Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy’s leadership on important regional and global issues is being called upon quite a bit these days. Over this weekend, Mayor Piercy was invited to Victoria, B.C., to participate on a panel and share ideas for addressing homelessness.
Later this week, Mayor Piercy travels to China to participate in the second U.S.-China Climate-Smart/Low-Carbon Cities Summit in Beijing on June 7 and 8.
The leaders of 20 U.S. cities and 40 Chinese cities will meet to demonstrate a commitment to climate action following the Paris Agreement and share experiences in building low-carbon, climate-resilient communities with U.S. and Chinese state and local government, private sector, and civil society leaders. All attending leaders are already engaged in strong city-to-city collaboration through initiatives such as the Compact of Mayors and the Alliance of Peaking Pioneer Cities (APPC).
“For several years, Eugene has been one of the cities out in front in working toward a low-carbon future. The adoption of the Climate Recovery Ordinance in July 2014 made Eugene one of the first cities in the country to place the City’s fossil fuel and greenhouse gas reduction targets into City code. However, our work had already been well underway for several years. We conducted our first greenhouse gas inventory in 2009 and subsequently developed the 2010 Community Climate and Energy Action Plan,” said Mayor Piercy.
“The United States and China are the two largest contributors to carbon emissions globally, so it is especially important that we are also coming together to be contributors to the solution,” she added. “Our work as cities will help enable both countries to meet the ambitious climate targets announced by President Obama and President Xi in November 2015 and to meet the Paris Agreement climate goals.”
The summit is a public/private partnership between the U.S. State Department, the Chinese Government, and the C40 Cities Program in association with Bloomberg Philanthropies. The non-profit C40 Cities is funding all travel expenses for Mayor Piercy and accompanying staff. The summit will feature more than a dozen sessions led by leading NGOs, research institutes, and government agencies, a low-carbon exhibition, as well as major announcements in areas like transportation, access to financing, and city-level partnerships.
Other U.S. cities participating include: Boston, MA; Dubuque, IA; Seattle, WA; St. Paul, MN; Phoenix, AZ; Knoxville, TN; Portland, OR; and New York, NY.
“Cities are in the best position to be climate leaders and to effect real change,” said Mayor Piercy. “Cities are home to 70% of the world’s energy-related carbon emissions. Also, city leaders are directly connected and responsible to their communities—and they are motivated to promote the sustainability, health and livability of their cities.”
Eugene already employs a number of strategies to reduce carbon emissions, even as the City seeks more ways to reach the established goals. Eugene is leading the way in adopting lower-carbon paving techniques by using warm-mix asphalt and cement substitutes that substantially reduce the energy intensity of road construction. Also, this year the City installed more than 5,000 new LED street lights, decreasing energy use by 69% compared with the old lamps and saving the city $10,000 per month on utility bills.
One area in which Eugene has been a true global leader is in the field of sustainable events, working with partner organizations including Track Town USA. Awarded the International Olympic Committee’s Sport and Environment Award in 2008, Eugene has led the nation in responsible events, by creating win-win solutions for the environment, advancing social equity, and strengthening our local economy. Most recently, City staff developed an event carbon foot print calculator that has been used by events in LA, Chicago, Houston, and Richmond, VA.
More about the Summit The Summit will be a major event demonstrating the ongoing strength of the U.S.-China bilateral relationship on climate change, as well as our shared commitment to climate action following the successful Paris Agreement.
Last year, Mayor Garcetti and the City of Los Angeles hosted the inaugural Summit in the lead up to COP21. Highlights included keynote addresses by Vice President Biden and China’s State Councilor Yang Jiechi; the signing by 24 state and local leaders of a first-of-its-kind “U.S.-China Climate Leaders Declaration”; attendance by over 500 people at six “breakout sessions” on low carbon city planning and implementation; and the launch of the “Alliance of Peaking Pioneer Cities” – Chinese cities committing to peak CO2 emissions earlier than China’s national goal of 2030. A White House Fact Sheet summarizing last year’s summit is available here.
About the Compact of MayorsThe Compact of Mayors is a global coalition of mayors and city officials pledging to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, enhance resilience to climate change, and track their progress transparently. Over 505 local governments from all continents and regions across the globe have made public commitments to the Compact, representing over 428 million people or 5.92% of the total global population.