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Portland Named ‘Climate Action Champion’ by White House

Read the factsheet published by the White House for more details.

 

Portland Named ‘Climate Action Champion’ by White House

Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014  – The White House today announced the first cohort of Climate Action Champions, including the City of Portland.

"Climate change is a world-wide threat, but as President Obama has said, international leadership begins at home," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "We are honored by this, but it just means the pressure is on to work harder, and to think smarter, to demand more of ourselves."

This fall, the White House launched the Climate Action Champions competition to identify and recognize local climate leaders and to provide targeted federal support to help those communities further raise their ambitions.

Portland was singled out as a regional leader for greenhouse gas reduction and climate change mitigation. With support from 20 agency partners, Portland’s 2015 Climate Action Plan is a strategy to put the city on a path to achieve an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 1990 levels.

This is the city’s second major victory on the issue of climate action this year. In September, Portland was among 10 cities worldwide to receive the City Climate Leadership Awards 2014. The Award was sponsored by the international C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, and honored cities all over the world for excellence in urban sustainability and leadership in the fight against climate change. Portland was honored alongside cities such as Barcelona, Buenos Aires, London and Amsterdam, among others.

Other winners of the White House competition, announced today, include:

● Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe, Calif.

● Boston, Mass. Broward County, Fla.

● Dubuque, Iowa

● Knoxville, Tenn.

● Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (D.C., Maryland and Virginia

● Mid-America Regional Council (Kansas and Missouri)

● Minneapolis, Minn.

● Montpelier, Vt.

● Oberlin, Ohio

● Salt Lake City, Utah

● San Francisco, Calif.

● Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians (Michigan)

● Seattle, Wash.

● Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority (California)

Mayor Hales praised Susan Anderson, director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, and her leadership team for its work on the Climate Action Plan. He also pointed to other agencies including Multnomah County and Metro, plus activists in the private sector.

"There’s plenty of credit to go around.

The region is about to complete the first new bridge in downtown Portland in 30 years, and it will carry light rail, streetcar, buses, bicycles and pedestrians … but not private vehicles," Hales said this spring, while addressing the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Chicago. "This is the kind of investment we are making to make our healthy connected city a reality." 3

The 16 selected communities will receive facilitated peer-to-peer learning and mentorship and targeted support from a range of Federal programs. Furthermore, a coordinator will be provided to each Climate Action Champion to foster coordination and communicate across the Federal agencies, national organizations, and foundations in support of the Champions. The coordinator will also assist efforts to raise awareness of funding and technical assistance opportunities that are available specifically for Climate Action Champions.

"We strive for livable neighborhoods: highly walkable, lively commercial districts, making it easy and convenient to get to the schools, shops, jobs, parks, coffee and beer that make Portland a great place to live, work and play," Hales said. "The things we love about Portland, we want all Portlanders to share. Today, they don’t. We experience significant inequities, neighborhood to neighborhood. Addressing those inequities is among our top goals."

The Obama Administration is committed to taking decisive action to combat climate change. In November, to drive international discussions leading up to the 2015 climate negotiations in Paris, President Obama made an historic joint announcement with Chinese President Xi Jinping of each country’s respective targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the post-2020 period. Building on the United States’ bipartisan history of supporting financing for clean energy and climate adaptation in developing countries, the president also announced the United States’ $3 billion commitment to the Green Climate Fund.

The Obama Administration is continuing to partner with state and local governments, businesses, and philanthropic organizations to make progress on climate change in the United States. Building on the work the Administration has done with the State, Local, and Tribal leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, which delivered its recommendations to the President on Nov. 17, in addition to the selection of the Climate Action Champions this week, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy launched a new Climate Education and Literacy Initiative, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the White House collaborated on the fourth in a series of local climate resilience exercises in Hampton Roads, Va.