Fayetteville makes the global ‘A List’ for climate leadership

A crew member with Ozarks Electric Cooperative clears snow from a solar panel array in west Fayetteville. The city partnered with the cooperative and Today’s Power Inc. to install the panels, which are expected to save the city $180,000 per year in energy costs.

Courtesy photo

Fayetteville was recently given worldwide recognition for its leadership in environmental transparency and action.

The city made this year’s “A List,” which includes 94 other cities across the globe. The list, which is based on environmental data disclosed by cities, is compiled by CDP, the not-for-profit group that runs the global disclosure system for companies, cities, states and regions.

To make the list, a city must disclose publicly and have a city-wide emissions inventory, have set an emissions reduction target and a renewable energy target for the future and have published a climate action plan. It must also complete a climate risk and vulnerability assessment and have a climate adaptation plan to demonstrate how it will tackle climate hazards.

Fayetteville’s Energy Action Plan includes a goal to achieve 50% community-wide clean energy by 2030 and 100% by 2050. The city has also developed composting and recycling programs with a goal of achieving 40% total waste diversion from the landfill by 2027. Also, Fayetteville’s Active Transportation Plan calls for continued development of cycling and pedestrian routes throughout the community to help cut down on carbon emissions.

“Our community has been working together for many years to develop and implement a strategic plan to reduce our impact on the environment,” said Mayor Lioneld Jordan. “Our success in this effort shows that communities can take a leadership position and make a difference in the fight against climate change. If we all work together, we can make positive change.”

Peter Nierengarten, the city’s environmental director, said to reflect the level of ambition needed to achieve 1.5°C targets, the bar for entry to the A List has been raised. As a result, in 2021, Nierengarten said less than one in ten cities scored by CDP made the list.

A List cities are also recognized for building resilience against climate change.

City Council members earlier this month voted 6-0 to direct city staff or hire a consultant to draft a natural environment, ecosystems, and climate resilience plan.

The measure was sponsored by Council Member Teresa Turk as a way to help inform future policies that impact environmental issues.

“As a city, we need to continue to plan for a hotter, increased intensity of weather patterns, and a more unpredictable landscape that affords our residents a more climate resilient community,” said Turk.

The measure allocates up to $100,000 to help draft the plan, and provides a minimum annual funding of $100,000 in a new capital improvement fund to purchase high ecologically valued land, fund conservation easements, or buy other assets that contribute to climate resiliency. Citizens or organizations could also make donations to the fund to assist the city in future acquisitions or the protection of important woodland or waterways.

» See the full 2021 A List of cities at CDP.net