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Federal Report: Rising Seas and Climate Change Threaten Coasts, as Local Governments Shoulder Much of the Preparedness Burden

by Nick Sundt, World Wildlife Fund Oct 23, 2012

Above: Hurricane Isabel Storm Surge at Langley Air Force Base, Hampton, Virginia, 18 September 2003. Langley AFB has a mean elevation of 3 feet, with “high” points at 10-11 feet. A 4 foot increase in sea level would inundate 40-50% of the base. Photo source: U.S. Air Force, Tech. Sgt. Ben Bloker.

A new report on climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability in coastal areas of the U.S. warns that coping with sea level rise and coastal disruption "will be a challenge for coastal economies that contributed $8.3 trillion to the GDP in 2011." It says that local governments will have to shoulder much of the burden of "making the critical, basic land-use and public investment decisions and ...working with community stakeholder groups to implement adaptive measures on the ground."

The report, Coastal Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability: A Technical Input to the 2012 National Climate Assessment, says that "[i]mpacts on coastal systems are among the most costly and most certain consequences of a warming climate." It continues:

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New Milestone: 1,000 Businesses Use ICLEI's Green Business Challenge Web App

by Don Knapp Oct 17, 2012

More good news on ICLEI’s Green Business Challenge program: One thousand businesses across the country have now used our Green Business Challenge Web App to accelerate their environmental performance, saving incredible amounts of energy, money, water, and waste.

Local Governments Help Businesses Win

The Challenge is the nation’s most exciting and innovative green business program. This fun and friendly competition between local businesses rewards those who make the biggest gains in environmental performance over the course of a year. The Challenge is one of the most successful and cost-effective ways that any local government can help its local businesses go green—and make progress toward community-wide climate and energy goals.

ICLEI’s Web App is the centerpiece of any successful Challenge program—from Chicago and Houston to Bellevue and San Diego—and 1,000 users shows that this is a proven tool.

Ready to Learn More?

Explore our Green Business Challenge web pages for details about the Web App, keys to success for running a Challenge program, and success stories from local governments across the country. Then contact ICLEI to learn about Web App pricing and get a live tour of the App.

Learn More >>

 

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Cambridge Launches Interactive Map to Show Solar Power Potential

by Scott R Campbell Oct 14, 2012

From MIT News:

MIT researchers have developed a new interactive map to show Cambridge property owners how much electricity can be produced on their rooftops from solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, how the financial investment will pay off and how much pollution will be reduced.

View the Solar Map >>

The new tool shows that if photovoltaic panels were installed on all good and excellent locations, Cambridge could generate about a third of its electricity needs via PV for about $2.8 billion. The technology has been found to predict electricity yield to within 4-10 percent of actual measured results.

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The Tides They Are A-Changin’

by Alden Meyer, Director of Strategy and Policy, Union of Concerned Scientists Oct 14, 2012

Guest Blogger: Alden Meyer, Union of Concerned Scientists:

Even as all too many politicians continue to question the very existence of human-induced climate change, cities and counties in Florida and other coastal states are already struggling with the reality of sea level rise and are looking at billions of dollars in expenditures to deal with its impacts.

Today, more than 120 Floridians with expertise on sea level rise — scientists, engineers, city and county officials, and others — sent a letter to President Obama and Governor Romney, asking them to address sea level rise when they’re in Florida on October 22 for the final presidential debate in Boca Raton and to say what they would do to help Florida and other states deal with this very real threat.

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Communities Built to Last: Charting the Road to Resilience

by Don Knapp Oct 14, 2012

Communities Built to Last: Charting the Road to Resilience from U.S. Green Building Council on Vimeo.

Did you miss the National Leadership Speaker Series on Resiliency & Security in the 21st Century, hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council and ICLEI on Oct. 1 at the National Press Club? We featured three leading local elected officials who are taking steps to ensure the resilience of their communities in the face of climate and energy challenges.

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Steps to a Successful Solar RFP

by The Solar Foundation Oct 14, 2012

With autumn upon us, we at The Solar Foundation are ready to share the fruits of our labor. That’s right: TSF has come out with a brand new informational product for you to read and share with your local government reps!

Today's release of Steps to a Successful Solar RFP builds upon our commitment to help local governments “go solar.” Our new issue brief, produced as part of our work with the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership, helps reduce the hurdles to going solar by providing local governments with the requisite knowledge to develop successful Requests for Proposals (RFPs). In this brief, readers will learn the essential elements of a solar RFP, receive guidance in evaluating proposals, and be directed to a bevy of resources, tools, and sample documents to optimize their solar procurement efforts.

