Are US cities reducing greenhouse gas emissions at an adequate pace?

(ACEEE blog, 30 Jun 2022) About 20 US cities that we’ve found are on track to meet their near-term climate goals are also on a path to pull their weight in the global decarbonization effort. But many others will need to step up their emissions-reduction efforts.

This blog post is the third in a series taking a closer look at the 2021 City Clean Energy Scorecard and expanding upon its findings. Previous posts looked at cities’ progress on energy equity and cities’ actions enabling alternatives to driving.

Urban areas currently account for more than 70% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally, so reducing their emissions will play a major role in the effort to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees. We found that 20 out of 38 large U.S. cities we examined are on track to achieve GHG reductions in 2050 in line with global benchmarks. (The 38 cities we examined had the necessary GHG emissions data to evaluate their progress; dozens of other large U.S. cities do not.)

In our most recent City Clean Energy Scorecard, we found that a similar group—19 of these same 20 cities—were on track to meet their own near-term GHG emissions reductions goals, usually for 2025 or 2030. These cities demonstrate that near-term successes—if maintained—put them on track to achieve very deep emissions in the long run. The map below identifies these cities:

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ACEEE blog, 30 Jun 2022: Are US cities reducing greenhouse gas emissions at an adequate pace?