LOS ANGELES, CA. – The founders of the Mayors’ National Climate Action Agenda (MNCAA) -- L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, and Houston Mayor Annise Parker -- joined more than 60 mayors in issuing a video and statement today that backs “the strongest possible” international agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
"Reaching a strong deal in Paris starts with us," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "Cities are responsible for 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, and around the world mayors are leading the way in fighting climate change and creating more sustainable, livable communities."
Advocacy group Environment America produced the video in coordination with MNCAA, a domestic initiative designed to demonstrate the essential role of cities in climate change solutions and build political will for U.S. leadership. MNCAA launched their #ClimateMayors social media campaign on the eve of the final 100 days to the start of the UN climate talks in Paris which start on November 30.
The video, which encourages more cities to join with their fellow #ClimateMayors, comes as mayors plan to join other leaders next week in Paris for the 21stConference of Parties, or COP21, where it’s hoped an international plan can be crafted to aggressively cut pollution and spur faster development of clean energy sources such as wind and solar.
According to the United Nations Human Settlement Program, cities are home to half the world’s population, and create the bulk of the world’s global warming pollution. From rising seas to wildfires to drought, mayors and other local officials are also often on the front lines of global warming’s most negative impacts.
“Cities are not only feeling the problem, they’re part of the problem,” Houston Mayor Annise Parker says in the video.
“But cities can be part of the solution,” continues Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter in the video, which also includes activists calling for bold climate action in multiple languages.
In the letter to be delivered to the White House, the founders of MNCAA along with 63 other mayors said, “cities across the country are already taking the lead,” and have reached national pollution reduction targets ahead of state and national governments.”
“But,” the mayors wrote, “we cannot act alone. We need the federal government to provide a path forward to making meaningful reductions in carbon pollution while preparing for the impacts of climate change.”
The push from the mayors comes as Congress continues its assault on the federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants that are the centerpiece of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. Last week the full Senate and a key House committee voted to repeal the Clean Power Plan, and a full vote in the House is expected next week.
While the Clean Power Plan is expected to survive these attacks, opponents to climate action have made clear their aim is to undermine the President’s negotiating authority in Paris. The mayors wrote in their letter, however, that the congressional attacks didn’t reflect the posture of most Americans on the threat of global warming.
Leading up to COP21, more than 150 countries making up more than 90 percent of the world’s climate pollution have pledged pollution reductions. Scientists say worldwide greenhouse gas pollution must be cut upwards of 80 percent to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change.
“We urge world leaders to chart a course for 100 percent clean energy to solve the climate crisis,” said Madeline Page, outreach director for Environment America’s Global Warming Solutions program. “And it’s inspiring to see mayors from across the U.S representing millions of Americans pushing President Obama to lead the way to a bold climate agreement.”