Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser is taking a historic step to address climate action by signing the CleanEnergy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018. This action follows unanimous passage of the bill by D.C. City Council on December 18, 2018, which was introduced and championed by Councilwoman Mary Cheh.
This legislation will put Washington, D.C. at the forefront of fighting climate change through ambitious and innovative new climate change mitigation programs. Some of the highlights of the bill include:
- 100% Renewable Portfolio Standard by 2032
- Groundbreaking energy efficiency requirements for buildings through a Building Energy Performance Standard
- Funding for local programs to help low-income residents transition to cleaner energy systems
- Adjusting vehicle taxes to incentivize cleaner cars
- Transition to zero emission vehicles for both public buses and privately-owned fleets by 2045
- Potential for regional action to create a cleaner, more equitable transportation system
By signing this bill Mayor Bowser is directly responding to the inaction of the Trump Administration, with concrete proposals to mitigate the causes of climate change in the District of Columbia. The Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge named Washington, D.C. as a challenge winner on October 21, 2018, because of the ambitious goals the city had set forth to decrease carbon emissions from buildings and transportation. Over the next two years, Washington, D.C. will work toward meeting those ambitious commitments, and signing this bill into law is the first step towards success.
Success in D.C. will mean the implementation of groundbreaking energy and transportation initiatives that create healthier, cleaner, and more inclusive communities. These programs will decrease carbon emissions, improve air quality, increase access to energy efficiency programs to low-income households, and improve the lives of the people and communities in D.C. This bill recognizes that action on climate is not complete if the benefits are not shared equitably among our residents, and that we need a more sustainable future for the next generation of D.C. to thrive.
As we continue to hear about the dire consequences of climate change through the recent IPCC report and the Fourth National Climate Assessment, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and disempowered. But actions like Mayor Bowser’s and the DC City Council are concrete steps towards finding a solution. Washington, D.C.’s laws may only affect a small portion of the country, but it is leading by example. Cities’ actions most clearly reflect the will of the people, and we hope to continue to see similar successes across the United States, especially among the other 24 Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge winners, as individuals press their elected leaders towards action.