollars each year to install renewable energy on properties to generate clean energy locally, (Sydney).
  3. Install solar panels on properties, (Sydney).
  4. Install solar hot water and/or photovoltaic systems, (Sydney).
  5. Research and early adoption of smart grid technologies, (Austin).
  6. Powering city owned buildings through 100% of renewable energy resources, (Austin).
  7. Determine how many buildings have adequate solar energy capacity, (Pittsburgh)
  8. Develop an implementation plan to install solar energy on buildings, (Pittsburgh).
  9. Assess existing research on the benefits of passive solar design, especially in climates similar to Pittsburgh’s, (Pittsburgh).
  10. Determine which aspects of passive solar design are most appropriately suited to Pittsburgh, and whether the potential benefits are significant enough to justify a code change, (Pittsburgh).
  11. Implement a roof top solar program, (Boulder).
  12. Create a nanogrid and microgrid, (Boulder).
  13. Investigate producing and use of biofuels, (New York).
  14. Examine how city operations could increase solar use, diesel retrofit, and energy efficiency, (Melbourne).
  15. Build Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, (Addis Ababa).
  16. Develop Melbourne Renewable Energy Project, (Melbourne).
  17. Create Solar Atlas of potential solar applications for city by determining solar capability of various locations, (Berlin).
  18. Create a program Solar Capital Berlin, (Berlin).
  19. Create a program Solar Now!, (Portland).
  20. Create a Renewable Energy Master Plan, (Sydney).
  21. Develop a Renewable Energy Infrastructure Master Plan, (Rotterdam).
  22. Expand distributed solar energy and install 1,000 MW of solar capacity by 2030, (New York).
  23. Increase percentage of green power purchases, (Edmonton).
  24. Streamline the approval and permitting process for building-mounted solar panel systems, while providing clarity on building safety requirements, allowable impacts and allowable exemptions, (Edmonton).
  25. Convert the existing stream heat network to run off of renewable energy sources, (Dublin).
  26. Develop and implement a renewable energy strategy to reach the 100% renewables goal by 2050. Further fund the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program which offsets carbon tax payment by industries who have pledged to be and are on course to become carbon (Vancouver).
  27. Create a smart grid network to utilize and control energy use that has been created which will help save and trade solar energy produced by the panels installed in their area, (Hiroshima).
  28. Install solar heating panels for all public swimming pools and restrooms, (Los Angeles).
  29. Install solar energy panels throughout the city with a target to increase the number of households with rooftop solar panels from 5,000 to 80,000 by 2020, (Amsterdam).
  30. Because of lack of adequate roofs for households, work with big industrial and commercial buildings to lease their roof for the solar panels to generate energy for residents, (Amsterdam).
  31. Expand wind power generation capacity from 67 MW to 85 MW, (Amsterdam
  32. Transform ports to become Green Ports by replacing old wind turbines with new and increased number of wind mills, (Amsterdam).
  33. Promote the use of solar panel by subsidizing the tax, controlling the use of solar energy by meters, and installing public solar panels for public use, (Los Angles).
  34. Provide economical solar power as an alternative to conventional power to the low-income groups, (Los Angeles).
  35. Install solar panels on almost every public building and for all public facilities, (Hiroshima).
  36. Enter into contracts with wind producers to meet city energy needs, (Austin).
  37. Require all producers of energy to meet renewable energy standard, (Austin).

            E. Increase Energy Efficiency

  1. Implement a rooftop Trigeneration System to heat and cool municipal buildings, (Sydney).
  2. Develop decentralized energy networks, (Sydney).
  3. Make energy efficiency and demand side management priorities of the Municipal utility, (Boulder).
  4. Expand energy services to the city, (Boulder).
  5. Replace natural gas and petroleum combustion throughout the city, (Boulder).
  6. Maximize water supply from existing facilities such as the groundwater system and the New Croton Aqueduct, (New York).
  7. Promote energy benchmarking, (Philadelphia).
  8. Distribute weatherization materials and CFLs to residents, (Chicago).
  9. Make municipal operations the model for sustainability from cleaning products to green roofs, (Boston), (Minneapolis).
  10. Create a tree canopy plan with a goal of a 35% increase in canopy cover, (Boston).
  11. Encourage net zero buildings with the E+ program which challenges builders, architects, and developers to build green buildings, (Boston).
  12. Encourage greening with the Mayor’s Carbon Cup award to recognize businesses achieving deep GHG reduction goals, (Boston).
  13. Implement the Efficiency Master Plan, (Sydney).
  14. Implement means by which energy use can be assessed, analyzed, and tracked by use of close public-private partnership,(Durban)/
  15. Deploy small scale municipality studies and incorporate successes into broader uses including the creation of Energy Efficiency Clubs, large scale use of LEDs in street lights, municipal building retrofit to incorporate solar panels and water heating, and educational outreach and training programs, (Durban).
  16. Create a Biogas Cogeneration Facility, (Philadelphia).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     F.  Energy Ordinances


  1. Charge a carbon tax, (Oslo).
  2. Create Conservation Audit and Disclosure Ordinance which requires energy audits for all homes in Austin electric service area, (Austin).
  3. Update energy codes to require that all homes be rated for energy use, (Austin).
  4. Determine whether a mandate, incentive, or combination of both is the most effective way to promote passive solar design, (Pittsburgh).
  5. Implement the universal zero waste ordinance, (Boulder),
  6. Strengthen the disposable bag fee ordinance to further reduce bag use, (Boulder).
  7. Adopt the Green Taxi Ordinance, specifying a reduction of average fleet GHG emissions by 20% below 1990 levels within four years (the standard amount of time it takes taxi companies to turn over fleet inventory), (San Francisco).
  8. Require energy use disclosure at point of sale for all buildings more than 10 years old, (Austin).
  9. Adopt Green Building Rezoning Policies which target GHG emissions specifically and mandate targets for all new buildings. Similarly, improve the energy efficiency standards for construction in the Vancouver Building code. Wider use of the Passive House development will become standard in law and policy. Broader implementation of the Green Building Policies and a specific inclusion of the emissions per square foot metric will be included. Update the British Columbia Building Code to include improvements for those in social housing and the general greening of public buildings,(Vancouver)
  10. Target inefficient buildings with mandatory energy reporting ordinance, (Boston) (Minneapolis).

              G. Transportation strategies


  1. Reconfigure traffic lights to synchronize with traffic through codes, (Austin).
  2. Provide extended transit service to suburbs, (Austin).
  3. Provide smart cars around the city for use by the public for a small fee, Car2go, (Austin).
  4. Create multi-use trails for non-motorized vehicles traveling across Austin, (Austin).
  5. Install enhanced bicycle signal detection technologies, (Austin).
  6. Install Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons, devices designed to signal to drivers that pedestrians are crossing streets thereby making walking safer, (Austin).
  7. Prioritize public transport users over other transportation options, (Oslo).
  8. Work in conjunction with local agencies to increase awareness of anti-idling requirements which reduce energy waste, (Austin).
  9. Require cars to be electric or fall below a really low emission standard, (Oslo).
  10. Develop a subscription system for bicycles for public use, (Oslo).
  11. Implement a high capacity transit corridor, (Seattle).
  12. Use electronic vehicles for the municipal fleet, (Seattle).
  13. Create motor vehicle excise tax which incentivizes low GHG emissions transportation, (Seattle).
  14. Incentivize increasing use of electric vehicles through free public parking, free access to toll roads, and use of lanes originally reserved for public transport, (Oslo).
  15. Create a fuel cell bus pilot program, (Oslo).
  16. Provide carbon neutral electricity for transport within the city, (Seattle).
  17. Replace entire municipal car fleet with electric cars, (Oslo).
  18. Ban cars from city center by 2019, (Oslo).
  19. Adjust speed limits accordingly to promote safety for all users of the roadway while saving on gas, (Austin).
  20. Expand transit, walking, and bicycling infrastructure and services, (Seattle).
  21. Add more volume-count monitoring stations to assist in making informed traffic system improvements, (Austin).
  22. Provide 200 charging stations in return for a $50/year subscription, (Austin).
  23. Expand the transportation system by offering a variety of options including extended hours for the MetroRail, (Austin).
  24. Add additional miles of new, safer, and enhanced bicycle lanes and trails, (Austin).
  25. Revise the purpose of a street to be considered as “a public space designed to move people, not just cars,” (Austin).
  26. Encourage proposals for high capacity transit, (Austin).
  27. Expand the electric trolley bus program, (Seattle).
  28. Use digital technology to maximize transportation efficiency, (Boulder).
  29. Create incentives to explore new mobility options, (Boulder).
  30. Support the adoption of electric vehicles and other non-fossil fuel mobility options for vehicles, (Boulder).
  31. Catalyze the development of non-fossil fuel transit systems, (Boulder).
  32. Develop parking management systems that stimulate adoption of high efficiency mobility options, (Boulder).
  33. Replace vehicle fleets with low emission vehicles, (San Francisco, Airport).
  34. Create an employee commute program, (San Francisco, Airport).
  35. Create a bus rapid transport system, (Addis Ababa).
  36. Develop a city-wide bicycle plan 2016-2020, (Melbourne).
  37. Implement 2017 City of Electric Vehicle Strategy, (Portland).
  38. Develop a plan for greater use of electric vehicles, Electric Vehicles: The Portland Way, (Portland).
  39. Increase light rail transit, (Addis Ababa).
  40. Examine the introduction of hybrid diesel buses, (Philadelphia).
  41. Implement Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan, (Philadelphia).
  42. Develop a plan for expanding trails for walking and bicycles, Philadelphia Trail Master Plan, (Philadelphia).
  43. Create a program that helps citizens reduce single-occupancy driving commutes through use of public transportation, bicycle, and walking, SmartTrips, (Portland).
  44. Create a traffic signal optimization program, (Portland).
  45. Create a program that increases the number of electric vehicles, Transportation Electrification Plan, (Portland).
  46. Incentivize public transit with pre-tax transit passes and cash payments by employers, (Chicago).
  47. Expand public transportation routes to boost ridership by 30%, (Chicago).
  48. Promote transit-oriented development, (Chicago).
  49. Add 150 hybrid buses to the current pilot fleet, (Chicago).
  50. Develop a strategy to increase car sharing and carpooling, (Chicago).
  51. Create a 500-mile bikeway network,(Chicago).
  52. Install 5,000 new bike racks, (Chicago).
  53. Power the municipal fleet with alternative fuels through an alternative fuel vehicle procurement policy, (Boston).
  54. Use biodiesel and ultra-low sulfur fuel in all diesel fleets, (Boston).
  55. Increase bike ridership through expanded bike lanes, sponsoring events, and Ride-Along Fridays program, (Boston).
  56. Design standards for multimodal streets that make all modes of transportation, vehicles, walking, bicycles compatible and safe, (Boston).
  57. Offer multiple public transportation options at one site, (Boston).
  58. Implement the Hubway Bikeshare program which provides 600 bicycles at 60 stations, (Boston).
  59. Map the comprehensive network of bicycle routes, (Boston).
  60. Enforce prohibition on idling trucks, (Boston).
  61. Parking freeze is maintained to encourage alternative transportation, (Boston) (Copenhagen).
  62. City of cyclists, add miles of bike paths, (Copenhagen) (Boston).
  63. Beautify the current bicycle routes through tree planting, (Copenhagen).
  64. Encourage bicycling through priority parking options at transport stations, (Copenhagen).
  65. Encourage bus ridership by investing in improved interiors, (Copenhagen).
  66. Convert municipal fleets to hydrogen and electric power,(Copenhagen).
  67. Encourage private citizens to convert to electric and hydrogen powered vehicles by providing refueling stations and free parking, (Copenhagen).
  68. Mandate bus companies reduce emissions by 25%, (Copenhagen).
  69. Create intelligent traffic systems, (Copenhagen).
  70. Develop comprehensive mobility planning, (Copenhagen).
  71. Identify and address gaps in the existing transit network and service, (Minneapolis).
  72. Develop car share program including priority parking, (Minneapolis).
  73. Implement the pedestrian and bicycle master plan, (Minneapolis).
  74. Reduce minimum parking requirements for buildings that are close to public transit, (Minneapolis).
  75. Encourage telecommuting and video conferencing, (Stockholm).
  76. Increase bicycle infrastructure, including bike sharing programs, (Stockholm).
  77. Install bicycle parking at all city workplaces, (Stockholm).
  78. Provide access cards for public transportation for business trips within the city, (Stockholm).
  79. Disseminate maps of bike paths and the network available to bicycle commuters, (Stockholm).
  80. Physically separate bicyclists and vehicle traffic, (Stockholm) (Minneapolis).
  81. Make bicycling safer at intersections with separate traffic signals and priority stop lines, (Stockholm).
  82. Enlarge bus lanes to promote reliability, (Stockholm).
  83. Make bus fleet 100% renewable by 2020, (Stockholm).
  84. Require that municipal fleet is fossil fuel free by 2030, (Stockholm).
  85. Create biofuel tax incentives to encourage the private sector to convert fossil fuel driven vehicles to biofuel, (Stockholm).
  86. Create low stress streets, i.e., streets dedicated to walking and biking, (Boston).
  87. Modernize, expand, and reduce crowding on the city’s transit system, (New York).
  88. Make walking and biking safer, more convenient options for all, (New York).
  89. Ensure that the City’s policies prioritize walking, biking, and public transit, (New York).
  90. Leverage technology and data to expand travel options and optimize the transportation network, (New York).
  91. Better manage and price parking to encourage efficient travel choices, (New York).
  92. Commit to add 2,000 electric vehicles (EVs) to its sedan fleet by 2025, (New York).
  93. Create an electric vehicle station charging program to advance the uptake of electric vehicles in the city, (Edmonton).
  94. Create 160 electric recharging stations at 70 locations, (Austin.)
  95. Encourage employers to offer transit passes to employees, (Calgary).
  96. Encourage ride and vehicle sharing in communities, (Calgary).
  97. Encourage workplaces to provide secure bike storage for employees, (Austin).
  98. Eliminate employee parking subsidies, (Austin).
  99. Work with large employers and academic institutions to implement and improve trip reduction programs and use of low or zero carbon transport alternatives, (Austin).
  100. Encourage teleworking to reduce commuter journeys, (Calgary).
  101. Increase walking and cycling journeys into downtown by 40%, (Calgary).
  102. Improve inclusion of pedestrians in transport planning decisions, (Melbourne).
  103. Create an attractive walking environment and connected walking networks, (Melbourne).
  104. Address pedestrian crowding issues at key transport modes, (Melbourne).
  105. Reduce pedestrian delays at controlled road crossings, (Melbourne).
  106. Support efforts to use zero carbon vehicles, (Melbourne).
  107. Create car ban for portions of center city, (Oslo).
  108. Transfer portions of car park space to bike space, (Oslo).
  109. Improve snow removal from cycle lanes in winter to encourage more cycling in the cold season, (Oslo).
  110. Develop and improve cycling infrastructure, currently painted road markings and intersection zones for bikes, and signage, (Wellington).
  111. Provide up to 100 carparks in the central city and suburbs for car share vehicles and EVs, with charging infrastructure provided by partners, (Wellington).
  112. Increase commuter cycling and walking via a four-pronged approach which includes a Pedestrian Plan, an increase in bike parking spaces, a Bike Plan that includes a focus on providing comprehensive bicycle education, (Berkeley).
  113. Expand car and ride sharing programs, specifically by improving access to sharing locations and vehicles, (Berkeley).
  114. Enhance public transit options, in cooperation with BART, AC Transit, and community organizations to reduce fares while improving frequency, reliability, range, comfort, and punctuality, (Berkeley).
  115. Increase low-carbon vehicle adoption, by removing regulations inhibiting mass adoption of alternate fuel vehicles and increasing bureaucratic support for green development (for instance, formalizing and codifying the requirements for deployment of electric charging stations in private, commercial, and public spaces), (Berkeley).
  116. Green the city fleet by replacing public vehicles with alternative fuel vehicles and encouraging government employee use of public transport options (via bus passes and tax benefits), (Berkeley).
  117. Implement parking management that promotes the use of public & alternative transport, primarily through limiting parking spaces, and dedicated use increases, (Berkeley).
  118. Implement parking management that promotes the use of public & alternative transport, primarily through limiting parking spaces, and use increases of green vehicles, (Berkeley).
  119. Revolutionize transportation options through a total reconsideration of the road network and transport options including a significant push towards increasing fuel economy, extolling the value of hybrids and electric vehicles, and promoting efficient freight trucks, and decreasing VMTs (vehicle miles traveled) by 5.5% below 2010 levels before 2020, (Boston).
  120. Focus on transforming Brussels from a car-based to an alternate-based transport regime, by adopting the IRIS 2 policies (a package of policies which aims to promote walking, biking, and use of public transport by diverting funds, encouraging investment, expanding reach, range, & reliability, and reducing costs and providing suitable infrastructural support while simultaneously disincentivizing single occupant trips), (Brussels).
  121. Create workplace and school travel plans to encourage commuters to use public transport on their daily travels, (Dublin).
  122. Implement eco-driving training for all professional drivers, (Dublin).
  123. Expand current transit options to include new routes, greater bus service coverage, and station upgrades, (Vancover).
  124. Use parking infrastructure to disincentivize private car use and support sustainable transport choices, (Vancover).
  125. Reduce membership fees for low income earners in bike share program, (Vancover).
  126. Introduce “smart traffic signals boost cycling” program, which involves the, Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) technology that helps government control traffic lights so bicycles and buses get around easier while reducing traffic lights’ energy use by 25%, (Copenhagen).
  127. Streamline transport to make it more carbon efficient with 700 km of bicycles trails and expanding public transport so everybody is within 10 minutes walking distance to a train station, (Singapore).
  128. Promote a cycle sharing system that presently has more than two hundred thousand active users, (Rio de Janeiro).
  129. Promote the concept of “peer economy” which runs on the principle of “own less and use more.” The present-day media and social platforms help people participate in this shared mobility plan where people share their vehicles when not in use or share their travel with others implementing the concept of car pool as well. (Rio de Janeiro).
  130. Convert public transport to use bio fuels and promote personal vehicles to make the switch as well, (Rio de Janeiro).
  131. Establish restricted environment zones, where old and inefficient vehicles are banned and assure that EVs entering the city are cheaper than others due to reduced parking rates, (Amsterdam).
  132. Set a goal of 4000 EV charging stations, (Amsterdam).
  133. Provide that by 2040 only electric boats will be allowed to travel on waterways, (Amsterdam).
  134. Use carbon free energy for vehicles and for airport infrastructure, (Los Angeles).
  135. Support electrification of rails to ensure zero emissions, (Los Angeles).
  136. Create electric charging stations as a part of every green building and throughout the city. Also, make the technology affordable for people to install in their homes, (Los Angeles).
  137. Create the Bus Rapid System (‘BRS’) which creates separate lanes for buses, taxis, other public transport assuring quicker transport during high congestion times. It betters the movement of public transport and encourages people to avail them reducing the number of personal vehicles and in turn lowering the carbon emission, (Ahmedabad).
  138. Create pricing in car parks that discourages the use of personal vehicles, (Perth).
  139. Create a car parks with solar charging panels for EVs (Perth).
  140. Build separate roads for ecological automobiles, (Hiroshima).
  141. Assist transit-oriented companies such as taxies in transitioning to carbon neutral vehicle and fuel options, (Seattle).
  142. Raise fuel economy requirements for all vehicles beyond federal requirements, (Boston).
  143. Convert all public transport and other city transport to using electricity or bio gas as fuel, (Los Angeles).

