This isn't the end

Dear friends of Urban Green,

As you have surely heard, yesterday the U.S. government signaled its intent to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. This decision capped months of announcements that dismantled core portions of federal climate change programs. It will indeed set back worldwide efforts. 

But federal regulations were never where the rubber met the climate road. Execution of the Clean Power Plan fell to states. California can still set its own car efficiency standards, and other states can opt into those—indeed, many already have. And as we all know, almost all of the country’s buildings – nearly 70 percent of them – are within urban areas. Meanwhile, efforts are underway to organize states, cities and businesses into a coalition that can step into the federal breach.

What’s most important is that we get the long-term investments right in the years between now and 2050. Electronics and appliances will be replaced many times in that period. The entire automobile fleet will turn over. So we’ll have some time to fix those things.

What we may not be able to fix are missed opportunities with long-lasting building systems, such as heating systems and building envelopes, and the power plants that feed our buildings.
 
You already know where I’m going here. We’re taking on climate change every day in New York buildings. We were doing it last year. And will keep doing it next year and the years after. Whatever international agreements say or don’t say, what will make the difference is what we and others do in cities.

We need to double down and keep doing what we’re doing here in New York. Make new buildings more efficient. Retrofit existing ones. Tackle roadblocks. Ensure we have the most educated industry in the world. Set an example for other cities.

And Urban Green needs your help to make that happen. Become a member of Urban Green today, if you are not already. Amplify your impact by asking a friend to join as a new member. Make a gift to support our work. Encourage your firm to become a sponsor. We need your day-to-day leadership in the industry, and we also need your support for our work as a nonprofit.

Sincerely, 

Russell Unger
Executive Director

About the author

Russell Unger
Russell Unger is Executive Director of Urban Green Council.