RELEASE: IPCC Climate Change Report

For Immediate Release

August 9, 2021

Cheryl Cort, 
Jane Lyons,
Sonya Breehey,

Today’s Alarming Climate Report – The DC Region Can and Should Do its Part 

Today, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued what the U.N. Chief calls a “Code Red for Humanity” highlighting worse climate impacts to come unless we act without further delay to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. See today’s Washington Post story on the IPCC report. Lead author, scientist Claudia Tebaldi, is quoted in the article urging people to focus on what can still be done to quickly reduce our emissions footprint.

The Coalition for Smarter Growth therefore urges every local, state, regional, and federal official to make fundamental changes in our land use, transportation, housing, and energy policies to slash our emissions. The DC region has committed itself to a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. With transportation now our number one source of emissions, we need to commit to reductions in this sector in particular. Electric vehicles are essential for meeting our climate targets, but studies show that they are not enough and that our cities and suburbs must also reduce the need to drive for daily needs.

The good news is that by focusing on creating walkable, bike-friendly, mixed-use, transit-oriented neighborhoods, creating more housing and more affordable housing in these communities, expanding transit, and ending highway expansion, we can reduce the amount that we have to drive and slash our emissions.

In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, walkable, transit-accessible communities provide a wide range of benefits including lower combined housing and transportation costs, cleaner air and improved health, and access to opportunity for all levels of our workforce.

We can do this! The smart growth climate-friendly solutions are:

  1. More transit that serves travel outside of traditional 9-5 office commutes;
  2. More transit-oriented centers and corridors;
  3. More housing and dedicated affordable units close to jobs and transit;
  4. Streets where walking and biking are priorities for safe travel;
  5. 15-minute neighborhoods where you can walk or bike to daily needs within 15 minutes, without having to get into a car;
  6. Stopping the never-ending and futile highway and arterial expansion that simply increases sprawling development, driving and traffic;
  7. Greener, more energy-efficient buildings;
  8. Switching to clean, renewable energy, and electric vehicles starting with buses, high-use fleet vehicles, and trucks for maximum emissions reductions.