Officials from cities and counties across the state met in Winston-Salem to talk about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental concerns, with the aim to accelerate ecological goals.   

The statewide collaborative effort is called the Cities Initiative, and it's led by the Environmental Defense Fund. It started back in 2018 as a cohort of 12 municipalities focused on climate change.

The program currently focuses on strategies at the local and state levels — things like carbon credit tracking, improving state transportation, and developing green banks that could help finance new energy projects.

Zach Ambrose is one of the organizers of Cities Initiative. He says he's hopeful that these programs will not have a financial impact on taxpayers.

“A lot of things really are a question of not new resources, but how resources are allocated, how resources are spent. I think the bulk of them wouldn't raise somebody's taxes or lower somebody's taxes, but would just open up new avenues, new tools in the tool kit,” says Ambrose.

Ambrose also says that members of the group will meet every six weeks to ensure the projects stay on track as they develop.

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