                                                                                                                                                     H.Transform Lighting


  1. Transform street lighting throughout the city to LEDs, (Philadelphia).
  2. Replace traffic lights with LEDs, (Chicago) (Copenhagen).
  3. Develop a public lighting strategy for city, (Melbourne).
  4. Traffic signal conversion to LEDs. (Portland).
  5. Retrofit street lights with LEDs in 71,000 lights by 2018 and 80,000 by 2019, (Calgary)
  6. Implement a ten-year lighting upgrade to LED in every public building from 2015, (Perth).
  7. Replace traffic lights with LEDs, (Chicago) (Copenhagen).
  8. Change streetlights to LEDs, (Minneapolis).
  9. Create city LED Lighting Project, (Sydney).
  10. Install LED lights throughout city, (Austin).
  11. Intelligent Street Lighting, (Oslo).
  12. Replace standard street lights with LED fixtures by installing 6448 LED light fixtures, (Sydney).
  13. In a joint venture with the electricity supply company in greater Oslo (Hafslund), install 10,000 intelligent high-pressure sodium streetlights, thereby reducing energy consumption by 70%. Each lamp can be dimmed individually when traffic and weather conditions allow. (Oslo),
  14. Replace all its street lights with LEDs to save energy. C(Ahmadabad)
  15. Convert traffic signals into solar operated traffic signals. (Los Angeles)
  16. Convert traffic signals into solar operated traffic signals. (Los Angeles).
  17. Replace traffic lights with LEDs, (Chicago) (Copenhagen).
  18. Create energy efficient lighting throughout the city, (Copenhagen).

            I. Manage Waste Disposal

  1. Produce biogas and bio-fertilizer from organic household waste at city’ anarobic treatment plant and use it for vehicle and agricultural purposes, (Oslo­).
  2. Zero waste plan, (San Francisco, Airport).
  3. Initially limit compositing to yard waste, but eventually explore the possibility of composting food waste, (Pittsburgh).
  4. Examine the use of BigBelly Trash Compactors to see if energy can be saved. (Philadelphia).
  5. Create a closed loop material management system to control material inputs and maximize recycling to reduce waste to landfills, (Berlin).
  6. Use waste water sludge to create biogas to replace diesel in buses, (Oslo).
  7. Increase renewable energy from landfills by improving methane collection efficiency, (Phoenix).
  8. Develop the existing landfill capture system to capitalize on the unused 29% of emissions and use the generated gas to fuel more projects (heating local buildings and greenhouses, and generating power), (Dublin).
  9. Implement the REPPIE Waste to Energy program which will process1400 tons of waste while producing 185,000,000 kwh of electricity to the Ethiopian grid every day, (Addis Ababa).
  10. Install a new main trash incinerator capturing carbon dioxide, (Oslo).
  11. Implementing measures to capture and destroy landfill gas at four landfills, (Austin).
  12. Increase home and business composting, (Austin).
  13. Develop more effective recycling practices at businesses and in public spaces, (Austin).
  14. Implement mechanisms to achieve a 90% diversion of solid waste materials, (Austin).
  15. Review and implement results of existing feasibility study of recycling and waste management, (Pittsburgh).
  16. Improve methane collection efficiency in landfills, (Phoenix).
  17. Create a digester gas to energy process at landfills, (Phoenix).
  18. Identify opportunities for digester gas capture and use, (New York).
  19. Create an improved municipal waste management plan, (Berlin).
  20. Create a Waste and Resource Recovery Plan, (Melbourne).
  21. Create a waste disposal master plan to generate gas for combustion from land fills, (Sydney).
  22. Apply anaerobic digestion technology to decompose the organic fraction of municipal solid waste to produce biogas (a mixture of methane, carbon monoxide, and other gases). (Edmonton}
  23. Explore the ability of city to meet energy needs with landfill gas, (Austin).
  24. Provide curbside pickup of organic material to reduce landfill gas, (Austin).
  25. Require landfill operators to refine landfill gas capture and combustion to destroy methane at landfills, (Austin).
  26. Implement zero waste strategies as defined by a waste reduction plan, including an emphasis on public education and outreach, (Vancouver).
  27. Install a waste to energy plant which produces methane for combustion, (Washington).
  28. Create a “waste-to-energy project (that) supplies national grid” by capturing landfill biogas and turning it in to electricity while donating “twenty-four per cent of the proceeds from the sale of carbon emission credits and four per cent of electricity sales […] to social investment in surrounding communities,” (Bogota).
  29. Progress towards zero waste by recycling all its waste materials in recycling plants which separate the organic waste from the rest and recycle them. Also develop an anaerobic digester and food waste pre-processing facility along with developing blue, green and black bin infrastructure for waste management, (Los Angeles).
  30. Convert ninety-nine % of 1.4 million tons of urban and business discard the city collects each year annually into ecological energy and fresh resources, (Amsterdam).
  31. Create power plants which burn waste to produce energy, (Hiroshima).
  32. Create a waste to energy plant to power the heating in 84,000 homes, (Oslo).

