In New York, as world leaders come together for the opening of the UN General Assembly and a special gathering on climate change, Mayor Annise Parker is joining other big city mayors in forming a Mayors National Climate Action Agenda. (Video: KRPC 2 News)
In a related release from her office, the Mayor further outlines the rationale and goals for this new initiative.
Mayor Annise Parker Launches Mayors National Climate Action Agenda with Los Angeles and Philadelphia
With acknowledgment that cities are responsible for 70 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions and therefore on the front lines of climate change, Mayor Annise Parker, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter are launching the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda. The mayors recognized the urgency for action while serving on President Obama’s Climate Preparedness and Resiliency Task Force. All three cities and many others have dealt with extreme weather in recent years, including record droughts, flooding and storm surges.
By calling for national and international binding emission reductions agreements, establishing stronger inventory standards and reporting, committing to a set of local actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and growing the carbon offset market by removing barriers to municipal offset projects, the Mayors’ National Climate Action Agenda is intended to demonstrate that emission reduction projects are not only viable, but essential initiatives that must be embraced and scaled across the country. To ensure the Climate Action Agenda reaches as many cities as possible, Mayors Parker, Garcetti and Nutter will initiate a mayor-to-mayor, city-to-city outreach effort to bring mayors together over the coming year to develop a shared framework for local leadership and action.
“Mayors are uniquely compelled and equipped to lead on the fight to stem climate change, as well as to adapt to it and prepare for the impacts of global warming,” said Mayor Parker. “Houston has shown strong leadership in reducing our emissions by 32% since 2007. Houston has proven that it can maintain its title as the energy capital of the world while at the same time pursuing green policies that lift our reputation as a leader in sustainability. Our achievement is a great start, but we must not stop there. Along with Mayors Garcetti and Nutter, I will work to ensure hundreds of Mayors join our effort.”
In addition to current GHG reductions, Mayor Parker has committed to another aggressive 10 percent reduction by 2016.
The planned conversion of 165,000 streetlights to LED technology and Houston’s ongoing position as the largest municipal purchaser of renewable energy in the nation are producing strong results in emissions reductions and helping to improve quality of life for Houston’s residents. In addition, Houston is focused on a $4 billion commitment to expand its rail, bus and BRT system, and has launched a $205 million Bayou Greenways initiative that will add 4000 acres of new greenspace that can also serve the dual purpose of providing recreation and flood control.
“Over the last few years, Houston has emerged as a leader in clean energy and carbon pollution reduction,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas, a statewide non-profit advocacy group. “But there’s a lot more work to be done and I’m excited to see Mayor Parker throw down the gauntlet and call for cities across the U.S. to rise to the challenge in the fight against global warming.”
“Cities are uniquely positioned to act on climate change because their actions and initiatives can realize real GHG reductions,” said Brian Yeoman, Houston Director, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, Houston Director. “Mayor Annise Parker and her colleagues from L.A. and Philadelphia understand this and are constantly working to reduce emissions, whether it’s a comprehensive LED streetlight conversion, energy efficiency retrofits or spending billions of dollars on adding green space and improving public transportation.”
“As Americans increasingly see the effects of climate disruption in their own communities, our mayors are stepping up and making a critical contribution in the fight to reduce emissions and develop clean energy. The Sierra Club and our more than 2.4 million members and supporters applaud this initiative that provides a platform for mayors to take real action to protect some of our most vulnerable communities,” said Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club.
“The Obama administration has taken important actions to combat climate change, in the form of tightened coal-fired power plant emissions standards and vehicle fuel efficiency standards,” said Michael Mann, Professor of Meteorology, Pennsylvania State University. “But equally important are the efforts taking place at the local level. Most promising of all is the newly unveiled Mayors National Climate Change Action Agenda. This effort is led by mayors representing some of our largest cities including Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Mayor Annise Parker of Houston, and Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter. It is a bold plan that promises to help the U.S. meet our obligation to lower our carbon emissions and help stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations before they reach dangerous levels.”