Mayor John Cooper has announced that his administration has signed the Global Covenant of Mayors as a precursor to participating in the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a coalition of 94 leading cities around the world focused on tackling climate change and driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Cooper also introduced multiple local initiatives underway by his administration to address climate change and sustainability in Nashville and Davidson County.
“Since entering office, I began addressing immediate impediments to the function of our city, namely our financial condition,” said Mayor Cooper. “But my administration has been keenly aware of other longstanding concerns, including threats to our environment and the protection of our limited natural resources. Members of my staff have been focused on identifying opportunities to improve the stewardship of our city’s clean air, water, tree canopy, and other natural amenities.”
Nashville’s participation in the Global Covenant of Mayors requires ambitious local climate and energy action and a transition to a low-emission and resilient urban environment to benefit public and environmental health and to lay the foundation for a prosperous economy.
“Since Nashville is my home, I am honored to help Mayor Cooper advance our city’s work to address the climate crisis,” said former Vice President Al Gore. “He is taking important steps forward that should lead to even greater commitments. He is thinking globally and acting locally, as we all should.”
Mayor Cooper’s administration will also work toward reducing Nashville’s community-scale emissions 30% by 2030 and 70% by 2050. To lead by example, CO2-reduction targets for Metro Government will be 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. Using Nashville’s most recent emissions inventories as a baseline, these targets were developed upon surveying those adopted by peer and aspirational cities and align with science-based recommendations in the Paris Climate Accord to reduce absolute CO2 emissions by three percent annually until 2050 in order to hold global warming to 2°C.
Mayor Cooper’s initial climate change and sustainability initiatives include:
- solar power array installation atop Historic Metro Courthouse to be included in the next Capital Improvements Budget, expanding Metro’s renewable energy portfolio;
- the creation of an “Energy Savings Program” to support energy efficiency efforts in Metro’s general government facilities;
- LEED certifications achieved for Sheriff’s Office Downtown Campus, Metro Police Department Headquarters and Family Safety Center;
- the establishment of a Sustainability Advisory Board to review active proposals as they are being implemented through legislation; and
- the introduction of legislation with Metro Council members to further strengthen tree protections under the Metro Code.
“As we enjoy the holiday season, it is perhaps likely we will not see a proverbial white Christmas this year,” added Cooper. “But we can certainly work to have a green one. To ensure that our environment is as safeguarded as our pocketbooks, I am proud to announce these initial sustainability projects and policies with the guarantee that more are forthcoming, for the sake of our children and all future Nashvillians.”