President Trump’s recent announcement that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change was a disappointing step backward for the nation on one of the greatest global challenges of our era. The impacts of climate change are already happening today—we are seeing flooding communities, droughts, and an increasing frequency of so-called “100 year storms.” Turning a blind eye in the hopes of resurrecting an antiquated, outdated carbon-based economy is not going to make the problem go away or create the economic future that American families need.
Fortunately, this federal action is not the whole story—states, cities, and counties all over the country are already taking steps to address climate change and that is going to continue; businesses are seeing the value of low-carbon investment and sustainable processes in the marketplace; and residents are making changes that reduce their carbon footprints.
Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. in recent years have been in part due to national policies, such as improved gas mileage of cars and reduced pollution from power plants, and we must continue to support those policies. But greenhouse gas emissions do not have just one source, nor do they have just one solution. The retrofit of buildings to reduce energy use, lower bills and increase comfort is a climate strategy; transit oriented development that allows residents to take public transit to work rather than drive is a climate strategy; and making it safe for children to bike or walk to school improves health, reduces congestion, and is a climate strategy.
Those saying that we have to choose between jobs and climate action are just wrong. CNT’s research and projects in cities all over the country have found that smart investments in energy efficiency, transportation alternatives, and green infrastructure create jobs, reduce economic inequality, and contribute to economic growth.
CNT works to help communities design and implement innovative sustainable solutions that generate benefits for everyone. Our research and projects help make possible the low-carbon, resilient communities that will reduce global warming while addressing the changes in climate that are already happening.
- CNT’s RainReady program helps communities, households, and businesses prevent flooding and plan for a changing climate.
- CNT’s work to advance the development of innovative, sustainable district-scale infrastructure for cities with our EcoDistrict project is creating solutions that can improve resilience, reduce emissions, and lower costs.
- Our Urban Opportunity Agenda provides a roadmap for sustainable climate-smart investments that can address inequality and lower poverty in communities by cutting household expenses and creating quality jobs.
- CNT’s AllTransit database shows how investing in transit can greatly improve access to jobs, benefitting both workers and employers.
Recent federal actions make such local solutions all the more important.