In 2017, when the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement—an international treaty that attempted to avert climate catastrophe by cutting global emissions—John Cranley, the Democratic mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, joined other mayors across the country to announce his intention to remain faithful to the agreement’s primary goal of keeping the rise of global temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius in this century. Cranley and leaders from from dozens of cities like San Francisco and Chicago even went a step further, promising to work toward a 100 percent transition to clean energy sources, with ambitious deadlines.
Read the Full Press Release
by Will Pieschel for Mother Jones
So, in 2018, Cincinnati announced its own 2035 mandate for carbon neutrality—the 100th US city to do so—by turning to solar energy. “I was inspired to [pursue this project] out of anger over Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris accords,” Cranley says, describing the frustration he suspects he shared with many other city leaders who made the carbon-neutral pledge.
“This is a really big deal.”
Cincinnati planned to create the largest municipal-run solar farm in the country, and two years later, it looks like they’ve succeeded. “This really is a big deal,” says Gregory Wetstone, who heads the American Council on Renewable Energy, an organization that advocates for a transition to renewables in the energy sector. “Our team could not find anything that competes with it at a municipal level.”
So how did Cincinnati make that happen?