In Support of a National Price on Carbon Emissions

Adopted at the 87th Annual Meeting in 2019

  • WHEREAS, the National Climate Assessment is a report of the U.S. Global Change Research Program delivered to Congress and the President on a recurring basis; and

    WHEREAS, the Fourth National Climate Assessment, released in 2017/18, was informed by a team of more than 300 federal and non-federal experts along with policy review by 13 federal agencies; and

    WHEREAS, the Fourth National Climate Assessment aligns with previous assessments and the global scientific consensus in finding that global temperatures are increasing rapidly and the evidence consistently points to human activities, especially the emissions of greenhouse gases, as the dominant cause; and

    WHEREAS, the Fourth National Climate Assessment finds that climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth; and

    WHEREAS, the Fourth National Climate Assessment finds that in the absence of more significant global carbon mitigation efforts, it is very likely that some physical and ecological impacts of climate change will be irreversible for thousands of years, while others will be permanent; and

    WHEREAS, communities are already experiencing the local effects of climate change through increased heat waves, changes in water systems, extreme weather events, dangerous wildfires and other disruptions that threaten residents; and

    WHEREAS, studies show that low income communities and communities of color are disproportionately harmed by the threats of climate change and climate disruption threatens equitable outcomes and erodes opportunity in communities; and

    WHEREAS, municipal budgets and operations are negatively impacted by climate disruptions that consume and constrain resources and hinder the ability to serve communities; and

    WHEREAS, cities and municipalities have demonstrated their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a variety of policies and projects incorporating energy efficiency, renewable energy development, electrified transportation and other measures that mitigate climate change; and

    WHEREAS, the transition to low-carbon, renewable energy resources will provide a range of additional co-benefits including enhanced public health, increased national and energy security, local clean energy jobs, reduced reliance on finite resources and many other positive outcomes; and

    WHEREAS, local carbon reduction goals of communities must be complemented by national level policies such as carbon pricing in order to promote energy efficiency and accelerate clean energy investments on timescales required by science-based emissions reduction targets; and

    WHEREAS, the need to transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy can be accelerated through a price on carbon emissions that will spur innovation and reduce reliance on foreign energy sources; and

    WHEREAS, a price on carbon emissions would encourage and empower households and businesses to invest in energy efficiency, conservation and domestic carbon-free energy sources; and

    WHEREAS, economists are in general agreement that market-based mechanisms such as carbon pricing will create price signals that efficiently inform energy investment decisions, and

    WHEREAS, the goal of the Paris Agreement is to mobilize an international response to the crisis of climate change through the creation of national policies that avoid highly dangerous planetary warming and this ambition requires swift action by participating nations.

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the United States Conference of Mayors strongly urges the United States Congress to pass legislation that imposes a price on carbon emissions sufficient enough to reduce carbon emissions in line with ambitions detailed in the Paris Agreement on climate change.

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