                J. Land Use Planning

  1. Create joint use parking facilities which facilitates compact urban design that reduce energy waste, (Austin).
  2. Generate and preserve affordable green housing, (Seattle).
  3. Implement a well-balanced strong inclusionary zoning policy which facilitates compact communities while reducing energy waste, (Seattle).
  4. Replace minimum parking requirements with maximum parking requirements to encourage public transit use, (Seattle).
  5. Use revenue from parking for sustainable neighborhood needs, (Seattle).
  6. Establish transit oriented development to include businesses, housing, and activity centers within walkable distance of each other, (Austin).
  7. Consider infill development that provides long-term affordability for residents and businesses, (Austin).
  8. Ensure that transit-oriented communities are within a 1/4 mile of transit options, (Austin).
  9. Revise zoning to prioritize mixed-use development, (Austin).
  10. Identify potential locations for composting operations, including the Forestry Division headquarters, vacant lots, and City and Housing Authority unused property, (Pittsburgh).
  11. Conduct infrastructure assessment to determine transition needs to reduce energy, (Boulder).
  12. Integrate transportation mobility enhancements to reduce energy use into land use planning, (Boulder).
  13. Continue maintenance and upgrade programs for infrastructure needed for a sustainable city, (New York).
  14. Review current and proposed construction and equipment replacement contracts to identify opportunities for energy efficiency improvements and switching to cleaner burning fuels, (New York).
  15. Adopt TreePhilly plan which requires each city neighborhood to have 30% tree canopy cover, (Philadelphia).
  16. Create a Tree Retention and Removal Policy, (Melbourne).
  17. Develop the city in accordance with the idea of 20 Minute Neighborhoods, or having anything you need to be within a 20-minute walk, (Portland).
  18. Create an urban forest strategy, (Melbourne), (Austin).
  19. Develop green zones within clusters of neighborhoods, (Minneapolis).
  20. Implement strategy to achieve the full Transit Orientated Development (TOD) potential of existing and future public transportation stations, (Edmonton).
  21. Transform 535 acres in the heart of Edmonton into one of the world’s largest sustainable communities, (Edmonton).
  22. Streamline zoning and permitting processes to encourage private building developers to connect to the district heating system, (Oslo).
  23. Create a land use plan that reflects climate policy in four areas: bio-climate in urban areas; open spaces and green areas; quality of water and torrential rain; climate protection, (Berlin).
  24. Increase canopy cover to 40% of city, (Melbourne).
  25. Create “eco districts” that seek to attract parties that are willing to pursue sustainable development. (Melbourne).
  26. Establish design standards that better provide comfortable connections between buildings and transit stops, (Calgary).
  27. Encourage higher density developments close to transit stops, (Calgary).
  28. Increase city green- and open-spaces via tree planting program (the urban forest approach), increased farmer’s market support buy local and encourage use of public parks and community gardens, (Berkeley).
  29. Adopt compact urban development design via regulation limiting development of new city construction to transport corridors and giving preference to development along, and within, transport nodes and corridors (e.g. see East Bay Green Corridor),(Berkeley).
  30. Prioritize the transformation of vacant lots and dilapidated areas into urban farms or community garden projects, (Boston).
  31. Expand Healthy Corner Store Initiative and emphasize the benefits of buying local. Complete study on city food use, waste, and coverage, (Boston).
  32. Create tree canopy, implement the Clarify the Tree Canopy Plan and reach target of 35% coverage by 2030, (Boston).
  33. Implement the 2015-2021 Open Space Plan which requires proper maintenance and enhancement of Boston’s existing green spaces, (Boston).
  34. Give preference for high density, integrated, residential properties which are highly connected to non-carbon intense transport networks and benefit from shared resource use, (Brussels).
  35. Greenify the city, creating a string of green spaces that include urban agriculture, increased tree coverage, improved and updated paving and cycle paths, the creation of green avenues in hitherto unused spaces (like railway tracks, along waterways, or on public pavements), (Brussels).
  36. Create large zones of special regulatory regions which are focused on intensive rehabilitation and restoration projects which must, in the future, comply with exacting standards for development, (Brussels).
  37. Focus on developing the urban core, increasing densification, reducing sprawl, increasing public transport by focusing on the Urban Development Line which marks the extent to which urban development is permitted in long term and identify areas in which only agricultural uses may occur, (Durban).
  38. Develop a long-term visionary planning project that is meant to energize public participation in planning and implantation. The Imagine Durban plan has been incorporated into a long-term plan and developed part from citizen suggestions that have been adapted for general use including a green roof project, a solid waste management program, polyethylene terephthalate plastic products project, and a city hall food garden project, (Durban).
  39. Focus on urban development only where services are already available and may be provided in a green friendly manner, (Durban).
  40. Convert underused rail space, via the Viva Vancouver Program, to greenspaces which encourage walking, (Vancouver).
  41. Vastly increase the tree coverage through re-greening of neighborhoods an develop plan for cataloguing and tracking urban trees, (Vancouver).
  42. Implement the urban farming policy, increasing the urban land used for farming, the number of framers and community markets, (Vancouver).
  43. Implement the Vancouver Food Strategy which emphasizes grow-local, eat-local and encourages that parks be repurposed to include food gardens, free fruit trees provided for the community, (Vancouver).
  44. Consider land use as an ultimate environmental question and focus on future development that prioritizes green transport, (Vancouver).
  45. Stop net tree-loss by 2020 and plant more than 500,000 trees before 2050 to sequestrate more carbon, (Nashville).
  46. Create green zones for plantation and mark areas along the shore to install renewable energy, (Amsterdam).
  47. Plant trees on steep hills not only to improve air quality and carbon sequestration but also to prevent landslides and create jobs, The city has planted 150 hectares of land by 2016 which has created employment, (Rio de Janeiro).
  48. Conserve energy through green roofs, 6,000 to be installed by 2020, (Chicago).
  49. Create a tree canopy plan with a goal of a 35% increase in canopy cover, (Boston).
  50. Plan for transit oriented development and exploitation of existing infrastructure. This would include a targeted residency rate of 45%, significantly decreasing commuting transport pollution by reducing sprawl, (Boston).
  51. Sequester carbon by planting over a million new trees, (Chicago) (Minneapolis).

                                                                                                                                                    K. Miscellaneous ways of reducing GHG emissions

  1. Institute a campaign to assist house-owners in replacing oil heating, (Oslo).
  2. Conduct a feasibility study for a more detailed GHG inventory, (New York).
  3. Complete a comprehensive baseline emissions inventory and develop a process for yearly updates, (New York).
  4. Develop department-wide GHG management plans with facility specific plans that are integrated with capital improvement programs, (New York).
  5. Support and encourage residential and commercial projects to reduce GHG emissions, (Phoenix).
  6. Improve electricity demand response and load management, (Philadelphia).
  7. Create a Last MiloMetre Freight Plan which increases freight delivery efficiency and reduces traffic congestion, (Melbourne).
  8. Create a Zero Net Emissions Strategy for the city, (Melbourne),
  9. Create a GHG reduction performance measurement system, (Boston).
  10. Conduct an emissions audit outreach program, (Boston).
  11. Plan to reduce fossil fuel use by replacing them with bio-fuels, (Rotterdam).
  12. Develop a city based standard for clean energy, (New York).
  13. Require energy producers in city to meet renewable energy target, (Oslo).
  14. Explore ways of assuring that city’s energy demands are not provided by brown coal or other high GHG emitting sources of energy, (Melbourne)
  15. Use smart grid technology to more efficiently manage electricity grid, (Austin).
  16. Call for basic behavioral changes (“good housekeeping” adaptations including lights off after work hours and powering down machinery when not in use) and the adaptation of low energy light bulbs, require upgrades to commercial and industrial building heating, ventilation, and climate control systems, comprehensive insulation of existing stock, and new commercial buildings reaching a BER A rating, (Dublin).
  17. Retire all the coal plants for energy production by 2035, (Los Angeles).
  18. Create district heating systems that use waste treatment plants to generate heat and power as forms of renewable energy, (Amsterdam).
  19. Create district heating systems that use waste treatment plants to generate heat and power as forms of renewable energy, (Amsterdam).

        L. Educating civil society about climate issues

  1. Arranging climate conferences for both public and private consumers, (Oslo).
  2. KRequiring environmental training for its employees, (Oslo).
  3. Training 5,000 young ambassadors for waste separation each year, (Oslo).
  4. Involving the community through workshops and events teaching skills and processes to reduce the carbon footprint, (Sydney).
  5. Encouraging public understanding of individual carbon footprint and empowering individuals to reduce this footprint by providing the public with a calculator to determine each individual’s carbon footprint, (Austin).
  6. Engaging college students in the process of achieving a climate friendly society, (Austin).
  7. Support individually tailored assessments of GHG footprint for complex organizations and entities, (Austin).
  8. Mayor and City leadership publicly announce climate goals, (Pittsburgh).
  9. Acquire funding for advertising climate program, (Pittsburgh).
  10. Launch web tools on climate change for residents, (Pittsburgh).
  11. Voluntary education, services and incentives for building owners, (Boulder).
  12. Deliver expanded multifamily housing assistance program to educate and increase recycling and composting, (Boulder).
  13. Create a set of sustainability goals for the city and an internet site, GreenWorks Dashboard, that identifies the goals and progress made in achieving the goals, (Philadelphia).
  14. Become a leader in climate education of children and youth through a virtual climate science center, (Copenhagen).
  15. Develop and test a model for realizations of energy savings to improve accountability and realistic feedback on progress, (Copenhagen).
  16. Create networks for knowledge sharing and provide energy counseling through the city, (Stockholm).
  17. Promote knowledge accumulation about climate issues and sharing throughout the city, (Copenhagen).
  18. Establish internet infrastructure on climate change issues for public sharing, (Copenhagen).
  19. Provide education to citizens through such organizations such as the Chicago Center for Green Technology on climate technology issues, (Chicago).
  20. Create information campaigns to support public transportation, (Stockholm).
  21. Find solutions for climate change by examining landlord-tenant disincentives, (Boston).
  22. Create a neighborhood climate action network, (Boston).
  23. Pilot neighborhood-level sustainability planning, (Boston).
  24. Create databases to connect citizens with information on relevant city processes on climate change issues and local sustainability matters, (Boston).
  25. Expand messaging and communications on climate issues and provide the information in multiple languages, (Boston).
  26. Publish and update a plan to achieve sustainability in the city such as the GreenWorks on the Ground, (Philadelphia).
  27. Educate citizens on how to obtain a solar viability assessment, The NYC Solar Partnership developed a pilot Solarize campaign in Brooklyn Community Board 6 (Solarize CB6) in 2015. The Partnership and community representatives selected two solar installers through a competitive process. Solarize CB6 held public educational workshops and participated in community events, ultimately reaching more than 660 residents and businesses. More than 350 people signed up for solar siting assessments, representing over 400 buildings, (New York).
  28. Establish a solar curriculum that is being incorporated into classroom learning in public schools to help bring the benefits of solar energy to life. The City’s Department of Education partnered with Solar One, a non-profit organization, to provide curriculum, classroom supplies, and professional development training to teachers whose schools received solar PV installations, (New York).
  29. Establish a long-term awareness and education campaign to inform citizens about the benefits of green buildings, (Edmonton).
  30. Establish programs to encourage uptake of solar PV technology, (Edmonton).
  31. Establish energy education program for City operations stakeholders who have responsibilities that affect or influence the energy consumption in City infrastructure and assets, (Edmonton).
  32. Establish an overarching marketing and communication strategy to engage/mobilize green energy use, (Edmonton).
  33. Establish an information and analytical tool to help citizens understand their personal energy use and the actions they can take to conserve energy and use it more efficiently, (Edmonton).
  34. Establish an evidence- based, action-oriented plan that will encourage a market-shift toward the purchase of battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in Edmonton, (Edmonton).
  35. Create an education and awareness program that promotes energy efficient practices and productions, (Calgary).
  36. Create the Sustainable Austin blog: published by the City’s Department of Sustainability to keep citizens engaged with the net zero by 2050 goal, (Austin).
  37. Promote plastic free July 2017, including offering tours of the city’s landfill so that citizens can see the damage being done by plastic bags to the city’s environment, offering advice on the website, and raising awareness though the weekly newsletter for citizens, (Wellington).
  38. Offer free two-hour assessments to landlords, tenants, and homeowners about how to save energy in light of individual needs and budget, (Wellington).
  39. Encourage school and university students, and others, to visit the landfill – up to two tours each day during which advice is give on ways to minimize waste, (Wellington) .
  40. Create a Green Business Leaders program to encourage businesses to “protect the environment, save money, and make Austin a more livable city.” It currently has 214 members from 10 different categories of business, representing 39,000 employees and over 15m square feet of office space, (Austin).
  41. Organize a yearly forum to educate developers, tenants, and commercial interests of green technology developments, (Melbourne).
  42. Educate civil society about damages from low density housing, (Calgary).
  43. Enhance outreach and incentives to business (green business certification), an ongoing effort managed by the specially created Office of Economic Development and Green Businesses, (Berkeley).
  44. Invigorate community action, targeting cooperation between residents, businesses, community groups, and educational facilities to enhance, augment, compliment, and plan Berkeley’s environmental future, (Berkeley)
  45. Create a Neighborhood Climate Action Network: Boston aims to harness the power of residents and neighborhoods by creating community organizations and outreach mechanisms designed to educate citizens about, and encourage action on, climate change and mitigation opportunities, all-scale neighborhood projects designed to test climate change reduction strategies and allow direct input from communities who will be empowered to set goals, design and implement projects, and assess the impact on their neighborhoods, and increase local investment in environmental job training and spending, (Boston).
  46. Create an Environmental One-Stop Shop: Boston will centralize resources, guides, and city departments into a single, accessible bureaucracy which is readily accessible so as to reduce the difficulty in gathering dispersed sustainability resources, (Boston).
  47. Expand Messaging: The office of communications will harness the power of multiple channels for ecological messaging, including local newspaper networks, city sponsored events, worship networks, traditional advertising, and provide environmental messaging in multiple languages, (Boston).
  48. Create a publicly available measurement system that provides Bostonians with access to a comprehensive accountability platform on which sustainability performance is measured, tracked, and assessed. This transparency adds accountability and furthers research opportunities, (Boston).
  49. Expand Education on Sustainability, the city will integrate sustainability and climate change concepts throughout the curriculum and in youth organizations. Further, Green Teams will be created in schools. Transition school kitchens to use only locally grown products and replace heavily processing with on-site production. Similarly, utilise Public Health resources and programs to reach out, identify issues (such as public housing issues), and introduce changes, (Boston).
  50. Encourage homeowners and businesses to green their buildings – particularly by adding insulation, energy audits and modern, efficient, technologies (newer boilers, super-insulated glazing, ventilation, solar panels). These are supported by the creation of city funded facilitators who provide advice, technical assistance, and planning help. Particular assistance is offered to photoelectric device deployment, (Brussels).
  51. Support sustainable neighborhoods, promote green adaptations on the local level, primarily driven by community organizations and volunteer groups educated, financed, and guided by city Projects include ongoing dialogues about the importance of green behavior, calls for input on future projects, education on things that can be done in one’s own home, the creation of collective vegetable and recreational gardens, local exchange and recycling/reuse strategies, and so on, (Brussels).
  52. Create a broad social competition designed to gamify energy savings through the use of infrared thermography to pinpoint heat loss and highlight savings potentials and other technologies, (Brussels).
  53. Create a public campaign to understand and raise interest in solar and energy efficient measures and introduce transparency in the electrical bill and energy consumptions bills, (Nashville).
  54. Create an “environmental education targets low-income youth” program, entitled Green Schools program, which addresses four key sustainable themes: integrated waste management, environmental health, energy efficiency and renewable energy, and climate change, (Buenos Aires).
  55. Offer training on energy issues for the skilled workforce of architects, engineers, and builders on green construction and development, (Los Angeles).
  56. Along with giving two CFL bulbs to each household, provide an educational pamphlet on saving energy, (Los Angeles).
  57. Connect everyone in the city, the inhabitants, bureaucrats, researchers, and entrepreneurs, with information about which policies and strategies they can implement are fruitful and which are not and in so doing break down the communication barrier and help a society reach a common environmental goal by learning from each other’s experience and spreading awareness among the people. This tactic has been a huge success. (Amsterdam).
  58. Create a program that promotes public reflection, participation, and education on the city’s sustainability projects and allows citizens to give their opinion to public departments while engaging in public participation, educating the public and providing an opportunity to become involved in current activities, (Los Angeles).
  59. Engage the universities in enhancing practical knowledge about sustainability issues, (Los Angeles).
  60. Promote community involvement in understanding local environmental issues, (Rio de Janeiro).
  61. Create a public forum on sustainable development to encourage and accommodate opinion about possible and future public policies, innovations and strategies from private individuals, public departments and the private sector, (Rio de Janeiro).
  62. City funds research, educational courses, training, and awareness raising at local university, (Ahmadabad).
  63. Print public environmental policies in leading newspapers to increase awareness and attract participation, (Ahmadabad).
  64. Create a program to educate citizens about waste disposal management issues, (Ahmadabad).
  65. Create and fund a community awareness program on green energy, (Perth).
  66. Runs workshops on construction of green buildings, (Perth).
  67. City runs program to increase awareness of CO2 reduction strategies, (Hiroshima).
  68. City encourages environmental consulting firms to promote, educate, and train individuals and businesses on energy efficiency issues, (Hiroshima).
  69. City works with media and NGOs to promote environmental practices in day-to-day life. (Hiroshima).
  70. Install CO2 concentration monitoring stations in various city locations, (Hiroshima).
  71. Encourage universities to help with environmental education, (Hiroshima)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           M. Incentivizing Private Sector climate strategies


