Air quality can impact climate change and vice versa. This is because emissions of pollutants and fossil fuels into the air can lead to changes to the climate, and these climate changes can affect local air quality. In conjunction with poor air quality, the environmental impacts of climate change include rising temperatures, an increase in the occurrence of natural disasters, and loss of biodiversity.
Ultimately, climate change reduces air quality on Earth, creating health implications when continuously breathed in. These implications can be attributed to higher temperatures, which lead to an increase in allergens and harmful air pollutants, making it critical for communities to monitor air pollution and to take steps to reduce global warming and climate change.
Now that people are beginning to recognize the very real effects of climate change, sustainability has become an important aspect of city planning, with many cities fighting against it. Whether it’s through policy change aimed at reducing fossil fuel dependence, the growing adoption of solar energy, or building sustainable homes and skyscrapers, many cities here in the United States are taking significant steps towards sustainability.
Keep reading below to learn how cities in the U.S are making big strides against global warming and working to improve local air quality.
In 2019, the state of New York legislated the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), making the state a national leader in its efforts to increase renewable energy and to help combat climate change. The law requires a 40 percent reduction in statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and a reduction of at least 85 percent by 2050, as well as achieving net-zero emissions by that date. The CLCPA also mandates that the state acquires 70 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and that the electric sector is emissions-free by 2040. No other state in the United States has a more aggressive emissions reduction target.
Within the state, New York City in particular has been at the forefront of significant environmental initiatives aimed at reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions. The city has taken the following steps thus far:
- Passed laws enforcing energy efficiency.
- Implemented the NYC Carbon Challenge, a voluntary leadership program striving to reduce overall carbon emissions.
- Promotes a Zero-waste Program, an Energy Performance Map, a Greenhouse Gas Data Set, and a GreeNYC program that works to educate and mobilize citizens toward sustainability.
In 2017, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEE) throned Boston as the most energy-efficient city in the U.S. Its Climate of Progress is an ambitious plan to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. The city has also committed to being entirely carbon neutral by 2050 and has launched a series of green renovations and eco-friendly construction projects to achieve this goal. This includes the Boston Public Library, which was renovated to optimize it for energy-efficiency. Neighborhoods in Boston are transitioning to be more sustainable as well, more and more homes are being built with improved insulation, solar panels, and windows designed to allow more natural light in.
Hawaii’s capital city takes great steps to protect its precious natural landscape from climate change. Honolulu promotes and provides an infrastructure for sustainable transportation options such as biking, public transportation, or walking. Not only are bike lanes continuously being added and bike-sharing programs becoming more and more popular, but the city is also improving its train and bus systems.
This beautiful city also focuses on reducing its dependence on food imports and encourages the consumption of locally grown food. The city is home to countless farmer’s markets as well as to groups like Urban Farm Hawaii, which work to reduce Honolulu’s carbon footprint by transforming public, urban spaces into gardens.
Seattle is often known for being a sustainable city, but it is also the fastest-growing in the U.S. and one that prioritizes our natural environment. Seattle has many gardening, compost, and greening programs that help neighborhoods promote environmental sustainability, as well as plenty of bike programs, environmental learning programs, sustainable landscaping initiatives, camps, and water conservation measures. The city hopes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 58 percent by 2030 and become completely carbon neutral by 2050.
While there are universal approaches to increase sustainability through renewable energy, recycling, and reducing emissions, what we learn from these cities is to look at what you can do locally, because it may have ripple effects across not just the United States, but across the world. Even the smallest efforts at the beginning can result in large strides down the road.
Sustainability and a brighter future begin with each of us. Contact Spring Power and Gas today and find out how you can offset your carbon footprint and contribute to a cleaner environment.