Photo by Marcin Jozwiak via Unsplash

Cleveland Heights City Council voted unanimously in support of the “Power a Clean Future Ohio” resolution on June 7. The resolution aims to decrease greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2030 relative to 2021 levels. 

The legislation was proposed by Vice President of Cleveland Heights City Council Kahlil Seren. 

“I wrote and introduced the Power a Clean Future Ohio resolution because climate change is too important an issue to ignore. City Council committed to reducing municipal energy use late last year,” Seren told Scriberr News.

“I knew that we could do more to live up to our values around climate change. Our city needs to do what it can to turn our values and priorities into action and becoming a PCFO Community is a way that we can make real change.,” Seren said.

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In April, President Joe Biden pledged to slash U.S. greenhouse emissions 50% by the year 2030 to combat climate change. In 2019, there was a boom in renewable energy of wind and solar, nearly doubling in the last decade. 

This trend can be seen in the Midwest with the surge of renewable energy in states like Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Missouri and Iowa. However, Ohio has been lagging behind its neighbors when it came to clean energy initiatives and transitioning to renewable energy. 

Despite this, initiatives such as Power a Clean Future Ohio (PCFO) have taken the lead in bringing cleaner energy initiatives to the state. PCFO was launched in February 2020 and is a nonpartisan coalition that works with local leaders in developing and implementing climate solutions in hopes of reducing carbon emissions in Ohio. 

According to the PCFO website, its mission statement is “building momentum now for a clean, prosperous future by equipping local leaders for equitable, community-driven carbon reductions in Ohio.” 

“For us, it’s about trying to work with communities that want to do this work. So it means engaging with cities that are eager to take advantage of these resources are eager to tap into this network, but ultimately we see an opportunity here for the state of Ohio, to maintain U.S. commitment to the original Paris Climate Accord,” Executive Director of PCFO Joe Flarida told Scriberr News. 

The passage of this resolution follows another legislation on climate change that was passed in Dec. 2020. Cleveland Heights is now the 15th community to join the efforts of PCFO. 

Seren said Cleveland Heights “is a progressive city,” with even its conservative voices recognizing that “climate change is real.”

“We are poised to take the lead on renewable energy together,” Seren said. 

Flarida, noted during a presentation to the Cleveland Heights City Council’s Administrative Services Committee on May 25 that many of its communities are spread out throughout Ohio rather than clustered in certain areas of the state. The community connection lends way to trial-and-error of methods that work and don’t work, giving Cleveland Heights an advantage in looking toward their neighbors for guidance. 

RELATED: Biden Recommits the U.S. to Paris Climate Agreement

Cleveland Heights is one of six other cities to make the PCFO #Ohio30by30 pledge, a goal to reduce its carbon emissions by 30% by 2030. The other five cities to pledge this are Warren, Euclid, Sandusky, Athens and Cincinnati. 

Of the 15 communities, Cincinnati has made large strides in implementing cleaner energy initiatives. The city was an early supporter of PCFO, announcing in 2019 its goal to build the largest city-led solar array in the nation. 

Known as the New Market Solar Project, Cincinnati made large progress in May in what officials are saying is the largest municipally-led solar array in America. It is intended to supply enough energy to 100% of Cincinnati’s electrical consumption for city-owned and operational services with it being fully functional in December. 

“We think that this opportunity to do this work at the local level, to embrace clean energy at the local level, is one that every state should be thinking about, what every community should be thinking about, every county, every municipality,” said Flarida. 

Written ByVivian Kwang

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