Center for Neighborhood Technology has been conducting research and developing and testing innovative programs to use urban resources more efficiently for almost 30 years. These efforts inevitably relate to the growing concerns about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing global warming.
CNT’s research has shown that cities can be the most efficient places to live, with their lower per capita greenhouse gas emissions due to efficient land use and transportation alternatives. Because urban areas are compact and have extensive mass transit and communication networks, they offer the greatest opportunities to help solve the climate crisis by expanding and enhancing their existing strategies for reducing carbon emissions.
Learn more about our research and steps you can take to help improve the environment by checking out our current projects at right.
Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 at 3:08 pm
CNT Climate Change Program Director, Jen McGraw, spent three days last week looking at the human dimensions of resilient and sustainable cities at the Garrison Institute’s Climate, Cities and Behavior Symposium.
The invite-only conference, held at a former monastery on the Hudson River in New York, dug into the concept of resilience as it relates to cities in an era of changing climate and superstorms. Through panels, case studies, and workshops, the group looked at ways that local governments and civic organizations can strengthen neighborhood assets and connectivity.
Eric Klinenberg described how during both the Chicago Heat Wave of 1995 and Hurricane Sandy, neighborhood institutions, even informal ones, were a critical factor in the varying responses neighborhood-to-neighborhood.
Mindy Fullilove and the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance’s Eddie Bautista discussed the importance of considering the full historical context in neighborhoods of inequality, poverty, and the legacy of urban redevelopment when partnering to address climate change.
Chicago’s own Jennifer Hirsch highlighted the Chicago Community Climate Action Toolkit, which engages neighbors in developing climate solutions that meet the goals of the Chicago Climate Action plan along with the specific needs of their communities.
The group grappled with the role of local government in catalyzing behavior change, as well as how to support and enable individual climate actions while also providing systematic infrastructure improvements to enable more sustainable cities. The discussion underlined the importance of CNT’s work in creating and implementing place-based solutions on critical climate mitigation and adaptation issues in cities, including energy upgrades, sustainable stormwater management, and access to transportation alternatives.
Thursday, January 24th, 2013 at 2:04 pm
At CNT, we advocate for transit because it is an important strategy for reducing carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing our planet today, so it was good to hear President Obama reaffirm his commitment to take action on the issue in his recent inaugural address. The Presidential Climate Action Project, which CNT participated in creating, sets out specific, practical steps that the President and Congress can take to reduce America’s carbon emissions and set the country on the path towards a renewable energy future. The President is certainly familiar with the report (I personally put a copy of the freshly printed 2008 version of it in then candidate Obama’s hand) and has indicated his support in the past for many of the steps that it outlines.
Although climate change has become a sensitive issue politically, there are important steps that the President can take to advance the agenda without legislation. CNT encourages him to follow the recommendations contained in the PCAP and communicate directly with the American people about the importance of taking action on climate change and of the economic opportunities presented by making the transition towards a green, advanced energy economy.
The President should also engage with Congress to push for the passing of legislation capping carbon emissions or pricing carbon. These market based mechanisms, by promoting efficiency and encouraging the private sector to invest and innovate in new, green sources of energy, must be part of any comprehensive solution to the problem.
The decision surrounding the construction of the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline presents the President with an opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to tackling climate change. CNT urges him to kill the pipeline which does nothing but increase America’s dependency on polluting fossil fuels. Recent severe droughts and extreme weather conditions has reminded everyone of the urgency of the threat that we face. CNT encourages the President to follow through on the promises he has made as soon as possible.
Read the 2012 PCAP Action Plan here>>
Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 at 2:24 pm
Hurricane Sandy’s massive impact on the east coast is a reminder that global warming is a defining issue of our generation and we need effective action. Addressing climate change and creating sustainable energy security are the biggest opportunities for new jobs and industries, a dynamic economy, lasting peace and a better quality of life for our children. Yet, the 2012 Presidential campaign has largely ignored these pressing issues. The 2012 Presidential Climate Action Plan lays out a set of strategies for the next president to use executive authority to help the country address global climate change even in the face of legislative inaction.
Between 2007 and 2011, CNT was part of the Presidential Climate Action Project (PCAP) that engaged hundreds of thought leaders to produce scores of recommendations on how the President of the United States could improve the nation’s climate and energy security. This new iteration of the project provides a roadmap of some of the executive branch actions that can be taken over the next four years. CNT’s ongoing work to enable sustainable communities directly aligns with PCAP’s agenda, including promoting energy efficiency, expanding mobility options, and empowering state and local leadership on climate action. Read this year’s action plan here ››