Vow Continued Commitment to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The United States Conference of Mayors strongly opposes President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord and has vowed that the nation’s mayors will continue their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to alleviate the impacts of global warming.
“The U.S. Conference of Mayors is a strong proponent of the need to address climate change and we support the Paris agreement, which positions the world’s nations, including the United States, to be energy independent, self-reliant, and resilient,” said Phoenix (AZ) Mayor Greg Stanton, Chair of USCM’s Environment Committee. “A thriving economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are compatible by focusing on new technology, investing in renewable fuel sources, and increasing our energy efficiency.”
In December 2015, 464 mayors from 115 countries gathered in Paris, France to affirm their commitment to address climate disruption. See USCM’s report, U.S. Mayors Report on a Decade of Global Climate Leadership, released in Paris, here.
“Climate change is one of the greatest threats to our coastal communities, nation, and world, and we need coordinated action at all levels of government to meet the scale of its challenge,” said New Orleans (LA) Mayor Mitch Landrieu, USCM Vice President. “Here in Louisiana, we face a triple threat: subsidence, coastal erosion, and sea level rise. If unchecked, New Orleans, like many coastal cities, will cease to exist. A federal withdrawal from the Paris Agreement is shortsighted and will be devastating to Americans in the long run. We need to work together to transition to a low-carbon economy that not only helps manage our climate risk, but also creates new businesses, jobs, and wealth. Cities need to keep our commitment to our communities and to each other. The U.S. Conference of Mayors stands with thousands of mayors on the front lines and will continue to fight at the local level for global impact.”
At its Annual Meeting in June 2016, the Conference reiterated mayors’ support for the Paris Climate Accord and the economic and health benefits to stronger climate policy on our communities and passed a policy resolution supporting the agreement along with other local, national and international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Dozens of our country’s cities have already united to implement measures that combat climate change, so the President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement is not representative of our nation’s leaders and their communities,” said Columbia (SC) Mayor Steve Benjamin, USCM Second Vice President. “As Mayors, we commit to protecting the planet that we will leave to the next generations, finding innovative solutions for renewable energy and working so that our communities are kept free of hazardous emissions.”
The 2016 resolution passed by the nation’s Mayors called for:
- Strong federal action to achieve the U.S. commitments under the Paris Agreement;
- Local action to achieve the targets in the Paris Agreement;
- Expanded federal funding to transform transportation systems to be clean and low carbon, including funding for expanding transit and electrifying mobility for people and goods through strategies that prioritize equitable outcomes;
- Federal tax credits for solar, wind, and geothermal renewable energy resources to grow high-wage American jobs and reduce air pollution; and
- Federal action, including funding, to help cities prepare for the impacts of climate change, such as increased flooding, extreme heat and drought.
USCM Energy Chair New Bedford (MA) Mayor Jon Mitchell, added, “The solutions to climate change present economic opportunities in clean energy, efficient technology, and low-carbon products and services, all of which can create jobs in the United States. U.S. mayors have committed their cities to address climate change and will continue to do so.”
Since 2005, the Conference has been a leader on the issue of climate change by passing numerous policies, holding several summits, as well as spearheading a bipartisan effort where more than 1,000 mayors committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their individual communities.
USCM Past President Burnsville (MN) Mayor Elizabeth Kautz elaborated on the Conference’s history of involvement. “The U.S. Conference of Mayors took the lead to protect our planet due to climate change when our national government did not sign onto the Kyoto Protocol. Former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels rallied the Mayors of America to sign The U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Agreement. During my Presidency, I took our message to the European Union and worked to support the creation and partnership with the European Union’s Covenant of Mayors. We then took our message to the Mayors of China and worked together on the Sino-US Mayors Memorandum of Understanding in 2013. Mayors care about energy efficiency and continue to do the right thing to protect our planet for future generations. The U.S. Conference of Mayors continues to lead the way and make a difference in protecting our planet through our actions.”
“The nation’s mayors have never waited on Washington to act, and have been strong proponents of action on climate for decades,” said USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran. “Mayors will continue to harness their collective power to continue to lead the nation on this critical issue, regardless of what happens at the national level.”