Report: California Cities Lead in Clean Energy | Best States

San Francisco leads the nation in clean energy and other environmental initiatives, according to a report by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

ACEEE, a non-profit research organization, has published a report this week that ranked 100 major US cities. The rankings are based on five policy areas: community-wide initiatives, building policies, transportation policies, local government operations, and energy and water utilities.

After San Francisco, the other major cities were Seattle, the District of Columbia, Minneapolis, Boston and New York. Besides San Francisco, the California cities of Los Angeles, San Jose and Oakland all make the top 10.

The most improved cities were Madison, Wisconsin; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Honolulu.

“Madison is deeply committed to fighting climate change by investing in energy efficiency, clean energy and sustainable transportation,” Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said in a press release. “Our investment in bus rapid transit is critical to moving our economy forward in a low-carbon way. She added, “But we’re not resting on our laurels, because we know how important it is for every city to be on the cutting edge when it comes to climate.”

The report, released Wednesday, highlighted racial equity as an important metric for assessing cities’ progress. While ACEEE said a growing number of cities are working to include marginalized communities in policymaking, only 30 of the 177 clean energy policies highlighted in the report focused on equity.

The city with the highest equity score was Minneapolis. The Minnesota city was recognized in the report for several initiatives focused on environmental justice, including its Green Zone initiative, which focuses on “health and economic development in communities disproportionately impacted by environmental pollution,” according to The report.

While many cities have shown improvements, ACEEE pointed out that there is still a lot of progress to be made in building greener cities.

“Most major U.S. cities do not yet have strong policies in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, and they are not on track to meet their climate goals for the sector – or have not yet set one,” the press release read.

Bernard P. Love