Showcasing Subnational Leadership: The Road from COP to CLC Cleveland

by | Mar 22, 2024 | Stories

Representatives from Cleveland and Cuyahoga County have demonstrated leadership in climate action at the subnational level. That’s why The Climate Registry is bringing the 2024 Climate Leadership Conference to Cleveland, Ohio from May 21-23. The Climate Registry strives to showcase the value of subnationals leading the way to mitigate and adapt to climate change in their communities.


As the key actors developing and implementing climate change adaptation strategies in their jurisdictions, subnational leaders are on the frontlines of the climate crisis1. With limited time to implement these strategies to keep warming under 1.5C, it is essential for state and local officials to lead the way and identify the most valuable strategies for their communities to implement. There is no single approach to addressing the climate crisis across communities, however, it is extremely valuable for subnational leaders to share their efforts, best practices, and challenges amongst each other, to collectively accomplish these monumental goals. From tracking greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to implementing climate resilience projects and supporting workforce development, subnational leaders are looking at the needs and potential of their communities to tackle climate change in the way that is most aligned with the needs of their constituents. 

The Climate Registry (TCR) strives to support subnational leaders in their efforts to develop and implement climate adaptation and mitigation strategies by providing platforms and opportunities for them to share their efforts and best practices as they work to achieve ambitious climate solutions. At the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP), TCR hosts a delegation of diverse leaders from U.S. states, local jurisdictions, the private sector, and sovereign tribal nations to highlight subnational climate policy, innovation, and action. We facilitate convenings to allow these subnational leaders to make connections with others who are working towards the same goals and develop partnerships to help further their climate efforts back home. TCR supports and highlights the essential role of subnational climate policy and ambition on the global stage, and works to advance action on climate solutions by showcasing the innovative power of public-private partnerships at the subnational level.

Participation in COP with our delegation provides excellent opportunities for subnational leaders to network and build relationships with climate professionals from around the world. For the past two years, TCR has had the pleasure of including representatives from the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, Ohio in our delegation. While we certainly value every one of our delegates, it is especially important for us to shine a spotlight on climate investments being made in the Midwest, despite a more challenging and polarizing political climate. For representatives from Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, the opportunity to connect with global leaders and learn from their approaches provides them with abundant opportunities to develop critical partnerships, learn different approaches, and take those ideas back home to implement in their own communities. During a conversation with Cleveland officials at COP28 in Dubai, they made clear the value of participating in international conversations with representatives from all different corners of the world. Sarah O’Keefe, Director of Sustainability and Climate Justice for the City of Cleveland, noted that attending COP puts into perspective that Cleveland is an international city and the actions they take not only impact their own communities and residents, but also have lasting impacts outside of their jurisdiction as well. Chris Ronayne, County Executive of Cuyahoga County in Ohio, also noted that participating in COP allows subnationals like themselves to learn from nations all over the world that are working on carbon reductions and advancing climate action. This allows them to take those lessons back home to deliver on local applications. When private sector partners, companies, nonprofit organizations, and local government leaders come together at COP they can take what they’ve learned back home and apply it on a scale that works for their community.

Engaging with climate leaders across the globe and within North America does not stop with COP. TCR values the convening of leaders from government, academia, business, and the nonprofit community to share ideas, best practices, opportunities, and challenges as we all work towards a net-zero economy. One of the ways TCR works to accomplish this is through our annual Climate Leadership Conference (CLC). Providing a space for climate conversations with participation from a wide variety of stakeholders demonstrates how we can collectively uplift climate leadership and address the climate crisis through policy, innovation, and business solutions. The CLC provides attendees with the opportunity to build strategic business connections with thought leaders and decision makers who are addressing climate change in their operations. Interactive program sessions address climate solutions and best practices, risk and resilience, and navigate current policy and innovative financing. 

This year we are looking forward to bringing CLC to Cleveland, a city exemplifying the value and importance of subnational leadership and showcasing the essential efforts of Midwest climate professionals. As we heard in our conversation with Sarah O’Keefe and Chris Ronayne at COP28, Cleveland is a legacy city that was integral in building industrial America, but now the local leaders, businesses, and nonprofit organizations are working together towards a new path. By utilizing the strengths of their research community to help support a just transition and revitalizing industrial spaces to advance greentech and expand the workforce, Cleveland and Cuyahoga County are working to advance climate action across their communities. Mayor of Cleveland, Justin Bibb, has worked tirelessly not only to advance key policy initiatives in his own city, but also to support climate policies in other jurisdictions and elevate local voices at the federal level. As the current chair of Climate Mayors, Mayor Bibb is working to empower engagement with mayors across regions and ensure communities of color and those most vulnerable to climate change are receiving the benefits from federal funding. Guided by his leadership, the City of Cleveland is working tirelessly to decrease carbon pollution and improve water and air quality, while still focusing on strengthening the economy2. We look forward to highlighting the many efforts of companies, officials, and organizations in and around Cleveland, while also bringing outside perspectives from a wide variety of sectors and regions to share their insights. 

Join us in Cleveland, Ohio on May 21-23 for the 2024 Climate Leadership Conference. A list of our current (and expanding) speakers can be found on our website. Register now to get our final discounted rate.