Cities Must Pledge Net Zero Emissions

Because setting an intention is the first step to actually doing it

Deepti Kannapan


Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

[Versions of this letter to the editor appeared in two local newspapers in my area: Easy Reader and Beach Reporter.]

The recent wildfires and extreme weather in California are an unmistakable signal that climate change has arrived. The time window for incremental improvements has ended, and bold action is required, now.

Our top priority should be to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and protect our ecosystems.

The most basic step toward taking these actions is to pledge our intentions. Our cities need to set science-based emissions targets that will set us on a trajectory to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.

And yet, only six of the 88 cities in LA county have taken even this most foundational step by joining the UN Race to Zero initiative. These six are Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Glendale, Los Angeles, Lakewood, and Manhattan Beach.

The other 82 cities must step up.

Californians have watched the national developments in climate policy with bated breath, including the recent deal between Senators Schumer and Manchin on climate provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, and President Biden’s executive actions to invest in renewables.

However, California, with our well-earned reputation for innovation and progress, must lead the nation by taking action in our own cities. We don’t need to wait for national policy or the least proactive among us to take action.

If you are concerned about the state of the planet we will leave for our children’s generation, you should contact your mayor’s office and demand they pledge emissions reduction targets by joining Cities Race to Zero, and follow through on this plan year over year.

Is your city committed to making the deep changes that this moment in history calls for?

Writing letters to the editor is a great way to be an environmental advocate! If you want to learn how, I wrote all about it here.

Here’s my free resource to overcome overwhelm and find clarity on YOUR personalized next step to protect the environment.



Deepti Kannapan

Painter, occasional cartoonist, aerospace engineer. Writes about sustainable technology, creativity, and journaling.