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Ithaca Achieves A Climate Milestone By Becoming First City In The US

Ithaca, in upstate New York, has become the first city in the United States to approve a project to 100% decarbonize all of its buildings by transitioning to green energy. The initiative, which is part of his plan to achieve emissions neutrality by 2030, could lay the groundwork for other populations to follow suit in the fight against climate change.

To decarbonise the 6,000 buildings that Ithaca houses, the city council will use $ 100 million of private financing that it raised last summer and will have the help of BlocPower , the startup focused on the environmental update of old urban buildings. BlocPower estimates that energy improvements in buildings will create around 400 new jobs in construction, technology and green economy management.

The city has focused its efforts on electrifying buildings because almost half of the buildings it houses are pre-1940 and account for 40% of its carbon emissions generated by heat-trapping fossil fuels . The initiative is expected to reduce Ithaca’s carbon footprint by approximately 160,000 tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of the emissions emitted by 35,000 cars in one year.


The city’s plan to achieve emissions neutrality by 2030 calls for Ithaca to meet all its electricity needs with renewable energy by 2025 and cut its vehicle emissions in half. Today, 80% of your electricity supply comes from renewable energy and you may be forced to buy offsets .

One of the keys that can determine that the plan of the city of just 30,000 inhabitants goes well is that it does not depend exclusively on government money, something unsustainable given the scale of the climate crisis. According to CNBC , the city’s sustainability director, Luis Aguirre-Torres, assures that Ithaca’s objective is to establish a ratio of 1 to 20 between taxpayer financing and private investment . At the moment, the city council is immersed in raising another 250 million to launch other climate projects, such as the program so that residents can buy second-hand electric cars at a reduced price.

The launch of this project comes shortly after it was learned that, if everything remains the same, global greenhouse gas emissions will rebound in 2021 after the 5.4% decline experienced in 2020, according to a report prepared by researchers from the Global Carbon Project (GCP) organization.