“Mayors have single-handedly taken action on climate protection efforts and in many cases, creatively launched local energy efficiency programs to help reduce our carbon footprint in American cities.” – Tom Cochran, CEO & Executive Director, U.S. Conference of Mayors
Mayors are on the front lines of impacting human behavior – from their work on recycling to public health initiatives, they are changing human behavior every day. This is one of many reasons why 1,060 mayors continue to join The U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement, vowing to reduce carbon emissions in their cities below 1990 levels, in line with the Kyoto Protocol. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels was the founder of this movement.
Under the leadership of The Conference, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program was conceived, making it possible for the first time in U.S. history, for cities, counties and states to receive grants specifically to fund energy-efficiency projects. This program was a top priority of the Mayors’ 10-Point Plan and the Mayors’ MainStreet Recovery Program. The Obama Administration earlier this year, acted to distribute $2.8 billion for EECBG, included in the Recovery Package (ARRA), which will benefit hundreds of U.S. cities.
Mayors Climate Protection Agreement
Scientific evidence and consensus continues to strengthen the idea that climate disruption is an urgent threat to the environmental and economic health of our communities. Many cities, in this country and abroad, already have strong local policies and programs in place to reduce global warming pollution, but more action is needed at the local, state, and federal levels to meet the challenge. On February 16, 2005 the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement to address climate disruption, became law for the 141 countries that have ratified it to date. On that day, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels launched this initiative to advance the goals of the Kyoto Protocol through leadership and action by at least 141 American cities.
By the 2005 U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting in June, 141 mayors had signed the Agreement – the same number of nations that ratified the Kyoto Protocol. In May of 2007, Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor became the 500th mayor to sign on.
Under the Agreement, participating cities commit to take following three actions:
- Strive to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets in their own communities, through actions ranging from anti-sprawl land-use policies to urban forest restoration projects to public information campaigns;
- Urge their state governments, and the federal government, to enact policies and programs to meet or beat the greenhouse gas emission reduction target suggested for the United States in the Kyoto Protocol — 7% reduction from 1990 levels by 2012; and
- Urge the U.S. Congress to pass the bipartisan greenhouse gas reduction legislation, which would establish a national emission trading system