MUNICIPAL AND NATIONAL COMMITMENT TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE GASES

WHEREAS, the scientific community has reached a consensus that human activities are impacting the Earth's climate which has already warmed by a half to one full degree Fahrenheit during the 20th century with the potential of much greater warming in the 21st century; and

WHEREAS, global climate change is caused by emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide from energy used by the business, transportation, and residential sectors, as well as methane from the decay of waste; and

WHEREAS, global climate change caused by greenhouse gases threaten the health and safety of our cities and communities; and

WHEREAS, while global climate change is a national and international issue, there are opportunities for local governments and others to reduce these negative consequences for cities; and

WHEREAS, global climate change, is linked to emerging infectious diseases, like West Nile virus, which place a growing burden on cities and communities to engage in measures to protect the health of residents; and

WHEREAS, global climate change is also associated with air pollution and elevated rates of respiratory problems such as asthma and lung cancer; and

WHEREAS, global climate change could also increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events that result in costly disasters such as flooding and severe drought; and

WHEREAS, recognizing that mayors are uniquely situated to lead national climate protection efforts by taking action in a broad range of areas; and

WHEREAS, more aggressive energy conservation efforts can save money and resources, and the promotion of cleaner energy technologies can stimulate local industries and provide jobs; and

WHEREAS, many mayors are already pursuing programs and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their cities and communities, including more than 125 local governments that have committed to assessing emissions, setting a specific reduction target for greenhouse gas emissions and monitoring progress,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on cities and communities to join the commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by adopting policies that encourage energy conservation and a reduction in municipal energy use, by adopting standards for energy efficiency in buildings and use of renewable energy resources, and by reducing fuel consumption through broader commitments to public transit and other alternatives to automobiles; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Conference recommends that the federal government continue its climate research to improve scientific understanding of global climate change and continue to assess the potential economic and environmental consequences of proposed policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Conference believes that state and federal government should provide new resources and incentives to local governments for the implementation of greenhouse gas reduction measures and for local energy and air pollution research to develop new, cost-effective approaches that minimize greenhouse gas emissions and engage in public-private partnerships that foster innovative technologies to combat global climate change.