  1. Establish financial incentives to reduce auto travel and motivate the use of more sustainable means of transportation, (Seattle).
  2. Support residential charging stations in homes through on-bill repayment and time-of-day funding, (Seattle).
  3. Support and encourage retrofitting of commercial buildings in the 1200 Buildings project which provides financial incentives for this work, (Melbourne).
  4. Create an energy Building Monitoring program, (Philadelphia).
  5. Create an Energy Saving Partnership between government and private sector, (Berlin).
  6. Kilowatt Crackdown program which provides training and analysis of energy issues and potential cost savings for certain commercial buildings, (Portland).
  7. Sustainable Business Tax Credit which offers up to $4000 in a tax credit to businesses that demonstrate commitment to sustainability, (Philadelphia).
  8. Support loan program for industrial companies to increase efficiency, (Minneapolis).
  9. Streamline regulatory processes for building energy efficiency and clean energy applications, (New York).
  10. Assure building owners can finance energy efficiency projects, (New York).
  11. Determine the level and types of financial investment that are needed to achieve Edmonton’s energy transition goals and a lead role in finding solutions to advance initiatives that are economically justified, (Edmonton).
  12. Create community sustainability grants to support community-based energy transition projects, (Edmonton).
  13. Finance the evaluation of ways in which Edmonton’s industrial sector can improve individual and collective environmental performance (including reducing energy consumption and GHG emissions), (Edmonton).
  14. Create a public-private scheme operating since 1990 to retrofit large groups of public buildings to improve energy efficiency and return savings to the owners/operators over a period of at least 10 years. This program saved enough energy to power 7000 households, (Berlin).
  15. Sustainable Melbourne Fund which assists local government and property owners, (Melbourne).
  16. Supporting car share by providing three free car share parks in the central city with a commitment to increase that number in response to demand, (Wellington).
  17. Create public/private partnerships in which energy service providers invest in state of art technology in large buildings (public, commercial, or residential) and share the energy savings over at least 10 years with building owners (Berlin)
  18. Create a business to business event to examine strategies to reduce GHG emissions (Wellington).
  19. Use available grants to capitalize on small scale solar, hydroelectric, urban wind farms, and geothermal power facilities. Similarly, establish funding directed towards new waste water treatment works which capture and reuse the emissions from raw sewerage and use these to generate power and heat, (Dublin).
  20. Identify financial incentives and disincentives designed to encourage ecologically sound behavior, including the introduction of congestion charges, free parking for electric vehicles, creating institutional pathways that make it easier to identify, apply for, and use Irish and EU grants for environmentally conscious sustainable energy projects (such as those from the National Development Plan. Sustainable Energy Ireland, or the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation) while the Finance Department has created a sustainable office campaign which works to reduce the time between application and funding for projects, focuses on finding new investment opportunities in green appropriate ventures, and acts as a point of contact for industry looking for advice on green projects, (Dublin).
  21. Create tax incentives for green power production and the use of electric vehicles in city business, (Dublin).
  22. Implement a Green Roofs and Green Walls program that supports installing solar panels and creates better insulation in buildings to reduce heating and cooling needs. Municipality subsidies participants. (Amsterdam).
  23. Create a program called the “circular economy” where new buildings are constructed using materials from old buildings. The program seeks to reduce, reuse and recycle construction materials and concrete. The program is called the “Green Deal” where the construction materials extracted from the demolition of old buildings are used locally within that area, (Amsterdam).
  24. The Green LA project specifies building and construction requirements to be fulfilled for any construction in the city so that environmental goals are met, the program also seeks to provide incentives to projects which exceed environmental specifications, (Los Angeles).
  25. Stop the use of incandescent lamps in any of the public building or streets and encourages private individuals to do the same. The city is providing support to exchange for LED lighting and fixtures in public spaces of building and apartments, (Los Angeles).
  26. Invest the electricity tax from the Federal University to fund environmental friendly, urban mobility and sustainable development projects and innovations for ten years in a program called as “The Energy and Development Green Fund,”(Rio de Janeiro).
  27. Provide a subsidy for EVs providing €5,000-6,000 to a business buying an electric van, and up to €40,000 to a business buying a large, heavy electric truck, (Amsterdam).
  28. Create Home Grant Insulation incentives to private owners to insulate their houses in an eco-friendly manner that provides fifteen % concession which may cost up to five thousand pounds, (Amsterdam).
  29. Collective Solar Projects Grant subsidizes mounting solar panels on buildings. The grant ranges from five hundred to five thousand pounds, (Amsterdam).
  30. Resident’s Initiative is a grant given to residents who map a plan to create a sustainable society and volunteer and contribute towards it. The grant is up to five thousand pounds, (Amsterdam).
  31. Provide that particularly innovative projects which focus on significant energy savings and green energy use are eligible for a grant is up to ten thousand pounds, (Amsterdam).
  32. Generate more green jobs and support the economy with new environment-friendly positions for which the wages of these green jobs will be high and they will also have tax redemptions, (Los Angeles).
  33. Works to attract mature green business in the city by supporting them and creating green belts and proper infrastructure for promoting such green businesses, (Los Angeles).
  34. Reduce the tax on eco-friendly consumer items and insulation measures, (Los Angeles).
  35. If a city earns significant carbon credits, give them to corporations to attract and retain them, (Ahmadabad).
  36. Promote green offices by subsidizing costs entailed by making the office green, (Perth),
  37. Create sustainable business audits funded by city, (Perth).
  38. Subsidize building loans for environmentally innovative construction, (Perth).

      .                                                                                                                                              N Funding energy transformation

  1. Offer energy rebates for efficient vehicles, energy efficiency projects, efficient appliances, and residential solar, (Austin).
  2. Offer financial incentives to install smart thermostats which allow remote adjustments thermostats on the hottest days of year, (Austin).
  3. Offer rebates on energy bills for energy-efficient retrofitting, (Calgary).
  4. Finance insulation services to low income homes which led to 1400 retrofits, (Wellington).
  5. Expand funding for energy efficiency projects, particularly the LBI Energy Efficiency project and C-Pace program, (Boston).
  6. Increase use of renewables via the judicious application of economic incentives and disincentive packages, mainly subsidies, rebates, and regulatory requirements for the use of green friendly products and renewable energy sources, (Berkeley).
  7. Expand residential solar through the Solarize program and increasing funding and reducing regulatory barriers to further adoption of solar energy, (Boston).
  8. Enhance energy use standards for existing commercial stock via a variety of local programs including SmartLights (free, independent energy efficiency consultation services and rebate opportunities for green technology adoption), Smartsolar (free consultation services related to solar adaptation), Commercial Energy Conservation Ordinance (which requires commercial properties to undergo green upgrades before sale or renovation), and the Bay Area Green Business Program (a public-utility partnership organization specializing in technical assistance, consultation, and public recognition for energy upgrade projects), (Berkeley).
  9. Retrofit the existing housing stock to reduce energy use and update the building by-laws to reflect heightened standards, funded by the Building Energy Retrofit Fund. Moreover, require annual energy benchmarking and reporting, the results of which will be made publicly available. Implement a broader zero-emission building policy, (Vancover).
  10. Implement the Energy Works program which finances energy efficiency programs in the Philadelphia area, (Philadelphia).
  11. Provide financing to help with retrofitting which saves on utility bills, (Washington).
  12. Create a fund of €465,000 to help citizens purchase electric bikes and cargo bikes, (Oslo).
  13. Provide funding of one hundred and sixty-four thousand Australian Dollars for Environment Grants and Sponsorship program for constructing solar electric car charging stations, (Perth).
  14. Create green roof economic incentives for individuals, (Rotterdam).
  15. Provide assistance in procuring green bonds to finance energy projects, the Green Bonds program, (Portland).
  16. Set a goal of retrofitting a million homes by adopting the “pay-as-you-save” model which aids Londoners to save money off their energy bills, (London).
  17. Offer rebates for home charging station installation for electric vehicles, (Austin)..
  18. Support new financing and ownership models for developing solar installation, (Minneapolis)
  19. Target funds to use in energy efficiency retrofitting, (Copenhagen)
  20. Provide Grants for high energy efficiency performance, (Minneapolis).
  21. Provide financial assistance to the private sector to accelerate adoption of energy efficiency and clean energy, (New York).
  22. Finance building upgrades by requiring building owners to pay back loans through energy savings, (Melbourne).

                                                                                                                                                       O . Cooperative government climate change strategies

  1. Involvement with the Vision Network’s Focus Cities program in which 10 cities cooperate on climate issues, (Austin).
  2. Office of sustainability creates Renewable Energy Task Force to oversee progress towards goal (Pittsburgh, PA) and works with other city departments and nonprofits to develop education tools and reduce barriers to renewable energy installation and generation, (Pittsburgh).
  3. Office of Sustainability develops tools to recognize the need for and promote installation of projects that save energy, (Pittsburgh).
  4. Work with Pennsylvania Resources Council, a non-profit organization that studies waste reduction practices, to update feasibility study of upgrading recycling and waste management, (Pittsburgh).
  5. Work with Municipalization organization to determine the feasibility of creating municipal energy systems, (Boulder),
  6. Assemble a comprehensive suite of regional climate projections, (New York).
  7. Apply a regional climate model to the NYC watershed region, (New York).
  8. Identify additional data and monitoring stations needed to track climate changes, (New York).
  9. Track improvements in climate change science, climate models, and estimates of changes in the severity, duration and frequency of weather events, (New York).
  10. Develop estimates of changes in rainfall intensities under climate change scenarios based on state of current science, (New York).
  11. Create a methodology for the City Environmental Quality Review process so that potential climate change impacts are assessed before decisions are made, (New York).
  12. Create the CitySwitch program which cooperates with other cities including Sydney on energy issues, (Melbourne).
  13. Systematic energy consumption mapping to enhance energy management, (Copenhagen).
  14. Require that municipal buildings must meet energy conservation criteria, including rented spaces, (Copenhagen).
  15. Establish an energy fund with the savings from climate upgrades to finance upcoming projects, (Copenhagen).
  16. Train all city employees on climate friendly conduct, (Copenhagen).
  17. Strive, where possible, to achieve Edmonton’s energy transition goals in partnership with other municipalities and the Province of Alberta, (Edmonton).
  18. Work collaboratively with Federal/Provincial governments to address Federal/Provincial legislation and policies that are barriers to Edmonton’s energy sustainability goals and encourage Federal/Provincial legislation and policies that support Edmonton’s energy sustainability goals, (Edmonton).
  19. Explore Federal financing mechanisms to enable private sector building retrofits, including the Department of Energy’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) and the Warehouse for Energy Efficiency Loans (WHEEL) through the National Association of State Energy Officials, (Austin).
  20. Work with higher levels of government to require companies, utilities, and housing industry associations to enter into agreements on climate change, (Berlin).
  21. Create an energy partnership with another city including cities in other countries to explore innovative concepts to improve energy performance, (Berlin).
  22. Work with other governments to improve sustainable procurement, resource recovery, and energy efficiency practices, (Melbourne).
  23. Create a Green City Index: A centralized database index comprised of data evaluating both Brussels’ policies and those of 30 peer European city-partners (considering 30 indicators divided into 8 broad themes related to environmental policies, , land and waste governance, transportation solutions, energy efficiency standards and consumption rates, water management, quality of building stock, emissions, and air quality) which allows the city to track its own successes and take inspiration from the successes of others, where applicable, (Brussels).
  24. Establish regional bio fuel factories which will run with the locally derived waste, (Ahmadabad).
  25. Undertaken a plan called the Green Office Plan which incentivizes offices to turn green, (Perth).

Section III. Thirty-one Conclusions from the Study.