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STAR Communities: First National Rating System Released for Sustainable Communities

by Don Knapp Oct 07, 2012

Last week was huge for the sustainable cities movement. ICLEI released its national greenhouse gas standard, the Community Protocol, and STAR Communities released the STAR Community Rating System. Here's the press release from STAR Communities, which ICLEI supports as a founding partner:

STAR Communities announced the release of the STAR Community Rating System Version 1.0 (STAR) at the Urban Sustainability Directors Network annual meeting held at Portland State University on Monday. STAR is the nation’s first voluntary framework for evaluating and quantifying the sustainability of U.S. communities.

The STAR Community Rating System uniquely combines:

  • A framework for sustainability that covers the social, economic and environmental dimensions of community;
  • A rating system that drives continuous improvement and fosters competition; and
  • An online system that gathers, organizes, analyzes, and presents information required to meet sustainability goals.
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Grand Rapids Mayor Heartwell Outlines Needs for Local Leadership on Climate and Energy

by Don Knapp Sep 30, 2012

Mayor George Heartwell of Grand Rapids, MI, is a nationally recognized leader on sustainability and climate action. Today at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Mayor Heartwell spoke before an audience of federal decision makers and sustainability leaders about his City's actions and leadership in the face of climate and energy challenges.

The National Leadership Speaker Series on Resiliency and Security in the 21st Century, organized by ICLEI and the U.S. Green Building Council, brought three nationally known leaders on sustainability and resilience: Mayor Heartwell, Mayor Ralph Becker of Salt Lake City, UT, and Vice Mayor Kristin Jacobs of Broward County, FL.

Mayor Heartwell spoke in great detail about the climate and energy challenges faced by all local governments, and outlined the key steps being taken in Grand Rapids to become more prepared for climate impacts and more energy independent and efficient. Below are his key points and messages.

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Broward County Vice Mayor Jacobs Speaks to Climate Challenges Facing South Florida

by Don Knapp Sep 30, 2012

Today at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Vice Mayor Kristin Jacobs of Broward County, FL, spoke before an audience of federal decision makers and sustainability leaders about her actions and leadership in the face of serious climate and energy challenges.

The National Leadership Speaker Series on Resiliency and Security in the 21st Century, organized by ICLEI and the U.S. Green Building Council, brought three nationally recognized leaders on sustainability and resilience: Vice Mayor Jacobs, Mayor George Heartwell of Grand Rapids, MI, and Mayor Ralph Becker of Salt Lake City, UT.

South Florida is one of the nation's most vulnerable regions to climate change, and Vice Mayor Jacobs explained the specific impacts they are facing and are anticipated to face in the coming decades. Fortunately, thanks to her leadership, the South Florida region is taking key steps to increase community resilience and preparedness.

Below are the key facts and messages that Vice Mayor Jacobs delivered in her speech.

"Climate change poses significant challenges to the way in which we have historically viewed the resilience of our communities," said Vice Mayor Jacobs. "This is true even in South Florida, where we are vulnerable, and even accustomed, to extreme weather and severe storms. Our flat topography, low land elevation, and highly developed urban coastline all contribute to these risks and today, climate change promises to aggravate our local circumstance with more extreme climate conditions coupled with sea level rise."

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ICLEI and USGBC Bring Together Leading Mayors to Share Solutions for Resilient Communities

by Don Knapp Sep 30, 2012

Left to right: Mayor Ralph Becker, Vice Mayor Kristin Jacobs, and Mayor George Heartwell speak about their community's climate and energy challenges -- and their steps to become more resilient.

At the National Press Club today, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA (ICLEI USA) hosted the latest National Leadership Speaker Series on Resiliency and Security in the 21st Century, bringing together elected officials in a forum addressing local leadership on resiliency in the built environment.

Three nationally recognized sustainability leaders—the Hon. Ralph Becker, Mayor of Salt Lake City; the Hon. George K. Heartwell, Mayor of Grand Rapids, Mich.; and the Hon. Kristin Jacobs, Vice Mayor of Broward County, Fla.—highlighted the efforts of local governments to ensure the resilience and security of their communities in response to growing energy and climate change challenges. The mayors were joined by Jason Hartke, Ph.D., Vice President of national policy at USGBC, and Michael Schmitz, Executive Director of ICLEI USA.

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