The possibilities are endless, but city leaders need focus.

The US government sent an official delegation to the international climate talks this week in Bonn, Germany. This being the Trump administration, it planned exactly one public event, where it crudely hawked coal and nuclear. The panel sparked colorful protests and was generally mocked the world over.

Alongside, however, is a shadow delegation, representing states, cities, businesses, and universities — “subnationals,” in the parlance — rallying under the banner “We Are Still In.” Their aim is to stick to the US pledge under the Paris agreement, rebuking the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw. The We Are Still In Declaration now has 2,500 signatures from subnationals, “representing more than 130 million Americans and $6.2 trillion of the U.S. economy.”

But these subnationals don’t just want to make grand declarations. They’ve also launched America’s Pledge, an initiative co-chaired by Michael Bloomberg and California Gov. Jerry Brown meant to “aggregate and quantify” the contribution of US subnationals. It just released its Phase One Report, a deep look into the capacities and potential of subnationals to reduce emissions. (Spoiler: The potential is large, but probably not large enough to meet US targets without federal help.)

Leading the charge for subnationals are cities, which increasingly make up the climate vanguard. With their concentrations of population and commerce, cities are enormous sources of greenhouse gas emissions, but they have also proven (especially relative to national governments) the most dynamic and innovative sources of climate solutions.

So let’s focus in on cities. What is their ultimate potential in the climate fight? What kinds of emissions reductions are they capable of and what’s the fastest way to achieve them? Two reports help illuminate these issues, one older, one just released.

The older Read More Here