Pittsburgh’s proposed new Climate Action Plan is certainly ambitious. Most broadly, it sets the goal of reducing the city’s greenhouse-gas emissions by 20 percent (from a 2003 baseline) by 2023; by 50 percent by 2030; and by 80 percent by 2050. The plan also proposes that by 2030, City of Pittsburgh governmental operations will run on 100 percent renewable electricity, with a vehicle fleet completely free of fossil fuels.
In days when many politicians are leading us, disastrously, into climate denial, even asserting such goals is valuable. “Right now our federal and state governments are missing in action on climate change. So we feel it’s very important the city is trying to do its part,” says local climate activist Fred Kraybill.
But what are the real prospects for fighting climate change in our corner of the world?
Three months ago, a draft of the plan (version 3.0 of a document originally issued in 2008) was released for public comment; it’s now awaiting introduction to Pittsburgh City Council.
The draft credits some 150 local nonprofits, businesses, neighborhood stakeholders and other entities with input. That’s a big change from prior versions, which relied heavily on a handful of civic and business leaders, says Lindsay Baxter, program manager for energy and climate for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC).