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Web 2.0 Tools for Local Governments' Community Engagement Efforts

by Carter Rubin May 16, 2010

Arlington County Facebook page screengrab

Arlington County, VA, uses Facebook to engage community members around the
Arlington Initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE).


As local governments confront the challenges of climate change and develop their own sustainability plans, effective community engagement is a must. Tried-and-true methods include public workshops (like the ones City of Boston held recently to collect feedback on its climate action plan), but what about online engagement? The reality is that you don't need to physically gather people in a room to solicit their feedback on your climate action plan, or to educate them about your energy efficiency efforts.

In a recent article on Next American City, Christian Madera discusses a variety of free social media tools that can help local government staff foster crucial dialogue and engagement on an ongoing basis, or help spread the word about in-person events. We've distilled the ones most useful for engagement and feedback around climate action or sustainability planning.

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Analyzing Strategies to Reduce Transportation Emissions

by Justus Stewart, Regional Associate May 15, 2010

DOT transportation and greenhouse gas emissions reportReducing emissions from the transportation sector is one of the most important solutions for achieving climate stability, and one of the most challenging. A strong economy has traditionally meant huge increases in travel, with over 90 percent of the fuel coming from fossil sources. Between 1990 and 2006, emissions from transportation increased 27 percent, accoAction Resources Iconunting for almost half the total emissions growth for that period.

One of the primary challenges is that direct interventions such as increased fuel efficiency interact in complex ways with indirectly related sectors such as land use and housing. A recently released report from U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Center for Climate Change & Environmental Forecasting provides one of the first national-level analyses of our transportation system that takes this complexity into account.

"Transportation’s Role in Reducing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions," which was released on Earth Day 2010, analyzes six strategies for reducing emissions from the transportation sector. The report also outlines five policy frameworks for implementing those strategies, and calculates the cost/benefit of implementation.

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First Impressions on the Senate Climate Bill

by Art von Lehe, Policy Officer May 12, 2010

Warning sign with question mark

Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) released their American Power Act yesterday.  After months garnering support from both sides of the aisle, Kerry and Lieberman have moved forward after their co-sponsoring colleague Republican Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) took his name off the bill citing a suite of political complexities.

ICLEI is currently hard at work combing through the nearly 1,000 pages of legislation – and will provide a summary for our members to help understand what the bill means for local sustainable practice. An outline of the major provisions of the bill:

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3 New Federal Transportation Funding Opportunities for Sustainable Communities

by Art von Lehe, Policy Officer May 10, 2010

Bus with motion blur

Local governments can now access three new funding opportunities and two new workshops related to the HUD-DOT-EPA Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities. Read on for details about the following:

  • DOT TIGER II Grants: $600 million
  • Transportation Planning Grants: $35 million
  • HUD Community Challenge Grants: $40 million
  • Workshop/webinar: Lessons on how to Compete for a DOT Discretionary Grant
  • Benefit/Cost Analysis for Transportation Infrastructure: A Practitioner's Workshop
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Climate Showcase Communities Among $405 Million in New Funding

by Don Knapp May 10, 2010

EPA State and Local Climate ProgramToday the EPA State and Local Climate and Energy Program announced the availability of more than $405 million in current or upcoming funding opportunities for state, local, and tribal governments, from a range of federal agencies. Click the "Read More" link below for details and links on the following funding opportunities:

  • Advance Notice of Climate Showcase Communities Funding - $10 million
  • DOE State Energy Program 2010 Allocation Grants - $25 million
  • DOE State Energy Program Funding Competitive Grants- $28 million
  • EPA Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Pilot Program - $3.5 million
  • Opportunity to Register for HUD Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program - $98 million
  • EPA Tribal Environmental Education, Outreach and Support Program - $1 million
  • DOE Weatherization Assistance Program - $210 million
  • EDA Global Climate Change Mitigation Incentive Fund - $14.7 million
  • USDA Food Service Equipment Grants - $25 million
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Reviewers Selected for Climate Adaptation Planning Workbook

by Missy Stults, Adaptation Manager May 09, 2010

Sign for EvauationICLEI would like to extend a special thank you to the following cities, who have been selected as reviewers of ICLEI’s draft Adaptation Planning Workbooks:

  • Las Vegas, NV
  •  Denver, CO
  • Sequim, WA
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Key West, FL
  • Santa Cruz, CA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Colma, CA
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Looking Ahead to Resilient Cities Congress 2010

by Missy Stults, Adaptation Manager May 09, 2010

Resilient Cities 2010 logo

From May 28-30, ICLEI will host the first Resilient Cities Congress in Bonn, Germany. This event will be the first annual global forum on urban resilience and adaptation to climate change.

ICLEI USA will be well represented at the Conference, with presentations from Miami-Dade County, FL; New York, NY; and Groton, CT, as well as a multitude of presentations by academic researchers and adaptation practitioners.

ICLEI USA is exploring opportunities to share information and lessons learned from the Conference with our members who aren’t able to attend. More information about these opportunities will be circulated in the coming weeks. 

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Breaking: Senate Climate Bill to Be Released

by Art von Lehe, Policy Officer May 09, 2010

Front View of Washington, D.C. Capital Building

Senators John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman -- despite many delays, political storms, and the loss of their co-Sponsor and key figure Lindsey Graham -- plan to release the much-anticipated climate and energy bill this Wednesday, May 12.

If passed, this bill would certainly have implications for local governments, which are yet to be seen.  Many have been waiting patiently to see the yet released text, with only hints to go off of from the previous “framework” released in December of last year.

As of right now (Tuesday evening), some information about the bill has become available:

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$30 Million Now Available for Weatherization Assistance

by Kristine Babick, Executive Assistant May 05, 2010

Row home windows; photo credit: Thru_the_night via Flickr

Photo credit: Thru_the_night via Flickr Creative Commons

The Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has created the Weatherization Innovation Pilot Program to promote innovative weatherization techniques for low-income families. Local governments are encouraged to apply for one of the 15 awards of up to $3 million each by proposing a program that not only weatherizes low-income homes, but does so while improving the effectiveness of weatherization methods. 

Applications are due June 2, 2010; be sure to allow 21 days to complete registration. Read the full funding announcement, or visit and search Funding Opportunity NumberDE-FOA-00000309.

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Central Florida's Kilowatt Crackdown Halfway to Goal

by Cyrus Bhedwar, Southeast Regional Manager May 03, 2010

Florida CFEEA Kilowatt Crackdown logo

A thousand down, a thousand to go.

Buildings, that is. Well, 1210 since March 1, 2011. That's how many buildings have been committed to participate in the Kilowatt Crackdown -- the flagship program of Orange County, FL's Central Florida Energy Efficiency Alliance (CFEEA). Similar to the Chicago Green Office Challenge, the Kilowatt Crackdown is a friendly competition among building owners to reduce their energy use 30 percent by June 30, 2012. CFEEA has set an ambitious goal of engaging 2,010 buildings to participate in the challenge by June 30, 2010.  View their progress now.

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