On Thursday, Austin was awarded the 2013 Climate Leadership Award, establishing its place as the leading city in the nation in the fight against climate change.
The first ever award was presented by the Environmental Protection Agency, along with nonprofit partners the Climate Registry, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and the Association of Climate Change Officers. The award is meant to recognize and encourage leading cities in addressing climate change and reducing carbon pollution.
“The City of Austin has set a powerful example by establishing and implementing an aggressive Climate Protection Plan,” Austin’s Chief Sustainability Officer Lucia Athens said. The plan, created in 2007, outlines an aggressive goal to have all city-owned facilities, vehicles and operations totally carbon-neutral by the year 2020.
“We strive to be a national leader in the fight against climate change, as we support innovation, collaborative partnerships, and transparency,” Athens continued.
The Austin Climate Protection Program has worked with 23 city departments and five major city facilities to plan every department’s approach to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the areas of energy, water, transportation, waste, purchasing and education. Several long-term plans have been implemented in an effort to reach the 2020 goal, such as the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan and the Zero Waste Plan.
“I commend the City of Austin for leading by example with their outstanding actions to help reduce carbon pollution,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. "The City of Austin and all our Climate Leadership Award winners are tackling the challenge of climate change with practical, common sense and cost-effective solutions to improve efficiency and cut waste.”
Here are a few ways you can follow Austin’s example and reduce your own GHG emissions:
- Sign up for GreenChoice to receive 100% renewable energy.
- Report verified GHG emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project.
- Sign up to be an Austin Green Business Leader.
- Learn more about the Austin Climate Protection Program and other plans the city of Austin have implemented to reduce our carbon footprint.