Bipartisan Group Reinforces Commitment to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Cities on Conference Call Today
Washington, D.C. – The nation’s mayors today said they are undeterred by the decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord and expressed their unwavering commitment to continue efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to alleviate the impacts of global warming despite what happens at the national level.
On a conference call today hosted by The U.S. Conference of Mayors, New Orleans (LA) Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who serves as USCM Vice President, stressed strong opposition to the withdrawal and explained that the bipartisan organization has taken an active role for many years to combat climate change. “From Kyoto to Paris to today, on behalf of the Conference, it is our collective opinion that withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord is a shortsighted decision. While we don’t necessarily disagree on ‘America First,’ it cannot be ‘America Only’ – pitting environmental protection against economic growth, which is a false choice. Mayors will do what we need to do on our own. This is not the first time when we have had to act without Washington.”
“We see the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord as an abdication of American leadership and America’s mayors will certainly fill that void,” said Phoenix (AZ) Mayor Greg Stanton, USCM Environment Committee Chair. “We will symbolically sign on and take actions necessary so that America meets its obligations under the Paris Accord, despite actions of this Administration. This is a local issue that mayors must come together on and we will not shirk our responsibilities. The eyes of the world are upon us and they are disappointed. We want to make sure that they are heartened by the actions of American mayors in a bipartisan way. America’s mayors are stepping up to the plate and taking on a greater international role as a result.”
Burnsville (MN) Mayor Elizabeth Kautz, USCM Past President said, “Mayors won’t quit. We care about the environment and energy efficiency. Mayors will make a difference. Mayors will come together to get this done. We must protect the planet.”
Kautz also underscored that the nation’s mayors will focus on this issue during The Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting this June 23-27 in Miami Beach, when they will gather to reaffirm their long-term commitment to addressing climate disruption and celebrate mayors who have made significant strides locally.
Carmel (IN) Mayor Jim Brainard, who serves as the Conference’s Energy Independence and Climate Protection Task Force Co-Chair, stressed the bipartisan efforts of mayors on this issue. “Eighty percent of Carmel votes Republican, but I have yet to meet a citizen who wants to drink dirty water, breathe dirty air and doesn’t want to leave the earth in better condition for their children and grandchildren. President Trump is measuring greatness by the wrong yard stick. We need to measure our greatness by our ability to provide clean water and clean air to our citizens.”
New Bedford (MA) Mayor Jon Mitchell, Conference Energy Committee Chair, said “New Bedford (MA) Mayor Jon Mitchell, Conference Energy Committee Chair, said “History will judge the President harshly on this decision. Mayors have and will continue to step into the void left by the federal government. Cities have led the way on clean energy. Our mayoral influence will be felt around the world because of the example we have set.”
Closing the call, Columbia (SC) Mayor Benjamin, USCM Second Vice President said, “Mayors across the country will continue to lead so we can protect our environment even from ourselves and present an America to our children that they deserve. Cities represent 75% of the world’s energy consumption, so the leadership we are seeing at the local level in cities across the country can make a huge difference. We would love to be partners with the Environment Protection Agency, but if we are required to be adversaries because the agency has decided to work against the public interest, then we are prepared 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.
See a sampling of USCM reports below:
“U.S. Mayors Report on a Decade of Global Climate Leadership” was issued on the eve of the COP21 in Paris where 35 U.S. mayors shared their stories on a decade of local climate leadership on their city efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Report includes Mayors Climate Protection Agreement and list of mayoral signatory cities)
“How Energy Technologies Are Reshaping America’s Cities” is a mayoral survey (178 mayors) providing data on how new energy technologies are being deployed in U.S. cities as part of the many ongoing efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
“Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Actions in America’s Cities“ is a mayoral survey (282 mayors) describing ongoing climate-related actions and practices in cities.
“Successful City Initiatives with Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Funding” is a mayoral survey (204 mayors) showing how ARRA-based funding was used to accelerate city energy and climate initiatives to cut greenhouse gases and secure other benefits in the wake of the 2008 economic downturn.