CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OHIO—Today, Mayor Kahlil Seren introduced legislation before Cleveland Heights City Council to round the Climate Action Team he has been assembling at City Hall by contracting with Chicago-based Nutter Consulting to develop a Climate Action and Resiliency Plan (CARP) for Cleveland Heights. The legislation received a first reading from City Council, and Council President Melody Joy Hart referred the proposed legislation to committee for review.
“Cleveland Heights needs a Climate Action and Resiliency Plan to guide us in reducing our impact on the environment, protecting the health of our residents, and preparing for the impact climate change will have on our city,” Mayor Seren said. “Contracting with Nutter Consulting will provide critical expertise to help Cleveland Heights continue to lead on these issues.”
Cleveland Heights’ Climate Action Team
Earlier this month, Mayor Seren hired Andy Boateng as the city’s first Sustainability and Resiliency Coordinator. Boateng was born in Ghana and is finalizing his Doctorate at Kent State University. His academic work has focused on identifying and measuring the sources of greenhouse gas emissions in urban spaces and assessing how multiple stakeholders can collaborate to mitigate the effects of climate change—expertise he will bring to bear as Cleveland Heights’ point-person on climate change and resiliency.
In May, Mayor Seren selected Marc Lefkowitz, a Cleveland Heights resident, as the City’s Public Relations Coordinator. Lefkowitz is the former Web Editor for The GreenCityBlueLake (GCBL) Institute, the center for regional sustainability at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Lefkowitz’s writing and advocacy for sustainable solutions to climate change span two decades. Along with EcoCity Cleveland and GCBL founder David Beach, Lefkowitz helped document and build the case for sensible, science-based climate action in Cleveland and beyond. He will play a critical role in engaging Cleveland Heights residents on these issues.
Nutter Consulting is led by Melanie Nutter, whose firm advises multiple Ohio cities on climate change resilience strategies. Nutter served as Director of San Francisco’s Environment during Governor Gavin Newsom’s tenure as that city’s Mayor. Under her watch, San Francisco achieved an 80% waste-diversion rate, reduced its carbon emissions to 14.5% below 1990 levels, and was named the Greenest City in North America by Siemens and the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Elena Stachew, Director of Operations for Citadel Impact Consulting, will provide Nutter Consulting with Ohio-based expertise and gather input from across Cleveland Heights on strategies to address the reduction of carbon emissions and improve resilience to climate change.
Mayor Seren selected Nutter Consulting after receiving nine responses from firms across the U.S. and Canada with proven expertise in producing climate and resilience action plans.
“Nutter has the right balance of technical ability and community engagement strategy that was key to their selection,” said Boateng, who participated in the selection process. “Their knowledge of the unique geographic context of Cleveland Heights was also a key factor that distinguished them.”
Upon approval of Nutter’s contract, Cleveland Heights’s Climate Action Team will turn to developing the Climate Action and Resiliency Plan.
Climate change has been an abiding concern of Cleveland Heights, and the Climate Action Team’s work will build on past efforts. During the previous decade:
- The City of Cleveland Heights installed solar arrays on three government buildings—including City Hall—to help make the city less dependent on fossil fuels.
- Between 2010 and 2017, Cleveland Heights reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent.
Under Mayor Seren’s leadership, these efforts have accelerated:
- In 2020, while he was a member of City Council, Mayor Seren introduced legislation to join Power a Clean Future Ohio (PCFO), a statewide non-profit group helping cities address climate change, and to adopt the “Ohio 30-by-30 pledge” to reduce the city’s carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030.
- In 2022, the Seren administration implemented the city’s automated recycling and refuse collection system, improving fuel efficiency, saving money, and further reducing carbon emissions.
- This year, the city began shifting to electric-powered cars and hybrid police cruisers.
- In May, the city launched an educational effort during Air Quality Awareness Week to prepare Cleveland Heights residents for the threat that poor air quality may have on their health.
- During Air Quality Awareness Week, Mayor Seren announced the creation of the Cleveland Heights Air Quality Monitoring Network, deploying air quality monitors throughout the city to give residents more accurate local data during air quality alerts.
- This summer, the city launched a Lawnmower Exchange Program to improve local air quality encouraging residents to swap their high-polluting gas-powered mowers for zero-emission electric lawnmowers. As a result of the two rounds of exchanges, the city permanently removed sixty gas-powered mowers from Cleveland Heights neighborhoods.
When discussing her firm’s engagement with Cleveland Heights, Nutter acknowledged the city’s accomplishments. “Under Mayor Seren’s leadership, Cleveland Heights is taking bold, proactive steps to address the climate crisis locally,” she said. “We’re honored to be part of the team and look forward to deeply engaging with the community to develop an ambitious, data-driven climate and resilience roadmap.”