Monday, June 23, 2014

Mayors Sign Climate Protection Agreement, Endorse Innovative Climate Solutions

Kevin Johnson, at podium, Sacramento Mayor, President, The United States Conference of Mayors gestures as he responds to questions during a news conference at the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors as Columbus, Ohio Mayor Michael B. Coleman, center left, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, right, show their support, Friday, June 20, 2014, in Dallas. (Credit: AP/Tony Gutierrez) Click to enlarge.
Confronting climate change is a major agenda item at this week’s U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Dallas, Texas, including climate protection awards, climate panels, and a discussion with U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and U.S. DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz.  Mayors signed the latest version of the Climate Protection Agreement — endorsed by over 1,000 mayors, it supports a national goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 amongst other things.

On Sunday, attendees will also vote on a resolution encouraging cities to use natural solutions to fight climate change and “protect freshwater supplies, defend the nation’s coastlines, maintain a healthy tree cover and protect air quality.”

Democratic mayors from the Republican-leaning states Texas and Arizona, including Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, have backed the resolution.  The conference is nearly split between Republican and Democratic mayors and the resolution only encourages action rather than mandating it.  Leffingwell told the Associated press he thinks it will pass quickly, saying he thinks “the best strategy is not to get involved in partisan politics.”

Coming on the heels on the EPA’s recently unveiled Clean Power Plan that proposes carbon-pollution limits on existing power plants, states are already engaged in a heated debate over their role in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.  By taking action at a more local level, mayors can lead by example and avoid some of the political trappings that accompany efforts to initiate change at the state or national level.

Mayors Sign Climate Protection Agreement, Endorse Innovative Climate Solutions

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