The economy has stalled and so has the war on climate change. But a new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance shows that dozens of cities are boosting their local economies while dramatically reducing greenhouse gases.
>What’s remarkable is that none of the examples relied on federal or state financial aid, but instead on the community’s own resources. And the communities featured in the report just scratch the surface of the many cities, counties, and municipalities that have tried and tested these options.
Eight local policies are featured in the report and the case studies of each policy show how these local tools have been leveraged for economic advantage, from more rigorous building codes to solar mandates and easier permitting to the use of a wide array of financing tools to spur renewable energy and energy efficiency. The full list (far from exhaustive) includes:
Municipal electric utilitiesCommunity choice aggregation or "community utilities"Building energy codesBuilding energy use disclosureLocal tax authoritySolar mandates for new homesImproved solar permittingLocal energy financing
The policies aren’t tied to a political ideology, but a practical and local one. Cities have identified where they have untapped resources and deployed them to generate jobs and keep more of their energy dollars in the economy.
The report also candidly admits that not every policy can be used everywhere. In a brief chapter on the "Limits of Local Authority," a map illustrates how variation in state law gives some cities relative local superpowers compared to others. Cities in states with so-called Dillon’s Rule are largely confined to powers expressly granted by their state government. Cities with home rule generally have more authority.<
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