(WASHINGTON, DC) -- Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced today that the District of Columbia has joined the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), further enhancing the District’s aggressive efforts to become one the world’s most sustainable cities and to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. The District’s acceptance into the C40 comes as Mayor Gray also announced that the District has achieved substantial reductions in citywide greenhouse-gas emissions over the past five years.
The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), currently chaired by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, was launched in 2005 as a network of large and engaged cities from around the world committed to implementing meaningful and sustainable climate-related actions locally that will help address climate change globally. It is now a preeminent global organization and network of 59 cities committed to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and climate risks. C40 helps cities identify, develop and implement local policies and programs that have collective global impact.
“The District is proud to join this network of global cities taking real action to combat the impacts of climate change,” said Mayor Gray. “The efforts of our local government and partners in the private sector are already bearing fruit, and we have substantially reduced greenhouse-gas emissions while growing our economy and population. The District is proving that we can build a thriving city and economy while reducing our environmental footprint.”
In 2006, the District emitted 10.2 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e), a measure of the six primary global-warming pollutants. In 2011, the District emitted 8.9 million tons of CO2e, a reduction of 12.5 percent from the 2006 baseline year. Citywide emissions per capita dropped from 18 tons/person of CO2e in the 2006 inventory to 14.5 tons/person in 2011.
In addition, emissions associated with District government operations, a subset of the city’s total greenhouse-gas emissions, fell by 23 percent between 2006 and 2011 (from 686,000 to 527,000 tons of CO2e).
Additionally, during the same period (2006-2011), the District saw an increase of more than 40,000 residents, tens of thousands of jobs, and millions of square feet of new office and residential buildings. Today, DC’s office-vacancy rates are the lowest in the country and unemployment has dropped to 8.5 percent.
The District continues to lead in green building practices, alternative transportation, green roofs, renewable energy development, and tree planting. Mayor Gray pointed to innovative laws encouraging green building, broad adoption of building-efficiency programs, expanding mass-transportation options, and denser transit-oriented development as important reasons for the District’s reductions in energy use and emissions.
“The benefits of these sustainability practices for our city are becoming evident,” Mayor Gray said. “We are an incubator for innovative sustainability policies and programs, and we are committed to moving aggressively toward finalizing and implementing our Sustainable DC plan and our climate-action plan to increase efforts to meet local and global challenges. Further, I will continue to take bold action and work with the local private sector as well as the other C40 cities to help lay a strong foundation for more sustainable future.”
For more information visit www.c40.org or follow on Twitter @C40cities. For more information on the District’s sustainability plan, Sustainable DC, visit www.sustainable.dc.gov or follow #SustainableDC on Twitter.