The U.S. Conference of Mayors


WHEREAS, as evidenced by recent reports by the International Panel on Climate Change, the scientific consensus is increasingly clear that climate disruption is happening, that it is human-induced, and that we need strong, immediate and sustained action to avert the most severe environmental, health and economic impacts on our communities and nation; and

WHEREAS, cities must -- and do -- play a critical role in the fight against global warming, both as laboratories for climate solutions and as first responders to climate impacts;

WHEREAS, more than 500 mayors representing more than 65 million people across the country already have signed onto the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, pledging to take local action to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their communities, and to support stronger federal policy and action, as well; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Conference of Mayors has established a Mayors' Climate Protection Task Force and a Climate Protection Center to increase and support participation in the Agreement; and

WHEREAS, many other public and private institutions are taking similar action, through efforts such as the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment and the Cool Counties Initiative; and

WHEREAS, many states and cities are taking strong, collaborative action to reduce climate pollution through programs such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (in which 11 Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states are participating) and the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative (in which six western states are participating);

WHEREAS, the US Climate Action Partnership, whose members include Alcoa, BP America, Duke Energy, General Electric and Lehman Brothers, along with the Natural Resources Defense Council, environmental Defense and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, has called on Congress to specify a target aimed at reducing emissions by 60 percent to 80 percent from current levels by 2050; and

WHEREAS, a growing number of economic studies, such as the 2007 Stern Report by British economist Sir Nicholas Stern, suggest that the costs of climate disruption to the global economy are likely to far exceed the costs of taking action to reduce the emissions that cause the problem;

WHEREAS, a Military Advisory Board of 11 retired admirals and generals released a study called "National Security and the Threat of Climate Change," which found climate change to be a "threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world," creating breeding grounds for extremism and terrorism and found that climate change raised tensions even in stable regions and presented a serious national security threat that could affect Americans at home and impact US military operations; and

WHEREAS, while these and similar efforts make a difference and must continue, stronger federal policy and action is urgently necessary to avoid more severe environmental and economic impacts in our communities and nation, and to prepare for and respond to climate impacts; and

WHEREAS, to help guide federal policy and action, more than a dozen mayors around the nation developed a US Mayors' Federal Climate Policy Framework, which reads: The U.S. Mayors' Federal Climate Policy Framework Global climate disruption poses significant and urgent challenges to America's cities, ranging from increased strain on our water supply and storm water management systems to more frequent and dangerous weather events, and heat waves. At the same time, the transition to more climate-friendly technologies and development practices presents exciting economic opportunities for our communities -- and for the nation as-a-whole -- ranging from cost-savings for our families and businesses to new prospects for our companies and entrepreneurs. Meeting these challenges, and seizing these opportunities, is a shared responsibility -- a partnership. Success will require an unprecedented collaboration among all levels of government, as well as the private and nonprofit sectors -in the U.S. and around the world. We mayors are striving to do our part. We have signed the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, pledging not only to support strong state and federal climate protection policies, but to take direct action to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our own communities. And we are taking action. We are implementing climate-friendly land-use policies and investing in public transportation and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. We are aggressively promoting energy and water conservation and recycling. We are committing to climate-friendly building, fleet management and purchasing practices, in our governments and in our communities. We are educating and engaging our residents and our businesses. And much more. We need support from the federal government, in the form of a strong federal regulatory and policy framework, substantial research and development on climate-friendly technologies, and funding for cities striving both to reduce emissions and to manage the impacts of climate disruption on our infrastructure and communities. We call upon the 110th Congress and the Executive Branch of the federal government to partner with us to meet the global warming challenge, and to fully capitalize on the enormous opportunities inherent in the transition to a clean-energy, low-carbon economy. We ask you to make the issue one of your top priorities. Specifically, we call for action in these five areas: a. National reduction target and program We need a national target for greenhouse gas emissions reductions that will protect our communities from dangerous climate disruption: 80% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. In addition, we need a market-based system that will help drive innovation and economic development in our communities. We support a national program that: achieves the target of 80% reductions by 2050; covers multiple sectors of the economy; includes flexibility mechanisms to foster creative approaches, allow for the least-cost means of achieving the cap, and guard against spikes in the price of carbon; recognizes that different regions of the country will be affected differently from the design of a cap and trade system; and rewards energy efficiency, renewable energy, innovative energy technologies (including research and development), and early-actors. b. Climate-Friendly Transportation and Land Use Policies We need federal transportation and land-use policies that will reduce air pollution and climate disruption in and around our cities; improve the health of those who live, work and play in our communities; and provide affordable mobility for our residents and businesses. We support climate-friendly transportation and land-use policies that: Promote compact, transit-, bicycle-, and pedestrian-friendly urban communities; Significantly increase average fuel efficiency of the entire U.S. fleet in the near-term; Aggressively support the development and use of renewable bio-based vehicle fuels and electric vehicles such as plug-in hybrids; Substantially reduce the number of miles that the U.S. fleet drives while making mobility more affordable, easier and more accessible; Increase public transit, bicycling and walking opportunities; Significantly increase the overall efficiency of the entire U.S. transportation system-including airplanes, boats, railroad, buses, and trucks-for both people and goods. c. Climate-Friendly Energy Policies We need federal energy policies that will reduce air pollution and climate disruption in and around our cities, save our residents and businesses money by lowering energy costs, bolster local economic development by creating jobs and new business opportunities in our communities, and increase the reliability and safety of our energy infrastructure. We support climate-friendly energy policies and investments that: Fund and implement widespread efficiency and conservation efforts in all sectors and make resources available to municipalities to carry out local conservation programs; Aggressively promote energy-efficient technologies and significantly increase the energy efficiency of the built environment; and Substantially increase the production of renewable energy. d. Climate-Friendly Federal Government Facilities & Operations We mayors have found leadership-by-example on climate protection to be a very powerful tool, not only for reducing climate pollution in our cities, but also for saving money, accelerating local markets for climate-friendly products and services, and inspiring others to reduce emissions. The federal government must lead by example as well. We support policies and programs such as the following: Conduct a greenhouse gas emissions inventory of the Federal government's operations and facilities, set a reduction target, and track and report periodically on progress; Develop a federal procurement policy to ensure that all products purchased are as climate-friendly as possible; Transition federal vehicle fleets to highly fuel efficient and/or alternative fuel vehicles; Require that all new or remodeled federal buildings, including all building projects that receive federal funding, meet the American Institute of Architects' "2030 Challenge." e. Managing climate impacts on local communities While we must remain vigilant in our efforts to reduce global warming pollution, we also must prepare for the impacts of climate disruption that may occur -- and in some cases already are occurring -- in our cities. We need federal policies and funding that will enable local communities to identify their vulnerabilities in the face of the climate disruption, and that will support local efforts to minimize, prepare for and adapt to these impacts. Examples include: Fund research that will identify in greater detail the most likely local effects of climate change; Require that all long-range federal planning and projects- including planning for emergency response systems, transportation infrastructure, national security and so on- take climate change into full consideration; and Provide funding for efforts of local communities to adapt major infrastructure (such as water, sewer, transportation, and electricity) for climate change.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors endorses 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050 as the necessary and appropriate goal for our nation -- and the long-term target toward which our individual communities also should strive.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference endorses the US Mayors' Federal Climate Policy Framework, and urges the U.S. Congress and the federal government to incorporate this Framework into the development of all federal policies and programs on climate protection. Project Cost: Unknown

2007 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352