The following are conclusions from the above analysis:

  1. Local governments can take many actions to reduce GHG emissions from their jurisdiction that do not require the government to spend significant funds including the following:
    1. Create a cooperative network among businesses, organizations, and citizens in the city or town to make voluntary GHG reductions and use this network to develop GHG reduction strategies for the local government.
    2. Make citizens aware of national, state, or regional and private sector programs that support actions to reduce GHG emissions at the local level.
    3. Encourage citizens to reduce their carbon footprint by making carbon calculators available and providing educational support in using the calculator.
    4. Provide information on how to think about the benefits and opportunities for installing solar energy.
    5. Create parking incentives for EVs and low emissions vehicles.
    6. Determine what financing support is available to increase energy efficiency of buildings.
    7. Encourage use of public transportation, bicycling, and walking,
    8. Provide education to citizens on how to reduce energy use while saving energy costs through insulation, more efficient electric devices, and prudent thermostat use.
    9. Create a climate change blog or publication that updates citizens on opportunities for reducing GHG emissions.
    10. Make citizens aware of electric utility programs that incentivize GHG emission reductions through rebates on insulation or efficient.
    11. Educate citizens about the climate benefits of tree canopy.
  2. Many cities obtain support for climate change policies by focusing on economic benefits of climate policies.
  3. Many cities have reported that implementing their GHG reduction strategies has saved money while often improving the quality of life and creating jobs.
  4. Because implementing GHG reduction strategies often saves money, a barrier to implementing GHG strategies is often not the will to take action but the capital needed to fund reduction steps. For this reason, many local governments have worked to find attractive financing to support business and citizen actions to reduce GHG emissions.
  5. Most local governments have worked cooperatively with local private sector organizations to reduce GHG emissions from within the jurisdiction of the local government.
  6. What local governments are able to commit to is sometimes a function of the willingness of higher levels of government to support local government efforts.
  7. Increasing the use and quality of public transportation is an important strategy for most cities.
  8. Many cities have encouraged citizens to reduce their carbon footprint by encouraging and educating citizens about how to calculate their carbon footprint. Some cities have encouraged citizens to reduce their carbon footprint by a certain amount such as one ton per year or by 10%.
  9. Several cities including New York report that working with citizens on climate strategies is a key to developing a robust GHG reduction strategy.
  10. The range of strategies in this paper reflect differences in distinct cultural, political, and social context, differences in population size, growth rates, control over energy supply, and relationship to higher levels of regional or national government. Some small local governments have little control over matters that larger local governments have and thus are more subservient to higher levels of government. The city of Austin, for instance, controls the electricity supplied to the city and has 448,000 electricity accounts in the greater Austin area and thus has potential better control over GHG emissions from electricity than other cities. On the other hand, cities in which electric utilities have been privatized have less control. Austin has been able to sign contracts with wind providers from different parts of Texas that can provide wind power throughout the day thus diminishing the need to supplement electricity from fossil fuel sources. Austin is in a stronger position than many cities in managing electricity use by managing a smart grid and thermostat use.
  11. Many cities are beginning to incentivize a transformation of vehicles from fossil fuel to electricity. Austin, for instance, has installed over 100 EV charging stations at parking stations reserved for EVs.
  12. Most cities are working to make it easier to use bicycles for transportation, In Austin, for instance, in four years of operation the city’s bicycle sharing scheme, 400,000 trips have been made.
  13. Those cities that create partnerships with the private sector are in a better position to reduce GHG emissions. A standout program offered by Austin in this category is the Green Business Leaders Progam. Currently it has 214 members from 10 different business sectors, representing almost 40,000 employees and incorporating over 15.5m square feet of office space.
  14. An important strategy for all local governments is education for citizens and the private sector about climate change issues. Austin, as an example. has developed a public communication program, about climate change issues and the city’s mitigation strategies. Its website includes impressive detail about all of its strategies, and its governance around sustainability.
  15. More and more cities are committing to and planning to achieve zero carbon by 2050 at least in the electricity sector.
  16. Many European cities including Berlin and Copenhangen have transformed transportation options to make public transportation, cycling, and walking attractive.
  17. Many cities rely on private-public partnerships to reduce GHG emissions as well as collaboration with higher levels of government.
  18. Many local governments have little control over the electricity supplier for the government For instance, the only impact Calgary can have on the electricity supply is through lobbying the provincial government to take steps to increase the proportion of renewables in Alberta and in encouraging generation powered by renewables within its jurisdiction, These governments must collaborate with higher levels of government to achieve greater use of renewables by electricity providers.
  19. Almost all local governments can reduce energy use through improved lighting strategies while saving money. Calgary is retrofitting its street lighting with LEDs and will complete 80,000 of its 90,000 lamps by the end of 2018. It is projected to reduce the City of Calgary’s energy consumption by 10%, saving the city some $5million per annum.
  20. Almost all local governments can save money by improving building energy efficiency.
  21. Many cities are aggressively creating incentives for the use of EVs. Norway has the highest number of EVs in the world, with more than 400,000. In 2016 nearly 40% of newly registered cars were EVs and the government plans to phase out all fossil-fueled cars by 2025. EVs in Norway are particularly effective because they are charged solely from renewable sources. In Oslo there are about 30,000, up from 4,000 in 2012. Oslo has an extensive free charging infrastructure with over 1,000 charging stations in both the city center and neighborhoods
  22. Like Calgary and Melbourne, Oslo has also converted its street lamps to LEDs. However it has gone further by creating a new lighting control system that dims lamps to a minimal level until they are activated by the approach of a vehicle or pedestrian.
  23. A particularly innovative strategy has been the construction of a district heating networks, using bio-gas produced by city waste.
  24. Many cities have developed tools for citizens to help them calculate their carbon footprint and increase knowledge of energy use. Wellington has developed an energy calculator, available online. Many resources are available on the web to help citizens reduce their footprint. See, for example
  25. Many cities have created communities of citizens and businesses that work together to reduce GHG emissions. By creating a community whose stated goal is emissions reductions, cities harnesses the complimentary powers of positive peer-pressure and failure induced
  26. Most cities can reduce the effect of GHG emissions by improving urban tree canopy This popular strategy involves the reclamation and greenification of urban spaces via the planting of native tree species. The benefits of such projects vastly exceed the costs and have the added benefit of being extremely simple to implement, manage, and measure.
  27. Each of the cities in question has emphasized the importance of creating a vibrant green economic sector. Both Boston and Vancouver have placed special emphasis on leveraging their significant research and tech resources for green development and economic stimulus, while Dublin, Berkeley, and Durban all have pointed to the significance of green
  28. The policy with the greatest impact to residential energy efficiency is the use of the package of home upgrades available on the market (primarily insulation and upgrading of older appliances), the widescale adoption of which is inhibited only by lack of funding.
  29. Environmental focuses on education create a groundswell of support for environmental projects, volunteerism, and
  30. As with nations devolving power to cities, so to with cities developing power to community groups, NGOs, charities, and other non-governmental organizations concerned with alleviating climate change is an effective strategy.
  31. Many cities have preferred encouraging behavioral change via the creation and promotion of environmentally conscious norms to the deployment and policing of regulation and policy. They prefer an approach that focuses on behavioral modification and norm adjustment rather than a reliance on governmental coercion.. They’re all carrot, little stick. Ultimately that would seem the most important strategy. Inspire people, business, and communities to pursue emissions reductions as a social good and emissions outputs will drop.



[2] AFP, Ethiopia to cut carbon emissions by two-thirds by 2030, PHYS.ORG (2015),

[3] Bus Rapid Transit System” Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation


[5] Office of Sustainability City of Austin, Final Austin Community Climate Plan, 2, (2015).

[6] Id. at 24.

[7] Berkeley: The Berkeley Climate Action Plan,

[8] PIK, Climate-Neutral Berlin 2050 Results of a Feasibility Study, BE BERLIN (2014),

[9] Compact of Mayors “Compact Cities” (3 June, 2017),  Bogota < >

[10] Greenovate Boston, 2014 Climate Action Plan Update.

[11] City of Boulder Colorado, (last visited March 26, 2017).

[12] City of Boulder Colorado, (last visited March 26, 2017).

[13] City of Boulder Colorado, (last visited March 26, 2017).

[14] “-Capitale: Action Plan in a Nutshell”, accessible at

[15] Compact of Mayors: “Compact Cities” (3 Jun, 2017) Buenos Aires < >

[16]2015 – Cities Emissions Reduction Targets” CDP (2016) <;

[17] Chicago Climate Action Plan (2008).

[18] CPH 2025: a Green, Smart and Carbon Neutral City (September 2012).

[19]   “Dublin City Sustainable Energy Action Plan 2010-2020” accessible at

[20] protection/Publications/Documents/Sustainability%20Best%20Practice%20Climate%20Change.pdf

[21] The City of Edmonton Energy Transition Strategy – 2016 Annual Report (2016)

[22] Kae Murakami “City of Hiroshima” Energy and Global Warming Prevention Department Environment Bureau

[23]   Mayor of London Delivering London’s Energy Future: The Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation and EnergyStrategy (October 2011)

[24] Los Angeles Climate Action Report: Updated 1990 Baseline and 2013 Emissions Inventory Summary” Plan Environment Economy Equity,

[25] Zero Net Emissions by 2020 – Update 2014 , (2014),

[26] Minneapolis Climate Action Plan: a roadmap to reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions (2013).

[27] Office of Mayor Megan Barry, “Livable Nashville: Committee Draft Recommendations” (2017), available at

[28] Emily Lloyd, The New York City Department of Environmental Protection Climate Change Program 11 (Report 1 2008).

[29] New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability New York Cities Roadmap 80×50 (2015)

[30] “2015 – Cities Emissions Reduction Targets”, above n 14, and “Host and Participant City Profiles”, above


[32] Hahn, Jonathan. Oslo Moves Forward with Climate Budget for Achieving Carbon Neutrality in 2020,, 14 Nov 2016. (Last visited 31 March 2017

[33] Drexel , Options for Achieving Deep Reductions in Carbon Emissions in Philadelphia by 2050 (2014), file:///C:/Users/tyler/AppData/Local/Temp/Reducing%20GHG%20in%20Philadelphia.pdf.

[34] Miriam Parson & John Jameson, Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan 2.0  (Aurora Sharrard et al. eds., 2.0 ed. 2012).

[35] Climate Action Plan – Local Strategies to address climate change 2015, City of Portland (2015),

[37] Suzana Kahn and Isabel Brandão “The contribution of low-carbon cities to Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals Briefing on urban energy use and greenhouse gas emissions” (November 2015) Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)


[39] San Francisco department of the Environment, (last visited March 26, 2017).

[40] San Francisco Department of the Environment, (last visited March 26, 2017).

[41] Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment, Seattle Climate Action Guide, 6, (2015).


[43] International Carbon Action Partnership China-Shenzhen Pilot System (May 3, 2017) at 1.

[44] Climate Action Tracker “Singapore” (November 2, 2016) < >

[45] Stockholm Action Plan for Climate and Energy 2010-2020.

[46] City of Sydney, Carbon Reduction: Energy, 3 Nov 2016,

[47] City of Sydney, National Carbon Offset Standard: Carbon Neutral Program Public Disclosure Summary, 4,, (2016).

[48] Id.

[49] City of Sydney, Renewable Energy, 12 August 2016,

[50] Compact of Mayors “Quito” Compact of Mayors “Quito” < >


[52] “Wellington” Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (2015)

[53] “Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Targets” Wellington City Council

[54] City of Yokohama Action Plan for Global Warming Countermeasures: Summary Version (March 2014) at 3; Yokohama: Smart City Project <>.


By Donald A. Brown,

For a hard copy of the report, send request to

The Moral Outrageousness of Trump’s Decision on the Paris Agreement







When Pope Francis in May of 2015 issued his Laudata Si encyclical which called climate change a moral issue, it got global attention. Yet despite extensive international media coverage of worldwide condemnation of President Trump’s decision to remove the United States from the Paris agreement, there has been relatively little coverage of why the Trump decision should be understood not only as a dangerous break with the international community but as a profoundly immoral choice.

Climate change has certain features that more than any other global environmental problem call for responding to it as a moral problem. First, it is a problem caused mostly by high-emitting developed countries that are putting relatively low emitting developing countries most at risk. Second, the potential harms to the most vulnerable nations and people are not mere inconveniences but include catastrophic threats to life and the ecological systems on which life depends. Third, those people and nations most at risk can do little to protect themselves by petitioning their governments to shield them; their best hope is that high-emitting nations will respond to their obligations to not harm others. Fourth CO2 emissions become well mixed in the atmosphere so that COatmosphere concentrations are roughly the same around the world regardless of the source of the emissions. Therefore unlike other air pollution problems which most threaten only those nations and communities located within the pollution plume, greenhouse gas emissions from any one country are threatening people and other countries around the world.  This means that US greenhouse gas emissions are causing and threatening enormous harm all over the world.

Under the 2015 Paris accord, 195 nations agreed to cooperate to limit warming to as close as possible to 1.5°C and no more than 2.0°C.  Even nations that have historically opposed strong international action on climate change, including most of the OPEC countries, agreed to this warming limit goal because there is a broad scientific consensus that warming above these amounts will not only cause harsh climate impacts to millions around the word, but could lead to abrupt climate change which could create great danger for much of the human race. The international community’s condemnation of the Trump decision is attributable to the understanding that achieving the Paris agreement’s warming limit goals will require the cooperation of all nations and particularly high emitting nations including the United States to adopt greenhouse gas reduction targets more ambitious than nations have committed to thus far. For this reason, most nations view the Trump decision as outrageously dangerous.

