Cleveland Ranks Low on National Sustainability Report

Solar panels [Shutterstock/Thinnapob Proongsak]
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A new report evaluating the sustainability of America’s most populous cities ranks Cleveland at the bottom of the list – number 99 out of 100 cities. 

Detroit, Cleveland, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, round out the bottom of the list.  The report comes from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network – a United Nations effort to promote sustainable development.  It cites high levels of poverty, car use, and unemployment as reasons for Cleveland’s low ranking.

Mike Foley leads Cuyahoga County’s sustainability efforts.  He says his department’s dedication to solar power and climate change planning are already underway.

“We think we’re fast and furiously trying to become as effective as possible, and not caring about where we are on a list – but addressing these things because they’re important to address,” said Foley.

Foley says his department hopes to have 30 thousand solar panels on a Brooklyn landfill up and running by the end of the year.

He says the west coast cities are paying higher electricity costs for a more sustainable source – something Cleveland isn’t used to.  “There’s more economic motivations for cities and regions to really work on both becoming cleaner and greener but at a more cost effective manner,” said Foley.  “We’ve got legacy manufacturing industries that have relied on very cheap electricity costs that come from coal fired power plants.”

Among Ohio cities, Cincinnati also made the bottom of the sustainability list – ranking slightly above Cleveland at number 91.

Update 8/16/17 – Cleveland’s Chief of Sustainability Matt Gray wrote a blog post in response to the list.

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