Pittsburgh, PA – U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA-14) highlighted Pittsburgh’s many climate change initiatives at the White House Frontiers Conference
hosted by President Obama in Pittsburgh today. Doyle welcomed participants to the Global Frontiers Track
, which explored new developments in technology addressing climate change.
“Pittsburgh is on the cutting edge of a number of efforts to address climate change,” Congressman Doyle said in summarizing the region’s contributions to crafting a climate-smart future. “It’s not just a great place to hold a conference; it’s a massive laboratory where dozens of experiments in sustainability and clean energy development are being conducted. The Global Frontier we’re here to talk about is all around you. I encourage you all to spend some time here and see what you can learn.”
The White House Frontiers Conference focused on science and technology relevant to a number of “Frontiers” that will be important over the coming years. More information about the White House Frontiers Conference can be found at www.frontiersconference.org
Congressman Doyle’s remarks follow below in full:
Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here with you today. I want to welcome you all to Pittsburgh, and to thank our presenters in advance for sharing their insights with us on these critical issues.
I want to commend President Obama for recognizing the importance of innovation for our nation’s future – and for holding this Conference on maintaining our nation’s pre-eminence in science and technology.
I’m pleased that the White House selected Pittsburgh to host this Frontiers Conference – but I’m not surprised. Pittsburgh is home to a great deal of innovation in the fields this Conference will address. Take, for example, the focus of this track – innovation to deal with climate change.
Many people still associate Pittsburgh with heavy industry and fossil fuels. But today, Pittsburgh’s economy is highly diversified and more reliant on knowledge-based industries. Our region is blessed with world-class universities like Pitt and Carnegie Mellon, whose research has produced a host of start-up companies to commercialize their medical and technological advances. We’re also home to private sector research facilities, like those operated by US Steel, Google, and Uber. On top of that, we’ve got government-funded research facilities like the National Energy Technology Lab and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. Last, but not least, we’ve strong philanthropic support for research on – and implementation of – innovative approaches to major issues like climate change.
Among the efforts of these organizations you can find examples of each of the topics that will be addressed here today – clean energy technologies; data, services, and tools; and climate-smart design.
For example, the Scott Institute for Energy Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University is focusing on increased energy-efficiency, energy storage, and the development of new, more sustainable energy technology.
The University of Pittsburgh recently expanded its energy research by establishing its new Energy Grid Research and Infrastructure Development Institute to modernize our nation’s system for generating, transmitting, and distributing electricity. This new initiative is located in Pittsburgh’s Energy Innovation Center – an old vocational school which was renovated into a LEED Platinum-certified sustainable building and adaptively re-used as a green energy lab, business incubator, and green job training facility for inner-city residents.
Another Pittsburgh non-profit, the Green Building Alliance, began promoting healthy, high-performance buildings nearly 25 years ago. It’s no surprise, then that today, Western Pennsylvania is home to nearly 400 LEED-certified buildings – including the Center for Sustainable Landscapes at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, which is one of the most green-certified buildings in the world. The Green Building Alliance is also responsible for the Pittsburgh 2030 District initiative, which aims to cut energy and water use in nearly 500 major buildings in half by the year 2030.
I’m proud to add that our local government is actively involved in addressing climate change. The City of Pittsburgh is well into its third Climate Action Plan and making progress towards its goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent. In addition, Pittsburgh is a participant in the Administration’s MetroLab Network, which brings cities and local universities together to develop and test technologies that could benefit communities across the country. Pittsburgh is partnering with Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University on a host of initiatives – from transportation monitoring and traffic light synchronization, to the development of more resilient, sustainable micro-grids for electricity, to making government data easier for the public to find and use through initiatives like the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center.
The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is incorporating green infrastructure into its wastewater collection, transportation, and treatment systems.
And just yesterday, Pittsburgh’s Mayor, Bill Peduto, announced a new plan for evaluating future development proposals in the city. Under this plan, future real estate development proposals would be evaluated on the basis of a dozen Performance Measures such as sustainability and benefits to low-income residents. We don’t just want a more sustainable economy in Pittsburgh; we want a more sustainable economy that benefits all members of our community.
I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point – Pittsburgh is on the cutting edge of a number of efforts to address climate change. It’s not just a great place to hold a conference; it’s a massive laboratory where dozens of experiments in sustainability and clean energy development are being conducted. The Global Frontier we’re here to talk about is all around you. I encourage you all to spend some time here and see what you can learn.