CNT’s Work as Important as Ever as Capitol Hill Climate Momentum Stalls
News that the Senate leadership in Congress has decided to indefinitely postpone passing comprehensive climate and energy legislation this year is tremendously disappointing. Though climate change regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, states and regions are still moving forward, many viewed this summer as the best opportunity for Congress to pass legislation that would create a national framework to transform our energy system and cut global warming emissions.
Today’s news from Capitol Hill underscores why CNT’s work is more important than ever. Since the day CNT opened its doors more than 30 years ago, our philosophy is that change comes at the neighborhood level. And although it is crucial for the United States to implement a federal-level strategy to improve our energy system and reduce our global warming pollution, many of the actions required to meet any national climate goal will occur at the local level. That means every community can and should continue to move forward and do its part.
That’s why we at CNT focus on giving communities the tools and information they need to take action that improves and strengthens their communities and reduces their impact on the environment. For example:
- CNT directs cities on how best to monitor its emissions and create strategies to reduce them. CNT’s mitigation research for the Chicago Climate Action Plan serves as a guide for other communities to measure and strategically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. CNT Board Member Julia Parzen’s “Lessons Learned: Creating the Chicago Climate Action Plan” can help cities design their own climate action plan process that engages the whole community and creates real climate action.
- CNT brings energy efficiency retrofits for our building stock to scale. CNT’s multi-family building energy retrofits have created real dollar savings for building owners while reducing energy demand and cutting air pollution and global warming emissions.
- CNT created and continues to disseminate the Housing + Transportation Affordability Index (H+TSM Index), a tool for policy makers and homeowners to assess the transportation costs of a particular community. The H+T Index provides a complete picture of housing affordability and encourages people to re-think where they live based on transportation costs. Urging homeowners and policy makers to broaden their definition of affordability promotes dense community development and helps reduce driving, cut auto pollution, and save people money.
- CNT launched I-GO Car Sharing, which provides a sustainable, convenient, cost-effective alternative to car ownership. I-GO’s 15,000 members cumulatively save an estimated $25 million each year on avoided costs to own, insure and repair a vehicle.
- CNT promotes wide-scale use of green infrastructure, which can reduce the energy and conventional man-made infrastructure needed to manage and treat stormwater, while helping communities adapt to the changing rainfall patterns caused by global warming. Green infrastructure can also reduce the urban heat island effect and the need for dirty electricity to cool buildings in summer.
Through all of these projects and more, CNT will continue to work to help communities sustainably address global climate change while creating cost savings for residents and businesses.