Climate change is a global existential issue that requires urgent and bold local government action to be overcome. In Fall 2019, the Florida State legislature, for the first time in history, acknowledged that climate change was an urgent threat to the health and well-being of our communities, real estate, and economy.
Since 2007, the City of Orlando has taken a leadership role on this issue of climate change, becoming internationally recognized and seen as a model for other cities and communities. Through the Green Works Orlando Community Action Plan, we have also set bold, science-based, and ambitious goals to ultimately achieve net-zero carbon by 2050.
We have become early participants of the Mayor's Climate Protection Pledge, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM), and current serve on the national steering committee for the U.S. Climate Mayors network.
In addition to these pledges and participation, we have actually invested in and proven various climate solutions in Orlando, including transitioning our City fleet to electric and alternative fuel, retrofitting buildings for energy and water efficiency, installing rooftop solar on our Fire Stations and neighborhood centers, supporting local solar coops for our residents, and purchasing green power from the OUC solar farms to meet a growing amount of our electricity needs. These investments are not only reducing pollution for the planet, they are saving the City millions of dollars and improving our collective quality of life.
In addition, OUC has committed to a clean energy transition that will achieve net-zero carbon by 2050 for the entire utility. To date, due to these important efforts to transition to cleaner energy sources, Orlando has a seen a reduction of roughly 20% over the last 13 years compared to 2007 levels (2019 GHG emissions inventory).
The Climate Emergency declaration is the next step in local climate leadership. It's an effort to not just acknowledge, but declare an emergency response to climate change and the ecological breakdown we are witnessing today.
The Climate Emergency declaration has now been signed by more than 1,000 governments around the World -- including National governments like Spain and the EU; large cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Austin; and even smaller cities and counties like Ann Arbor (MI), Hoboken (NJ), and Chico (CA), Montgomery County (MD).
See attached for several letters for local students and youth climate leaders advocating for our declaration.