U.S. Mayors Step Up for Climate Change

24 August 2015 | World Wildlife Fund News Release

WASHINGTON, DC –– A coalition of U.S. mayors and city officials announced today that they will join the UN Conference of Parties (COP) meeting in Paris in December to showcase their cities’ climate leadership and call for an ambitious international agreement that addresses our climate crisis and supports further action at the local level.

This group of mayors, called the Local Climate Leaders Circle, includes mayors of Atlanta, Boulder, Chula Vista, Columbus, Des Moines, Grand Rapids, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, West Palm Beach, and councilmembers from Santa Monica and King County, Wash.

The Leaders Circle is coordinated in partnership by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, National League of Cities, and U.S. Green Building Council in association with the Compact of Mayors and C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. The Leaders Circle works alongside city officials from across the United States to advance their local climate goals. The partners are working closely with these cities on a range of efforts including updating measurements of their greenhouse gas emissions, preparing local projects to better access needed financing, engaging citizens on climate action, and meeting with high-level representatives from the U.S. government and international community to advance a climate accord that benefits city action, recognizing that the most ambitious local goals can only be achieved alongside an enabling national and international framework.

“Supporting a global climate agreement is critically important for cities around the world,” said National League of Cities President Ralph Becker, Mayor, Salt Lake City. “I’m honored and encouraged that so many of my fellow city leaders have joined in this mission for their residents and the thousands of communities throughout the nation.”

The members of the Local Climate Leaders Circle have committed to the Compact of Mayors, a global coalition of mayors and city officials pledging to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, enhance resilience to climate change, and track their progress transparently.

“These twelve cities deserve great credit for acting quickly to confront climate change,” said Michael Bloomberg, United Nations Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change and former mayor of New York City. “By drawing attention to the work cities around the world are doing – and helping them speed their progress – the Leaders Circle can help set the stage for a successful climate change summit in Paris later this year.”

“National governments are making important commitments ahead of Paris, but they can’t do it alone. To close the gap between current national pledges and a safer future, we need everyone in the game. These cities already have goals and action plans that show the way toward the stronger action we need,” said Lou Leonard, WWF’s vice president of climate change. “As first responders to the expensive and growing impacts of climate change, it makes sense that mayors are way ahead on this challenge.”

“Mayors and county officials are widely recognized for playing an exemplary role in tackling climate change on different fronts. Many communities have made measurable cuts in emissions by reforming policies and regulations related to polluting sectors like energy and transportation, and have also led by example in their own municipal operations,” said Brian Holland, Director of Climate Programs, ICLEI USA.

“These leading mayors will share examples of how local solutions are playing a critical role to address the truly global challenges related to climate change,” said National League of Cities CEO Clarence E. Anthony. “Our goal is for the Local Climate Leaders Circle partners to share the experiences and best practices learned in Paris with city leaders across the nation to inspire their peers to reach higher to mitigate climate change.”

“From Atlanta to West Palm Beach, cities across the U.S. are eager to take action on climate change and improving the performance of the building stock is a key component to reaching their greenhouse gas reduction goals,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). “Buildings account for 30 percent or more of total carbon emissions, so many cities look to building retrofits to reduce their carbon footprint and spur job creation. We are proud of the fact that many cities across the globe choose LEED certification as the pathway to saving energy, water and money while also promoting the increase of renewable and clean energy across their local economies.”

This Local Climate Leaders Circle is a project of the Resilient Communities for America campaign founded by the Leaders Circle partners which has collected over 200 pledges from local elected officials across the U.S. toward building cities and towns that can bounce back from extreme weather, and economic challenges.

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