TAP Time: North America

The North American TAP Time session on Friday, 4 December at the Cities & Regions Pavilion presented transformative projects from six North American cities. These projects were selected through a competitive application process and are recognized at the TAP Pavilion for their ambition and potential to accelerate climate actions locally.

The “Big Blue Bus Electrification” is a transformation of Santa Monica’s bus fleet from natural gas, to landfill captured methane, to a fully electric and emission free fleet. Mayor Kevin McKeown emphasized the challenges cities face in reducing GHG emissions while the city population grows.  The electrification project is part of the city’s strategy to meet its aggressive goal to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050.

CEO of Marin Clean Energy Dawn Weisz presented a project that began with an ICLEI-supported GHG inventory in the 1990s. The Community Choice Aggregation project empowers local governments to work together as a power generation provider and to decide where to buy renewable energy (RE). This allows communities to unhook from the fluctuating prices of fossil fuels. Thus far the initiative has creates 2,400 new jobs in California and customers are getting twice as much RE while saving on cost.

Mayor Matthew Appelbaum of Boulder, Colorado aims to “build redundancy in our systems, and places for people to go in the event of disasters” and create “distributed resilience” with the Safe Haven Resilience Network. Safe havens will serve as places for citizens to go in the event of disaster, but also provide an opportunity to test new systems: micro-grids powered by a suite of RE systems with battery back-up.

Deborah Raphael, Director of the Department of Environment for the City of San Francisco, CA and Calla Rose Ostrander of the Jena & Michael King Foundation shared how the city of San Francisco will conduct natural-based carbon sequestration with a one-time application of half-inch compost. The soil would sequester carbon and hold it for up to 30 years, peaking at year seven.

City of Vancouver Climate Policy Manager Malcolm Shield discussed his city’s biggest risk: sea level rise. Vancouver is preparing for changes in infrastructures and services to meet this risk.Climate change is a new challenge, but challenges always bring new opportunities if you are ready to utilize it,” he said.

Finally, Roger Lachance (Associate Director for Environment, Department of Environment and Sustainable Development, City of Montréal) discussed the comprehensive nature of the Enhancement of the Saint-Jacque Escarpment Ecoterritory. The adaptation actions in this area include fighting the urban heat island effects, recovering rainwater, promoting biodiversity, and encouraging active transportation like biking and walking.