The mayors of the United States aren’t waiting for President Donald Trump to deal with climate change.
Earlier today at the American Cities Conference, more than 250 Democratic and Republican mayors from across the country made an unprecedented commitment — achieving 100% renewable energy by 2035.
That’s more ambitious than any other time frame previously set within the US and reflects the ongoing trend of mayors leading the fight against climate change.
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“I think most mayors in America don’t think we have to wait for a president,” New Orleans mayor and new conference president Mitch Landrieu said at the beginning of the conference.
“There’s near unanimity in this conference that climate change is real and that humans contribute to it,” he went on. “There may be a little bit of a disagreement about how actually to deal with it.”
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The clean energy resolution was proposed by the Democratic mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, Steve Benjamin, and three other mayors, and it will be sent to the Trump administration and Congress in the hopes of spurring federal action.
Achieving 100% renewable energy will be a mammoth undertaking that will involve revamping infrastructure to be energy efficient, investing heavily in renewable technology throughout the country, and reforming waste management systems, to name a few.
While the motion on Monday isn’t binding, it’s not a hollow measure either — mayors across the US have been unusually active in the fight against climate change.
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They’ve been sharing best practices for sustainability on a global scale for years. For instance, the C40 is a group of more than 80 megacities from around the world expressly interested in fighting climate change. During the discussions for the Paris climate talks, mayors played a key role in securing many of the core provisions.
And in the wake of Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement, mayors immediately began reaching out to global peers to collaborate.
This long-term vision reflects the pragmatism that can be found in the world’s top cities. Many biggest cities of the world are coastal and are unusually susceptible to climate change. So for them, this isn’t a theoretical, “over-there” kind of risk — it’s very real.
“Mayors tend be pragmatist, not partisan,” former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a video announcement.
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US citizens want the country to take “aggressive action” on climate change and mayors are hearing that call loud and clear.
Bloomberg was there to announce a $200 million initiative to help cities deal with the problems of the future, most notably climate change.
The American Cities Initiative will support mayors' roles in building our nation’s reputation as a global superpower https://t.co/qQOsVTZQiOpic.twitter.com/Rtl25XAhKl— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) June 26, 2017
That level of investment will no doubt help move things along.