Trump justified his decision by his claim that removing the United States from the Paris agreement was consistent with his goal of adopting policies that put America first. According to Trump staying in the Paris Agreement would cost America as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025 including 440,000 fewer manufacturing jobs. This claim was based on a dubious study by National Economic Research Associates which was funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Council for Capitol Formation.  This study has been widely criticized for several reasons including that it neither counted the number of jobs which would be created in the renewable energy industry in a transformed energy sector nor the economic benefits of preventing climate change caused harms.

Yet it is the Trump assertion that the United States can base its energy policy primarily on putting US economic interests first while ignoring US obligations to not harm others that most clearly provokes moral outrage around the world. The moral principle that people may not harm others on the basis of self-interest is recognized by the vast majority of the world’s religions and in international law under the “no harm principle”.  The “no- harm’ rule is a principle of customary international law whereby a nation is duty-bound to prevent, reduce, and control the risk of environmental harm to other nations caused by activities within the nation  For these reasons, the Trump decision on the Paris Agreement is a moral travesty.


Donald A. Brown

Scholar In Residence and Professor

Widener University Commonwealth Law School

Responding to the Nomination for US Secretary of State the CEO of Exxon, a Company Which Funded the Morally Reprehensible Climate Change Disinformation Campaign and Politicians Who Are Climate Change Deniers

Greenpeace activists who have chained themself to a Greenpeace vehicle and to the entrance of the Exxon Mobil Headquarters are being observed by a couple of policemen and -women. The vehicle says exxon-ceo

I. Introduction. Relative Lack of Media Focus on the Danger of Appointing the Exxon CEO to be US Secretary of State Given the Enormity of the Climate Change Threat.

How should those who are concerned about the enormous threat of climate change respond to the Trump nomination of Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson to be the US Secretary of State given the enormous damage that Exxon has already caused through the company’s successful efforts in delaying the adoption of US climate change policies?

Trump’s selection of Tillerson for Secretary of State has received considerable understandable attention from the US media largely because of concern about Exxon’s ties to Russia, including, for instance, a contract with Russia negotiated by Tillerson in the amount of $500 billion that can’t be executed until economic sanctions placed on Russia for its invasion of the Ukraine are lifted.

Given the potential meddling of Russia in the recent US presidential election and potential conflicts between Russia’s and US interests, appointing someone to be the lead US foreign policy administrator who is the chief executive of a company with such close ties to Russia creates reason for obvious concerns about the ability of the Secretary of State to manage foreign policy so as to protect US interests while ignoring the interests of the world’s largest publicly traded oil and gas company which are sometimes in conflict with American goals.

Conflicts between Exxon’s interests and US foreign policy interests are likely to frequently arise in the Trump administration. For instance, it is in the US interest to keep the price of fossil fuel very low but not in the interest of a fossil fuel company, nor Russia for that matter, both of which could benefit from high fossil fuel prices.

Receiving considerable less attention from the US media is the propriety of appointing someone to be US Secretary of State who has been the chief executive of  Exxon, a company with a well documented hostility to government policies on climate change. This hostility has not only manifested itself in Exxon’s spending of many millions of dollars in lobbying efforts to oppose proposed US domestic policies on climate change and supporting politicians who have consistently opposed proposed US climate change policies but also, even more disconcerting, Exxon has funded organizations who have been actively fighting to stop the United States from adopting climate change policies by employing morally reprehensible tactics to undermine citizens’ understanding of the scientific basis for the need to aggressively respond to climate change.

As we have explained, on this website in considerable detail (see articles under disinformation campaign in the index), although scientific skepticism is good because skepticism is the oxygen of science, Exxon has funded organizations engaged in disinformation who have used utterly indefensible tactics including: (1) lying or reckless disregard for the truth about climate change science, (2) manufacturing false scientific claims about climate change by holding bogus scientific conferences at which participants have  made scientific claims that have never not been subjected to peer review, (3) supporting front groups and fake grass roots organizations to oppose climate change policies whose creation was designed to hide the real parties in interest, (4) cherry-picking mainstream climate science by emphasizing a few minor issues in climate science about which there is some scientific uncertainty while ignoring the huge body of climate change science which is undisputed and claiming the uncertainties undermine the entire body of mainstream climate science, and (5) funding public relations strategies to undermine US citizens confidence in mainstream climate science, and (6) cyber bullying mainstream climate scientists and journalist who report on growing climate change risk.

Fossil fuel company support of the climate change disinformation campaign has been responsible for at least a twenty-five year delay in the United States response to climate change, a delay which has also thwarted international efforts to achieve a global solution to climate change and has made the threat of climate change now extraordinarily dangerous and made the warming limit goals agreed to by the world in Paris in 2015 to as close as possible 1.5 degrees C but no more than 2 degrees C extraordinarily difficult to achieve.

And so, the chief executive of a company has been nominated to lead the development of US foreign policy including forging an international position on climate change which company is already responsible for enormous potential climate change caused harms to the world created by the delay which is attributable to their funding and that of several other fossil fuel companies, industry organizations, and free-market fundamentalist foundations.

Although entities other than Exxon have also contributed to the funding of the climate change disinformation campaign, a  recent paper published  in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science (PNAS) in October concluded that the main organizations comprising the climate denial echo chamber were funded by ExxonMobil and Koch Family Foundation and produced misinformation that effectively polluted mainstream media coverage of climate science and polarized the climate policy debate. The study is: Corporate funding and ideological polarization about climate change, October 12, 2015. 

This study’s analysis of 20 years’ worth of communication data between participants in the climate change counter-movement by Yale University researcher Dr. Justin Farrell shows beyond doubt that Exxon and the Koch Family Foundations have been key actors who funded the climate disinformation campaign and ensured the prolific spread of their doubt products throughout our mainstream media and public discourse about climate change.

The contrarian efforts have been so effective for the fact that they have made it difficult for ordinary Americans to even know who to trust,” Dr. Farrell told the Washington Post.  Dr Farrell said: “This counter-movement produced messages aimed, at the very least, at creating ideological polarization through politicized tactics, and at the very most, at overtly refuting current scientific consensus with scientific findings of their own.”

As we have explained on this website, the tactics deployed by the climate change disinformation campaign funded by some fossil fuel companies including Exxon and others should be understood as a new kind of crime against humanity because they are deeply morally reprehensible even if not classifiable as a crime under existing law because of the enormous climate change harms these tactics have caused to tens of millions of poor vulnerable people around the world, some of which are already occurring as others are already in the pipeline.

Some participants in the climate change disinformation campaign defend their behavior as exercises in free speech, yet as we have explained on this website, free speech is not an adequate defense for those who make claims based on lies or reckless disregard for the truth when misinformation can greatly harm others. (see; Three Videos on Why the Fossil Fuel Funded Climate Change Disinformation Campaign Is Neither an Exercise of Free Speech nor Responsible Scientific Skepticism and Should Be Understood as Some Kind of New Crime Against Humanity)

Thus an argument can be made that Exxon and the other entities who have funded the climate change disinformation campaign to protect their profits should be made to help pay for at least some of the climate change adaptation responses that are now needed to protect poor vulnerable people around the world from rising seas, floods, droughts, and diminished water supplies and the enormous damages from climate change that will be experienced because of the approximate three decade delay in responding to climate change that is attributable to the climate change disinformation campaign which began to get organized in the late 1980s. (Several law suits that have been filed against Exxon and other fossil fuel companies by plaintiffs seeking damages from climate change harms have been dismissed thus far, often on the grounds that allocating climate change damages is a political rather than a judicial function yet  a growing number of cases  continue to be filed seeking to establish legal liability of fossil fuel companies for their role in spreading misinformation about climate change.)

Yet, rather than making Exxon responsible for the enormous damage it has done through its successful efforts to prevent government policies to reduce GHG emissions., President-elect Trump has nominated Exxon’s CEO to be the spokesperson for US foreign policy including climate change foreign policy. This is arguably like appointing the CEO of Philip Morris to be the Surgeon General of the United States.

II. Why Has the US Media Given Little Attention About the Danger from Climate Change of Making the Exxon CEO US Secretary of State?

Why has the US press mostly ignored the extreme danger of making the CEO of a huge powerful oil company Secretary of State which company has been responsible for dangerous delays in responding to climate change through the use of morally reprehensible tactics and which company’s profits are greatly threatened by policies that rapidly reduce GHG emissions?

It would appear that the media’s relative lack of concern about nominating an Exxon CEO to run the State Department is attributable to Exxon’s and Tillerson’s announcements which began in 2006 that they had changed their views on climate change, agreed that human-induced climate change was a threat worthy of policy responses which include potentially putting a price on carbon, and Exxon would no longer fund organizations participating in climate change denial. (For a discussion of Exxon’s and Tillerson’s gradual shift on climate change see John Schwartz, New York Times, Tillerson Led Exxon’s Shift on Climate Change; Some Say ‘It Was All P.R.‘)

In fact, some recent press coverage of Tillerson’s nomination to be the US Secretary of State have uncritically portrayed the Exxon CEO as a climate change advocate.

For instance  Media Matters has reported in a CBS Evening News Report on December 13, anchor Scott Pelley said of Tillerson: “The lifelong oil man has no government experience, but he did convince Exxon to acknowledge climate change.” [CBS Evening News, 12/13/16]

Media Matters also reported that on December 10, an NBC news segment discussing Tillerson, correspondent Andrea Mitchell reported, “During his time at the world’s largest public energy company, Tillerson acknowledged the science behind climate change, supporting a carbon tax, while also expressing support for the Paris Climate Agreement.”

And so it would appear that Exxon’s and Tillerson’s recent stated changes in their positions on the acceptance of climate change science is responsible to the US media’s largely uncritical coverage of Tillerson’s nomination despite Exxon’s role in successfully undermining US responses to climate change and the basic conflict that exists between rapidly reducing GHG emissions and Exxon’s profits and the value of its oil reserves.

In what is likely an attempt to rebrand Exxon from being a climate change policy obstructionist, recently Exxon has produced TV commercials in which the company announces that is supporting the development of carbon capture and storage technologies that would reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

III. Has Exxon actually stopped funding climate denial organizations?

In July 2016, DeSmog Blog reported that Exxon’s most recent financial disclosures show that the company “continues to support organizations that claim greenhouse gases are not causing climate change, or that cuts to emissions are a waste of time and money”:

Organisations including the American Enterprise Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council and the National Black Chamber of Commerce — all organisations with a record of misinformation on climate science — all received grants in 2015 from ExxonMobil. The 2015 tally brings the total amount of known Exxon funding to denial groups north of $33 million since 1998. (DeSmog Blog, 7/8/16)

According to a recent article in the Guardian, Exxon gave more than $2.3 million to members of Congress and a corporate lobbying group that deny climate change and block efforts to fight climate change – eight years after pledging to stop its funding of climate denial.

IV Has Exxon and Tillerson Actually Become Advocates of Government Action On Climate Change. 

Does Exxon and Tillerson fully accept the mainstream peer-reviewed science on climate change? It is not clear.

Although both Exxon and Tillerson have asserted that they agree with the mainstream scientific view that human-induced climate change is a significant threat that must be dealt with, it is not clear that either accepts the scientific implications of the mainstream view including, for instance, neither that some fossil fuels must be left in the ground unless carbon capture and storage technology can be made affordable and proven effective nor that there is an urgent need to immediately aggressively reduce GHG emissions if the the international community hopes to prevent dangerous climate change. .

Tillerson has stated that he believes that climate change is a problem with an engineering solution. This suggests he supports the development of technologies that can either store carbon in the ground or remove carbon from the atmosphere. Yet no such technologies have been yet identified that can be deployed at the scale currently needed and that are also affordable and technologically effective despite the fact that these technologies are needed to justify continued use of oil and gas at current rates.

In addition, and perhaps more importantly, to limit warming to the warming limit goals agreed to in Paris in 2015 of as close as possible to 1.5 degrees C, the world must reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

CO2 emissions from energy and industry must be zero globally around 2050 for a 1.5°C limit, which is around 10-25 years earlier than for a 2°C limit. Full decarbonization for 1.5°C limit is therefore needed by mid-century, and mid-way through the second half of the century for 2°C limit. (Climate Analytics)

Thus, the international community must achieve net zero GHG emissions from the energy and industrial sectors in 33 years to have hope of limiting warming to 1.5°C and 58 years to achieve zero GHG emissions to limit to 2°C. To achieve these civilization challenging goals, the world must act quickly and aggressively. In fact rapid reductions are particularly needed in the next few years as UNEP has concluded. In fact there is an urgency of enhancing pre-2020 mitigation efforts to have any realistic hope of achieving the warming limit goals agreed to in Paris in December 2015. (See UNEP, Emissions Gap Report 2016, pg 9)

If nations quickly respond to the obligation to begin reducing GHG emissions to achieve zero emissions by 2050, this will require rapid expansion of non-fossil energy, a possibility due to recent rapid reductions in the cost of solar energy, and require energy companies to hold fossil fuel reserves in the ground. This could leave energy companies with unprofitable reserves, or assets “stranded” underground unless carbon capture and storage or atmospheric carbon removal technologies are deployed at scale because they have become affordable and technically effective. Yet  carbon storage has not yet proven affordable nor effective at the scale that would be required to prevent dangerous atmospheric GHG concentrations from continuing to rise.

Exxon has not accepted this idea.  In 2014, shareholders seeking greater accountability from the company on the potential that some of its reserves would have to be left in the ground submitted a resolution to disclose how its reserves would be affected if climate action reduced demand. The company, in response, produced a report that said it would be “highly unlikely” that countries would enact action aggressive enough to affect demand. Two years later, the world’s nations agreed to the Paris climate agreement to reduce emissions to zero by late in this century.

