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eJournal USA: Climate Action Goes Local

31 August 2011

As a global phenomenon, climate change is an issue that we usually look to the international community to address. Local communities, however, are increasingly taking the lead in developing innovative, grass-roots approaches to mitigating and combating the causes and effects of global warming. According to a study by the United Nations Development Programme, most investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to climate change must take place at the local level. In the United States, local governments and private citizens have been collaborating to curb those emissions, without waiting for solutions at the national or international level.

This issue of eJournal USA examines what it means to think globally about climate change — and to act locally. “Climate Action Goes Local” shows how communities and nongovernmental groups worldwide are initiating programs that counter climate change, and why leadership from local officials and buy-in from local populations and businesses are necessary for such programs to be effective. An excerpt from Local Action: The New Paradigm in Climate Change Policy by Tommy Linstroth and Ryan Bell outlines advantages local governments have over higher-level governments and institutions in developing, monitoring and adapting climate change programs to serve their constituencies.

This volume also recounts how local governments, businesses and communities in Central America, East Asia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the United States are partnering to leverage their resources, thereby multiplying the impact of their programs.

The success of the local efforts described herein suggests that local governments and communities are well-positioned to achieve tangible environmental benefits without sacrificing economic growth and development.

Seattle’s Climate Strategy Pays Off
Jonathan Hiskes, Pacific Northwest Correspondent, Sustainable Industries Magazine

Pioneering climate policies required convincing voters and enlisting businesses.

California: Changing the Game on Climate
Terry Tamminen, President, Seventh Generation Advisors
A 2006 California law has inspired other U.S. states to take action.

Cisco: California’s Climate Law Is Good for Business
Laura Ipsen, Vice President and General Manager, Cisco Systems Connected Energy
One California-based company says the state’s 2006 climate law has generated clean-energy investment and jobs.

Grass-Roots Climate Activism Soars in India
Karuna Singh, Country Director, Earth Day India
Mobilizing people against global warming in a region where most struggle to survive.

Local Citizens Must Join Climate Debate
One young Indian activist argues for a comprehensive approach to development, energy and climate issues.

Banking on Wind
A South African bank invests in renewables to become energy-lean and climate-friendly.

Sweet Resolution Saves Water
The Coca-Cola Company whets the appetite for water conservation in Central America.

Villagers Protect Forests, Watersheds
A local pilot project in Vietnam is expanded nationwide.

Green Building Program Takes Off in West Bank
Where energy supply is limited, energy savings are valued.

Students Battle for Innovative Energy Solutions
An international competition in the Netherlands spawns ideas to help the environment and industry.

Local Governments Take the Lead on Climate
Tommy Linstroth, Head of Sustainable Initiatives, Melaver Inc.; Ryan Bell, Sustainability Project Manager, County of Alameda, California
Local governments have the flexibility to devise and implement successful climate programs.


Additional Resources

(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/iipdigital-en/index.html)