San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and UTSA have a common climate action goal: keep it clean.

Nirenberg accompanied President Taylor Eighmy, CPS Energy President and CEO Paula Gold-Williams, UTSA faculty, and students during the announcement of five innovative projects supporting clean energy on Oct. 18. The new research projects championed by Roadruners are supported by Strategy Alliance agreements with CPS Energy, totaling close to $1.5 million. The announcement indicates UTSA and San Antonio are interested in promoting environmental sustainability.

As District 8 Councilman (UTSA Main Campus’ district), Nirenberg was a chairman of a National League of Cities committee focusing on energy, environment and natural resources. Nirenberg is familiar with climate change challenges.

At the Texas Tribune Festival, Nirenberg, alongside former and current city leaders of Texas, brought the climate issue to the main stage. There, Nirenberg said city leaders on both sides of the aisle had pushed for progress, and the shift in administrative leadership won’t end the progress.

Progress requires partnerships. During a time of outright denial of climate change and lack of accountability at the federal level, city officials hope to partner with the community in creating action.However, this doesn’t mean the public should succumb to the age-old corporate callout for more “personal responsibility.”

A range of stakeholders are to blame for the ecosystems destruction, but it’s important to remember there’s a difference between stopping the insatiable hunger of corporate greed and changing individual daily habits (recycling, fuel-efficient vehicles and vegan diets). The Carbon Majors Report pinpoints 100 companies as the source of 70 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. Holding these companies accountable can difficult, but doing so results in greater progress than do individual lifestyle changes.

The community must promote and appreciate promising moves towards combating climate change, denounce the deniers, nip corporate copouts and reward individual and collective progress in climate action. Rewards could be in the form of patronizing busineses, voting, praising or joining the effort.

UTSA’s new research projects incorporate students. Gold-Williams expressed excitement to have students on board with her company’s plans. More opportunities to contribute to a cleaner planet are will continurbe available. Nirenberg’s record and public actions have indicate climate change will remain a core issue in San Antonio.

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