Despite previous setbacks, northern Ohio cities are stepping up their efforts to address issues of climate change and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
Cleveland has set a new, ambitious goal to become carbon neutral by 2050. This goal builds upon a previous target, which planned to reduce 80 percent of emissions by 2050. According to Inside Climate News, if the city wants to meet its goals, it needs to reduce the production of greenhouse gas emissions from buildings by about 50 percent in the next ten years.
What does it mean to be carbon neutral?
To be carbon neutral an individual, group, organization, or country must take steps to balance their greenhouse gas emissions with efforts to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Actions that counteract emissions include switching to renewable energy, improving energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, and much more.
A neighboring city, Cleveland Heights, began its own transition to energy sustainability. In all their city-run buildings, the government has switched to solar electricity. The installation of solar panels not only reduces the city’s carbon emissions but also promotes clean and renewable energy sources. Cleveland Heights is proving its commitment to a more sustainable future.
Although both cities are doing their part to reduce their carbon emissions, they still face challenges. The largest issues faced by these cities are fossil fuel dependency and energy efficiency.
Cleveland Heights depends on many fossil fuel or diesel-powered vehicles, which impacts their efforts to achieve carbon neutrality. Cleveland Heights sustainability and resiliency coordinator Andy Boateng stated of fossil fuel-powered vehicles, “We want to significantly reduce the vehicle miles traveled within our city.”
To address this issue, the city has implemented more bike-friendly roads and has encouraged its residents to switch to electric or hybrid vehicles. These cities also face energy efficiency issues, as many of their buildings are older. Older buildings tend to lack modern, more energy-saving features that reduce energy waste.
While there are many more issues that should be addressed by the Ohio cities, it is important to note that they are not alone. Across the United States, and in other countries, metropolitan areas all face similar challenges as they work to reduce their carbon footprints. This collective struggle for a greener and more sustainable future showcases that everyone must do their part in the fight against climate change.
How can you help?
Extra steps you can take:
Writing for Kids Fight Climate Change: If you are interested in making climate change news more accessible, you should consider joining us! Check out this link: Join the Team | Kids Fight Climate Change: Youth Climate Education
Volunteering at advocacy groups. VolunteerMatch is a great resource to find volunteer opportunities, virtual and in-person. Check out this link: VolunteerMatch
If neither of those options applies to you, there are still ways to raise awareness! Simply by sharing articles such as this one, you are doing your part to spread important climate information. That is activism.