Jonathan T. Rothwell | George Washington University Institute of Public Policy
The withdrawal by the United States from the Paris Climate Accords leaves America cities and states as the agencies for change in reaching the world goal of less than two degrees Celsius increase over the pre-industrial levels. While some states, notably California, have stepped up, climate change response has largely been taken by cities, which will also bear the brunt of climate change effects.This paper surveys the efforts of six Western American cities, namely Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Seattle and Portland to deal with climate change and uses four “markers” (i.e., transportation, land use, public services and facilities and energy generation) to evaluate those responses. None of the cities reviewed achieve an outstanding grade in all four categories and, correlatively, does each of them do poorly in all categories. Instead, there are programs to be emulated in each of these cities. The conclusions suggest that other cities may wish to adopt selective programs from these cities as their own economic circumstances and political will may allow.