Cities are well positioned to help address carbon pollution and climate change because they’re on the front lines of being impacted by it. Regional and local actions are often the most effective way, and sometimes the only way, to enact widespread change.
Cities are a big part of the climate change solution for America. They typically have closer relationships with companies and organizations than the federal government has, and can often therefore affect change faster, such as implementing new technologies.
The United States Conference of Mayors is one such organization working towards positive change in our cities.
Mayors are Working Together on Climate Change Solutions
American mayors are stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility for greening their cities and, by extension, the country.
The United States Conference of Mayors began in 1932 in response to the Great Depression. Since then, it has been a successful and powerful tool for coordinating movements and creating and implementing problem-solving policies. Every mayor of a city with a population of more than 30,000 is a member, meaning there are currently 1,408 mayors (or other chief elected official) in this non-partisan organization.
This June, the Conference met in Boston for its 86th annual meeting, where the mayors reaffirmed their commitment to renewable energy. Before that, the organization had formed its Energy Standing Committee, which focuses on bringing energy efficiency to America’s cities and energy independence to the United States. Among many issues, the Committee’s priorities include national climate change legislation and renewable energy policy. The policy positions adopted at their annual meetings, like at this recent meeting in Boston, collectively represent the views of the nation's mayors, and are distributed to the President of the United States and Congress.
How many cities are working to convert to 100-percent renewable energy usage? The number has doubled since last year. In 2017, U.S. Conference of Mayors, under pressure from the Sierra Club and former New York Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, adopted a resolution calling on its 1,481 member cities to shift to 100-percent renewable energy. So far, 70 cities and 201 more mayors have committed to the 100-percent renewable energy goal. Working toward that goal will include making buildings and processes more energy-efficient and dramatically improving infrastructures for clean and renewable energy sources.
Bringing Renewable Energy to All Americans
Worth noting is that regardless of political party affiliation, more mayors and citizens across the country support action on climate change, including the adoption of more renewable energy. Both Democrats and Republicans are taking action in their communities and via policy support to address and tackle climate change challenges, even if their approaches differ.
Organizations like the U.S. Conference of Mayors are bringing together key stakeholders for climate and energy discussions and solutions. It’s one of many efforts underway in this country to create a cleaner, more sustainable future.
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