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City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris to Address the First U.S. – China Climate Leaders Summit to be Held in Los Angeles This Week

Post Date:09/15/2015
City of Lancaster today announced that Mayor R. Rex Parris will be among the U.S. governors and mayors joining Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and a delegation of Chinese government leaders making new climate commitments and agreements at the U.S.-China Climate Leaders Summit, to be held in Los Angeles on September 15-16, 2015. The Summit is the first official convening of U.S. and Chinese subnational leaders on climate change under the Climate Change Working Group and represents a key opportunity to galvanize climate action before December’s United Nations climate conference in Paris.

“In order for our City to truly advocate for a cleaner, healthier environment and sustainable future, we knew we needed to do more than simply facilitate the green efforts of others. We needed to take our own reins to lead the charge. And, we have,” said City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “When we took on the charge of creating a sustainable Net Zero community, the goal was to not only develop a greener city, but also establish long-term partnerships; devise win-win revenue streams; and design foundational programs which can be replicated by other communities. We've reached all of these objectives, while also generating more than 1,000 jobs associated with these ongoing efforts.”

During the Summit, leading cities from both countries will be sharing best practices and discussing objectives in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight global climate change. Outcomes from the Summit will be discussed during the State Visit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, DC the following week.

The Summit results from the historic joint climate announcement by Presidents Obama and Xi last November in which the U.S. committed to reduce its emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, and China committed to peak CO2 emissions in approximately 2030. That announcement also launched a U.S.-China Climate-Smart/Low-Carbon Cities Initiative to respond to growing urbanization and increasingly significant greenhouse gas emissions from cities.

This week’s Summit in Los Angeles marks the first effort of that initiative and will bring together local leaders from both countries for a multiple-day conference featuring a high-level plenary at which leaders will declare their resolve, ambition, and actions; working-level technical exchanges to share experience and best practices; and an exhibition to engage the private sector.

Mayor Parris’ invitation to the Summit builds on his continued commitment to addressing global climate change at the local, city level.

In 2014, Lancaster instituted the Nation's first City-mandated Residential Solar Ordinance, requiring all new residential construction projects to include at least 1 kilowatt per new home built. To date, private and City solar developments have reached nearly 125 Megawatts (MW), achieving more than 58% of Lancaster’s peak load goal of 215 MW. This includes more than 77 MW of City operational solar installations; more than 25 MW of commercial and residential uses, with 3,160 single family residential solar permits issued as of August 1, 2015; and 9 MW on local educational sites.

Along with a multitude of solar developers, companies such as BYD and KB Home have quickly propelled Lancaster along the path to becoming Net Zero. In 2013, China-based BYD Bus and Coach established an electric bus plant, as well as its battery factory, in Lancaster. Since opening, BYD has developed the nation’s best long-range electric bus, named the "Lancaster." In 2014, KB Home unveiled its “Double ZeroHouse” in Lancaster, which featured both net-zero energy usage and near-zero freshwater usage for irrigation.

To further ensure that local residents and business owners have the full opportunity of making the green energy choice; the City has formed the Community Choice Aggregate "Lancaster Choice Energy.” Lancaster Choice Energy empowers residents and business owners with the ability to choose partial or 100 percent solar-generated power at an affordable cost. The program also enhances Lancaster’s economy. Reduced energy costs and keeping our energy dollars local equals increased discretionary and operational income, which means more local spending and greater incentive for businesses to locate in Lancaster.

Lancaster also recently launched the Better Built Home Program, incentivizing residential builders to incorporate LED lighting, grey water systems, energy storage systems, and smog-eating roof tiles into their projects. In addition, the City’s pending acquisition of 18,000 streetlights from Southern California Edison is an investment which will save the City significant funds and provide for countless options to better enhance public safety and community services, while also utilizing more energy-efficient lighting.

“Through all of our green efforts, we are creating a healthier, cleaner, more thriving community for our citizens and the environment,” added Mayor Parris.
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