Has Tillerson questioned or denied mainstream climate science since 2006?

Yes. In settings with stock analysts or other executives Tillerson has at times reverted back to Exxon’s old narrative that cast doubt on climate science. At the company’s 2013 annual shareholder meeting, for instance,Tillerson said: “Notwithstanding all the advancements that have been made in gathering more data, instrumenting the planet so that we understand how climate conditions on the planet are changing, notwithstanding all that data, our ability to project with any degree of certainty the future is continuing to be very limited….If you examine the temperature record of the last decade, it really hadn’t changed.” Thus Tillerson adopted the frequently discredited claim of many climate change deniers that global rises in temperatures paused in the last decade.

At the 2015 annual meeting, Tillerson said it might be better to wait for better science before taking action on climate change. “What if everything we do, it turns out our models are lousy, and we don’t get the effects we predict?” (Inside Climate News, Rex Tillerson’s Record on Climate Change: Rhetoric vs. Reality)

Although Exxon and Tillerson have proclaimed that they might support a tax on carbon, they have done nothing to make this happen nor have they stated that they would support a significant carbon tax immediately. (John Schwartz, New York Times, Tillerson Led Exxon’s Shift on Climate Change; Some Say ‘It Was All P.R )

For these reasons, it is not clear that Exxon or Tillerson are willing to support US government responses on climate change that are now urgently required to deal with the climate emergency facing the world.

V. What Should Those Who Are  Concerned Abouaret Climate Change Do In Response to the Tillerson Nomination.

Given the enormity of the threat to the world from climate change, the indefensible role that Exxon has played in delaying US action on climate change, and the lack of clarity about whether Rex Tillerson supports policies needed to rapidly reduce global GHG emissions to safe global emissions, concerned ciitzens should strongly oppose the Tillerson nomination while demanding  that the nominee respond to the following questions under oath before a confirmation vote is taken in the US Senate:

  1.  Do you support development and deployment of non-fossil energy in the United States as rapidly as possible until technologies which can sequester carbon or remove carbon from the atmosphere have been demonstrated to be economically feasible and technically effective?
  2. If you agree that the United States should respond to climate change by putting a price on carbon, will you immediately support legislation which creates a price on carbon at levels necessary to reduce US emissions to the US fair share of safe global emissions?
  3. Do you agree that US policy on climate change should seek to achieve the Paris Agreement’s warming limit goals of preventing warming from exceeding as close as possible to 1.5 degrees C but no greater than 2.0 degrees C above pre-industrial levels?
  4. If you agree that US climate policy should seek to limit warming to between 1.5 degrees C and 2.0 degrees C, do you agree that the US should clearly explain how its policies will achieve these warming limit goals of the Paris agreement?
  5. Since you agree that human-induced climate change is a threat to people and ecological systems around the world, do you agree that Exxon should no longer fund the campaigns of politicians that deny that human-induced climate change is a threat worthy of a strong national response?
  6. Since GHG emissions from the United States not only threaten US citizens and ecological systems but people and ecological systems around the world, do you agree that US policy on climate change should respond to the US responsibility to prevent climate change from harming all people and ecological systems around the world?
  7. Do you agree that people and nations who could be harmed by high levels of US GHG emissions from the United States have interests in US climate change policies and if so their interests should be considered in formulating US climate policy?
  8. Do you agree that nations that emit GHGs at levels beyond their fair share of safe global emissions have a duty to help pay for reasonable adaptation needs and unavoidable damages of low-emitting countries and individuals that have done little to cause climate change?
  9. If you disagree that high emitting nations have responsibility to help finance reasonable adaptation needs or unavoidable damages from climate change in countries which are largely not responsible for climate change, how do you interpret the “polluter pays” principle of international law?
  10. Do you deny that when the US formulates a GHG emissions reduction target it has a duty both under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which it ratified in 1992 and the Paris Agreement to formulate its commitment after consideration of what “equity” requires of the United States and if so what does the term ‘equity” under the UNFCCC mean to you?


Donald A. Brown

Scholar in Residence and Professor

Widener University Commonwealth Law School

Exxon changed its position at about the time that Rex Tillerson became the CEO of Exxon.

On January 8, 2009, Rex Tillerson gave a speech in  Washingotn

On the Urgent Need for an “All Hands on Deck” Response to Climate Change to Reduce GHG Emissions to Net Zero ASAP Particularly in the United States as the Trump Administration Prepares to Take Over the Machinery of the US Government


I. Introduction. The Magnitude of GHG Emissions Reductions Needed

Even if Hillary Clinton had been elected US president, there would be a urgent need for the United States to dramatically and rapidly increase its commitments to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is so because the world is rapidly running out of time to prevent extremely dangerous climate change even though 193 countries in Paris in December 2010 agreed to try to limit warming to as close as possible to 1.5°C but no more than 2.0°C.

Although the Obama administration’s promise to reduce US GHG emissions by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025 was applauded by the international community because it was a welcome break from the intransigence of the H.W. Bush’s administration’s lack of cooperation with the international community’s efforts to find a global solution to climate change, the Obama administration’s commitment was still far short of meeting the US fair share of safe global GHG emissions. This is so because the world must rapidly move to zero carbon emissions to prevent dangerous climate change.

CO2 emissions from energy and industry must be zero globally around 2050 for a 1.5°C limit, which is around 10-25 years earlier than for a 2°C limit. Full decarbonization for 1.5°C limit is therefore needed by mid-century, and mid-way through the second half of the century for 2°C limit. (Climate Analytics)

Thus, the international community must achieve net zero GHG emissions from the energy and industrial sectors in 33 years to have hope of limiting warming to 1.5°C and 58 years to achieve zero GHG emissions to limit to 2°C. But because global GHG emissions have not yet peaked, the challenge for the international community to reduce GHG emissions to zero in little over three decades is staggering. In addition, these civilization challenging emissions reduction needs are for the entire world.  Developed countries must reduce their GHG emissions at a much more ambitious rate than poor developing countries both as a matter of equity as developed countries agreed to in the Paris Agreement and basic fairness because per capita emissions in developing countries are already so much less than developed countries.


Source: International Rivers 

II. The Speed of Emissions Reductions Needed

Furthermore, not only is the magnitude of GHG emissions needed to prevent catastrophic climate change impacts civilization challenging, the speed at which these reductions must be made is also civilization challenging because every day of delay makes the problem worse as high levels of GHG emissions rapidly deplete the remaining dwindling carbon budget.

The following chart from Carbon Brief depicts the enormous importance of speed in responding to climate change if the international community can retain any hope of limiting warming to non-dangerous levels. The red, purple, and blue lines depict how much time is left to prevent warming from exceeding 3°C, 2°C, and 1.5°C with 33%, 50%, and 66% probabilities of achieving the  warming limits. To limit warming to 2°C with a 66% probability at current emissions levels of approximately 40 GtC, the chart depicts that there is only 20.3 years left before the remaining carbon budget is zero. To limit  warming to 1.5°C with a 66% probability at current emissions levels the chart depicts that there is only 5.2 years left before the remaining carbon budget is zero.


Although 193 countries signed the Paris Agreement promising to submit Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs) to achieve the Agreement’s warming limit goals, total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continue to show a steady increase, reaching approximately 52.7 gigatonnes carbon diode equivalent (GtCO2e) in 2014. (UNEP, 2016, p. 14).

Although 160 nations submitted pledges before the 2015 Paris conference to reduce GHG emissions,  even if fully implemented, these commitments are only consistent with staying below an increase of global temperatures of 3.2°C by 2100 and 3.0°C if commitments that were made conditional on events that have yet happened are fully implemented. (UNEP, 2016, p. 17).

The 2016 UNEP analysis of the gap between  national emissions reductions commitments made before Paris in 2015 and those needed to achieve the Paris Agreement’s warming limit goals concluded that there is an urgency of enhancing pre-2020 mitigation action because early action: (a) bolsters the likelihood that countries meet and exceed their existing commitments, (b) provides a more solid foundation for implementing future Nationally Determined Contributions and for continuously strengthening their ambition, (c) supports the transition towards a least-cost emissions reduction trajectory after 2020 that is consistent with the well below 2°C target, (d) is likely the last chance to keep the option of limiting global warming to 1.5°C in 2100 open, as all available scenarios consistent with the 1.5°C target imply that global greenhouse gas emissions peak before 2020. (UNEP, 2016. p. 33)

Furthermore UNEP warned that delaying aggressive action will: (a) imply that significantly higher rates of global emission reductions are required in the medium- and long-term to meet the well below 2°C target and the order of magnitude of these rates is without historic precedent, (b) reduce the ‘solution space’ and options available to society to achieve stringent emission reductions.,(c) result in greater lock-in of carbon- and energy-intensive infrastructure in the energy system and society, (d) be a disincentive for near-term learning and technology development that will be essential in the long-term, (e) translates into greater dependence on negative emissions technologies in the medium-term technologies that so far are unproven on a larger scale.(f) increases the costs of mitigation in the medium- and long-term,  (g)implies greater risks of economic disruption, (h) creates greater risks of failing to meet the well-below 2°C target,  and (i) is likely to be incompatible with meeting a 1.5°C target.(UNEP, 2016, p.33)

And so, to prevent vary dangerous climate change, the international community must aggressively cooperate to rapidly achieve civilization challenging reductions in GHG emissions. These emissions reductions should, as we have seen above, achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 to retain hope of limiting warming to the 1.5°C warming limit target.

III. Some New Hope from Non-State Actors

Although the commitments made by national governments so far fall significantly short of achieving the 1.5 °C to 2.0°C warming limit goals of the Paris Agreement, a positive development in the last few years is the increasing number of non-state actors who have made commitments to reduce GHG emissions, some of which would achieve emissions reductions greater than those that will be achieved by the national commitments alone.  Such non-state actors include: the private sector, cities, regional governments, and other subnational actors including citizen groups, all of which are referred as “non-state actors” under a new program created  by the UNFCCC. The program is called NAZCA which means Non-state Actors Zone on Climate Action.

NAZCA currently identifies commitments to climate action by 2508 cities, 209 regions, 2138 corporations,260 banks and financial institutions, 238 civil society organizations, and 77 cooperative agreements which include commitments to action that are being undertaken collectively by a variety of companies, cities, and sub-national regions.

As we described in a recent entry on this website about the recently concluded Marrakech negotiations, many governments around the world reported at the Marrakech COP on new successes in installing non-fossil energy and intentions to move toward zero carbon energy systems in the years ahead. Although this writer has been attending climate negotiations since they started after the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, I had never before seen at a COP such significant support for climate change programs by sub-national governments and other non-state actors.

I also heard throughout the Marrakech negotiations government and non-government organization representatives defiantly proclaim that they were going to go ahead to implement climate change policies despite the fact that US President-elect Donald Trump might prevent the United States from fulfilling its climate change obligations to the world.

IV. The Importance of Non-state Actors in the United States

This article explains that the civilization challenging magnitude of action needed to reduce GHG emissions to non-dangerous levels coupled with the speed that is needed to make significant reductions requires a much more aggressive response to climate change than national governments have been willing to commit to thus far. Yet there is some hope of the world achieving greater GHG emissions than levels currently committed to that is now visible from the expanding commitments that non-state actors are beginning to make around the world. For this reason, the international community’s best hope of reducing global GHG emissions to safe levels may depend on both nations and non-state actors ramping up their ambition on GHG emissions reductions. Therefore a call for an “all hands on deck” approach to climate change, that is an approach that calls for action by all levels of government and all sectors, including the private sector, non-government civil society organizations, and individuals to reduce GHG emissions, is currently warranted given the enormity of the scale of the problem.

Although many governments in Marrakech claimed they were going to go ahead in implementing the Paris Agreement with or without the United States under a Trump administration, the world still needs the United States to aggressively reduce its GHG emissions because approximately 17% of the world’s GHG emissions come from the United States according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

And so, in light of the fact that a Trump administration is likely to greatly disappoint the world on climate change, and given that an “all hands on deck” approach to climate change should be called for in the United States without regard to who is US President, an “all hands on deck” approach to climate change in the United States is indispensable at this moment in history to prevent enormous harm to hundreds of millions of poor vulnerable people around the world and perhaps to all of life on earth.

Donald A. Brown
Scholar In Residence and Professor,
Widener University Commonwealth Law School

Reflections on the Marrakech Climate Negotiations In Light of the American Election


I arrived in Marrakech on Thursday am, November 10 just as the news of the election of Donald Trump was hitting the world like a large meteor hitting the Atlantic Ocean.

I had come to Marrakech to participate in international climate negotiations to which 193 countries had come in hope of making progress on finding a global solution to the increasingly frightening climate change emergency.  All 193 countries had agreed in Paris the year before to work together to try to limit warming to as close as possible to 1.5 degrees C but no more than 2 degrees C. The international community was convinced that their previous promise to work to limit warming to 2 degrees C was much too dangerous particularly for many desperately poor countries. Yet to achieve the new warming limits, nations will need to greatly strengthen their commitments made in Paris, a goal which was the organizing focus of the Marraketch meeting.

On the first day of the negotiations, I was listening to two women, one from the Maldives and the other from Bangladesh, describing the suffering their families and communities were already experiencing from floods and rising seas. They also pleaded for much more aggressive action from developed countries to reduce GHG emissions as  waves of grief, despair and sadness about the US election were reverberating through the huge Marrakech negotiating complex.

