This Penn energy wonk says global climate goals 'can be disruptive' for local governments - Generocity Philly

Method

Aug. 15, 2016 8:02 am

This Penn energy wonk says global climate goals ‘can be disruptive’ for local governments

Dr. Mark Alan Hughes, faculty director of University of Pennsylvania’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, says cities and states need to think about themselves now rather than the entire planet in 2050.

Climate protests in Philadelphia.

(Photo by Flickr user Mark Dixon, used under a Creative Commons license)

It’s easy to adopt a lofty, distant goal. The consequences of not taking action now, however, can be costly.

Especially when we’re talking about climate change.

That’s the problem with the global climate goals like those established in the Paris Agreement last year, or the United Nations’ mission to reduce emissions by 80 percent globally by 2050. Those goals rely on subnational governments like cities and states.

“The biggest challenge is that over half of the programs and policies and investments and changes that are required to meet the national pledges from Paris require actions by subnational governments,” said Dr. Mark Alan Hughes, faculty director of University of Pennsylvania’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy.

Hughes recently spoke about the issue on panel at the Council of State Governments (CSG) Eastern Regional Conference in Canada’s Québec City.

“The world is literally counting on these local governments to solve this problem,” he said. “Unless they start asking what they should be doing and what it means for them, they will not be able to mobilize the political and financial support needed to make those steps [forward].”

The more sustainable approach to addressing climate change is developing appropriate targets for local conditions. The real conversation in Philadelphia, Hughes said, is whether or not the city should get behind fracking.

People are much more wired to care about tomorrow than 2050.

“It costs nobody anything to adopt a goal. It is, in effect, too easy,” said Hughes. “And it can be even worse. It can be disruptive. It’s the wrong organizing device and we’ll end up doing less than we might have done [otherwise].”

That’s why cities should be focusing on things that capture returns on investments, and last week, Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability took those steps by refining the city’s Greenworks‘ plan. The new plan reduces climate goals from 15 to eight and cuts benchmarks from revisions made every eight years to every year.

From our Partners

Earlier this year, the Office of Sustainability released a report detailing how every city department can start preparing for a warmer, wetter Philadelphia.

Cities are on the “front lines” of climate impacts, said Hughes. That’s why they need to set distant global goals on the back burner and start chipping away at local climate issues that require immediate urgency.

-30-
LEAVE A COMMENT

From our Partners

Sustainability and public art: A closer connection than you’d think

Philly’s first ‘green bank’ will connect clean energy projects to capital

Culture Builder: Local governments should attract people, not companies

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

Meet Kim Andrews, new executive director for The Fund for Women and Girls

Philadelphia, PA

Bread and Roses Community Fund

Program Coordinator

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA

Leeway Foundation

Communications Assistant

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA or Remote

Juvenile Law Center

CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER

Apply Now

The federal foreclosure moratorium has ended. Here’s what to do to save your home

New report details benefits of increasing WIC enrollment, but longtime providers fear PA is trying to dismantle the program

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

Be the leader to bring a 26-year mission into the future in Chester County

Philadelphia, PA

University of Pennsylvania

Marketing Writer – Wharton External Affairs (Hybrid Eligible)

Apply Now
3645 Lancaster Ave Philadelphia PA

Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture

Education Manager

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA

Maternity Care Coalition

Director of Marketing, Communications & PR

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Generocity