This month, Pittsburgh garnered global attention as the host city for the Global Clean Energy Action Forum (GCEAF), the first gathering of its kind to address the transition to clean energy on a warming planet. Among the 6,000 registered attendees were members of the CEOs for Sustainability executive network and Sustainable Pittsburgh.
Since June, Sustainable Pittsburgh, in partnership with CEOs for Sustainability, has convened conversations among regional stakeholders toward defining a comprehensive, equity-driven, multi-sector decarbonization strategy. We’ve explored sectors including Power and Energy, Buildings, Transportation, Land Use and Agriculture, and Industry; most recently, during an official side event we hosted as part of GCEAF, we featured innovative CEOs enabling and expanding decarbonization in their work.
Emerging from these conversations over the last few months is the clear sentiment that our region is poised to lead on decarbonization and reap a number of benefits, including competitive advantage. From the input we’ve received and synthesized, we know our strategy will be guided by the following efforts, in every sector:
- policies and implementations that achieve scale,
- meaningful community engagement, and
- measurement and accountability.
Policies like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act create critically important incentives for action, designed to result in the scaling of technologies that exist and creation of solutions that don’t yet exist, but are needed. Along the way, additional enabling policies and implementations will be identified that can help us iteratively build toward our goals.
Meaningful community engagement is key and must be accomplished not only to inform, but also to include community knowledge and needs as solutions are designed, impacts evaluated, and as the acceleration of workforce and economic development gets underway.
Measurement and accountability for meaningful reductions in carbon emissions is also essential, for each proposed technology solution and in each sector. We must develop systems to effectively understand the projected and actual impacts, to carbon and to our communities, of the changes we make, building on systems that exist, and creating new and commonly applied and understood ways of charting our progress. The 2030 District model and the proposed U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s climate-disclosure reporting guidelines are examples.
These lines of effort begin to build a framework that can help shape the space for ingenuity, experimentation and achievement that will create a climate-friendly, thriving future for all. Let’s continue to share information, build and broaden the conversation, define goals, and get organized to meet them.