As I encountered colleagues from previous climate negotiations, every conversation began with sorrowful laments about the US election. Particularly those of us who were veterans of most of the 23 year climate negotiating history were painfully aware of the anomaly that the Obama administration represented compared to the administrations of prior US Presidents as a positive force in the international efforts to find a global solution to climate change’s enormous threats.  We therefore felt deep grief about the Trump election and his promise to rip up the Paris Agreement and reestablish coal as an energy source.

For most of the 23 year history of the climate negotiations, the United States, along with two or three other nations,  often played a blocking role in international efforts to find a global solution to climate change. In no small part because of the delay caused by US obstruction, the world is running out of time to prevent potentially very dangerous climate change despite the Obama’s administrations recent more positive commitments.

The climate change disinformation campaign funded by many fossil fuel companies and free market fundamentalist foundations that started in the United States in the late 1980s and moved to several other developed countries is in no small part responsible for the rise of atmospheric CO2 to 403 ppm from about 320 ppm, a level that existed when calls to control GHG emissions began in earnest in the 1970s.

Because the international community has not found a way yet to actually reduce global GHG emissions to safe levels, and some parts of the world are already experiencing life-threatening floods and droughts, killer heat waves and storm surges, and rises in tropical diseases, the success of US climate change opponents in blocking meaningful US climate change policies has created a monumental threat to the entire world. Now President-elect Trump is threatening to reinstate the United State as the chief obstructionist on climate change issues among nations.

Yet shortly before the Marrakech COP, optimism about chances for preventing catastrophic warming was rising as 55 countries representing 55% of global emissions ratified the Paris Agreement allowing the Paris deal to come into effect on October 4th of this year, more quickly than expected. At the beginning of the Marrakech negotiation session, it appeared to me that the Trump election had punctured the optimism filled balloon that was rising shortly before the Marrakech COP.

Compared to many of the first 21 international climate negotiating meetings, which are referred to as Conference of the Parties or COPs under the 1992 United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the agenda and expectations for the Marrakech session (COP22) were modest despite a growing sense of urgency and alarm among climate scientists that time is running short to prevent extraordinarily  dangerous climate change.

The most important agenda items for Marrakech were filling in details of general decisions made in the Paris Agreement that must be clarified if the accord’s goal of limiting warming to as close as possible to  1.5 degrees C but no greater than 2 degrees C has any chance of being achieved.

And so much of the Marrakech negotiations were focused on such non-sexy issues as:

(a) how a global dialogue that the Paris Agreement calls for on assessing the state of affairs in 2018 will be organized,

(b) how to assure the clarity and sufficiency of information that nations must provide with their commitments under the Paris agreement prior to five-year “stocktakes” and to implement the Paris Agreement’s “transparency mechanism,”

 (c) how to make progress on the financing promises of developed countries for developing country programs on adaptation and mitigation,

(d) how to assure that the Paris Agreement’s market mechanisms which give governments flexibility in how they achieve GHG emissions reduction commitments don’t undermine the Agreement’s warming limit goal.

Although these issues are not as politically explosive as issues that were under consideration in the other 21 COPs, they are nonetheless crucial steps that must be taken to implement the Paris accord.

The fog of sadness triggered by the Trump election coupled with the lack of visible progress on increasing the ambition of national commitments so urgently needed to keep warming to non-dangerous levels initially created a dark mood in the negotiating complex. However, as the negotiations continued into the second week, at least this writer was buoyed by the determination, if not outright defiance, of people and countries from around the world that I kept experiencing during the last few days of the COP.

In addition to the negotiations, much of what goes on at a COP are in numerous side-events, where reports are heard from non-government organizations, national and international scientific institutions, research organizations, and businesses supporting technologies that have hope of contributing to the solution to climate change. Being at a COP is like having a two-week intensive course on all that is going on with climate change around the world.


At one of  the side events I attended, I began to notice the rise of a positive defiance that countries around the world were displaying about the future of the Paris Agreement despite the bad news from the United States. This positive mood was fueled in part by the numerous examples of rapid progress being made around the world in installing non-fossil energy. Also all countries acted at the COP as if they understood that climate change was a very serious global threat that urgently required the cooperation of all nations to prevent catastrophic harm to people and ecological systems on which life depends.

In one side event, the energy Secretary from Vermont reported that one in every twenty jobs in her state were in the solar industry and that solar energy is already transforming Vermont’s energy supply.

Johnathan Pershing, lead US negotiator, claimed that the US solar industry was employing over 2,500,000 people while only 86,000 were working in the coal industry.

One of the side events discussed growing cooperation on climate change between California and several Canadian Provinces along with growing regional cooperation around the world on climate issues

Many of the 193 countries participating in the Marrakech negotiations had displays which depicted not only significant amounts of installed renewable energy in their countries, but plans for greatly expanded use or climate friendly technologies including electric vehicles and green building in the years ahead.

There was considerable discussion in Marrakech about the rapidly expanding and ambitious role that cities around the world have committed to play to fight climate change. Recently 7,100 cities from 119 countries and six continents, representing more than 600 million inhabitants, over 8% of the world’s population have committed to cooperate together under the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. In addition 20 of the world’s largest cities have committed to achieve carbon neutrality or at minimum to reduce GHG emissions by 80% by 2050. The cities include: Adelaide, Australia, Berlin, Germany, Boston MA, Boulder CO, Copenhagen,Denmark, London, United Kingdom, Melbourne, Australia, Minneapolis MN, New York City NY, Oslo, Norway, Portland OR, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, San Francisco CA, Seattle WA, Stockholm, Sweden, Sydney, Australia,Toronto, Canada, Vancouver, Canada, Washington, DC, and Yokohama, Japan.

Several times throughout the COP I heard participants proclaim defiantly that they were going to “Trump Proof” the world. They claimed they were going to go ahead with or without the United States.  Several claimed that if the United States pulled out of the Paris deal, they would pursue economic sanctions against the United States

The day before I left Marrakech, I felt a positive change in my mood. I had been affected by positive energy from thousands around the world attending the COP. They promised to strive to implement the Paris Agreement without the United States. However, only if the United States aggressively reduces its GHG emissions is there much hope of preventing climate change that will harm millions of the worlds poorest people because 20 % of global GHG emissions come from the United States..

The Marrakech COP produced a few very modest advancements in the Paris deal while deferring important decisions to the next COP which will be held in Bonn, Germany next year.


Donald A. Brown

Scholar in Residence and Professor

Widener University Commonwealth Law School

The Enormous Damage Caused to the World By the Climate Change Disinformation Campaign Which Began in the United States and Spread To Other Countries


The following are slides presented at a side event at COP 22 in Marrakech on the enormous damage to the world caused by  the climate change disinformation campaign that started in the United States and spread to a few other countries

“Program at the UNFCCC COP 22, Marraketch Morroco”

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

1 pm to 2 pm, Baltic Room, Blue Zone

Sponsored By

The Pennsylvania Environmental Research Consortium


For Information Contact:

Donald A. Brown,

Widener University Commonwealth Law School


The program will begin with a briefing on what peer-reviewed social science has revealed about the climate change disinformation campaign’s structure, funding, tactics, successes in blocking climate policies, and main participants. This will be followed by a discussion of:

  • Why despite fact that scientific skepticism is good and should be encouraged, this is not responsible skepticism?
  • Why this behavior cannot be excused as an exercise in free speech?
  • What damage has been caused by this campaign?
  • What kind of malfeasance is this? Tort, crime, fraud?
  • How to increase public international awareness of these developments?
  • What should be done about it?















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A video: Questions that Should be Asked of Those Who Oppose Climate Change Policies on the Basis of Costs, Job Loss, or Decreases in GDP To Expose the Moral and Ethical Problems with these Arguments


coal fire obama

For over 35 years, opponents of climate change policies most frequently have made two kinds of arguments in opposition to proposed climate policies. First proposed climate policies should be opposed because there is too much scientific uncertainty to warrant action. Second climate policies should be opposed because of the adverse economic harms that the policies will cause. This kind of argument has taken several different forms such as, climate policies simply cost too much, will destroy jobs, harm the economy, or are not justified by cost-benefit analyses just to name a few cost-based arguments made frequently in opposition to climate change policies. .

For most of the 35 years, proponents of climate change policies have usually responded to these arguments by making counter “factual” claims such as climate policies will increase jobs or trigger economic growth. Although the claims made by opponents of climate change policies about excessive costs are often undoubtedly false and therefore counter factual arguments are important responses to these arguments of climate change opponents, noticeably missing from the climate change debate for most of the 35 years  are explanations and arguments about why the cost-based arguments fail to pass minimum ethical and moral scrutiny.  This absence is lamentable because the moral and ethical arguments about the arguments of those opposing climate policy are often very strong.

This video identifies questions that should be asked of those who oppose climate change policies on the basis of cost or adverse economic impacts to expose the ethical and moral  problems with these arguments.  The video not only identifies the questions, it give advice on how the questions should be asked.  The questions in the video also can be found below.


We are interested in hearing from those who use these  questions to expose the ethical problems with cost arguments made against climate change policies.  Those who wish to share their experiences with these questions, please reply to:

The questions in this video are:











Donald A. Brown

Scholar in Residence and Professor

Widener University Commonwealth Law School








Three Videos on Why the Fossil Fuel Funded Climate Change Disinformation Campaign Is Neither an Exercise of Free Speech nor Responsible Scientific Skepticism and Should Be Understood as Some Kind of New Crime Against Humanity


wizardweb of denial


This post identifies three updated 15 minute videos which have previously appeared on this site.  These videos describe, analyze, and respond to controversies about the climate change disinformation campaign. They include descriptions of:

(1) The enormous damage to the world that has been caused by a mostly fossil fuel corporate funded disinformation campaign on climate change,

(2) What is meant by the climate change disinformation campaign, a phenomenon sociologist describe as a “countermovement,”

(3) The tactics of the disinformation campaign,

(4) An explanation of why the tactics of the campaign cannot be excused either as an exercise in free speech or as responsible scientific skepticism,

(5) What norms should guide responsible scientific skepticism about climate change.

Continue reading

Why Exxon’s and Other Fossil Fuel Companies’ Funding of the Climate Change Disinformation Campaign Cannot be Excused As an Exercise in Free Speech but Must be Understood as Morally Reprehensible Disinformation.

The tactics of the fossil fuel industry cannot simply be understood as its exercise of free speech. As we have seen in previous entries on the disinformation campaign on this website the disinformation Campaigns tactics have included:

1. Lying or reckless disregard for the truth about mainstream climate change science.
2. Cherry-picking mainstream climate science by focusing on an issue about which there may be some scientific uncertainty while ignoring a vast body of climate science which is well-settled.
3. Manufacturing non peer-reviewed climate change science claims.
4. The creating think tanks, front groups, and Astroturf groups which widely have disseminated untruthful claims about mainstream climate science and which were created to hide the real parties in interest, members of the fossil fuel industry.
5. Publishing and widely disseminating dubious manufactured climate change scientific claims that have not been subjected to peer-review.
6. Widely attacking mainstream climate scientist and journalists who have called for action on climate change.
7 Cyber-bullying mainstream climate scientists and journalists.

A few of these tactics are always ethically troublesome including creating conservative think tanks, front groups, Astroturf groups, and PR campaigns whose very creation was motivated to fool people about who the real parties in interest are behind claims that  attack mainstream climate science.  These organizations have also manufactured bogus climate science claims, cyber-bullied climate scientists and journalists, and widely published claims about climate change science that have not been subject to peer-review.

Corporations who fund these ethically troubling tactics are particularly ethically loathsome because they are using their economic power to deceive the public and intimidate mainstream scientists and journalists in the pursuit of economic self-interest.

Certain facts about climate change make these ethically obnoxious tactics even more reprehensible. They include the fact that climate change is a problem that the longer governments wait to take action to prevent damage, the worse the problem becomes and the more difficult and more expensive it becomes to solve it. The climate change disinformation campaign has been responsible for at least 30 years of inaction and, as a result, enormous and expensive greenhouse gas reductions are now required of the entire world to prevent potentially devastating and catastrophic climate change impacts. These impacts will likely be most harshly experienced by poor countries around the world which have done very little to cause theca climate problem. In addition, those most vulnerable to the harshest climate impacts have never consented to nor been consulted about waiting until all climate science uncertainties are resolved before action is taken.

For these reasons, just as screaming fire in a crowded theater when no fire exists is not construed to be a justifiable exercise of free speech, climate change science disinformation cannot be justified on free speech grounds and must be understood as the morally indefensible behavior of many fossil fuel companies, some corporations and industry organizations, and free market fundamentalist foundations that have funded the climate change disinformation campaign. Just as It is morally reprehensible to call fire in a crowed theater when there is no evidence of a fire because such reckless behavior will likely cause harm to people panicking to run to safety, telling those responsible for GHG emissions that there is no evidence that human activities are causing and threatening climate induced harms will likely cause great damage because inaction guarantees that atmospheric concentrations of GHG will continue to rise and remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years and likely cause great  harm and perhaps make it  impossible to prevent catastrophic damages to human health and ecological systems on which life depends. In fact not only is the the deceit propagated by the fossil fuel companies and others funding the disinformation campaign unjustifiable on free speech grounds it is so harmful that it may create legal liability for those entities who have funded the disinformation campaign.

Climate change disinformation is responsible for almost a 40 year delay in reducing GHG emissions to safe levels and harsh climate change impacts are already visible in many parts of the world caused by rising seas, much more intense storms, droughts, and floods. And so some of the great harm caused by the climate change denial countermovement is already being experienced even though the most catastrophic climate change harms will be experienced in future decades.


Donald A. Brown

Scholar In Residence and Professor

Widener University Commonwealth Law School