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Published: Fri, June 30, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

Local Actions Lead The Global Efforts To Address Climate Change

Local Actions Lead The Global Efforts To Address Climate Change

But some mayors quietly opted not to embrace the initiative.

In a meeting in the Belgium capital Brussels on Tuesday, Kasim Reed, the mayor of the southern U.S. city of Atlanta, said that Republican and Democratic mayors from 300 USA cities had unanimously agreed a day earlier to back the Paris Climate Agreement, disregarding Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the worldwide pact.

Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič made the appeal alongside Patricia Espinosa, the executive secretary of UNFCCC, the United Nations climate change secretariat, as well as several mayors - including the mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed, and Vancouver's Gregor Robertson - who came to Brussels for a board meeting of the Global Covenant of Mayors.

With almost 140 members, Metropolis, a World Association of the Major Metropolises, is the global network of major cities and metropolitan areas, which serves as the hub and platform for metropolises to connect, share experiences and mobilize on a wide range of local and global issues.

Facing off against the federal government on climate change is not new to the mayors' conference. Local leaders from coastal to landlocked communities are working to combat the rising impacts of a changing climate through transitioning themselves to low-carbon economies by reducing local greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing resilience. They vowed to cut carbon dioxide emissions in their cities 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

Mayors are responsible for protecting people's well-being, and they know that no city can tackle climate change alone. A few cities lowered the targets.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu speaks at the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting on Monday in Miami Beach, Florida.

The clean-energy resolution is one of the many measures that will be sent to Congress and the White House hoping to influence legislation. But while cities have made great strides, there's more that we can do. Long Beach, Calif., has seen emissions at its port drop considerably after allowing ships to plug into the electric grid. The fund, also announced at the Monday gathering, will be used to help promote city experiments and solutions to the nation's challenges, and help the nation's mayors become go-to guests on cable TV discussions on national politics. Climate protection, she said, is not a partisan issue, something she hears from her constituents.

"Everybody cares about the environment, and everybody wants clean air and clean water", Kautz told the New York Times. "What we did not have really was the level of cooperation, passion, and intensity until we saw our president's decision to withdraw".

"Local leaders are taking command in the fight against global warming even as the Trump administration tries to trample climate progress at home and overseas", said Chad Tudenggongbu, senior renewable energy campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, who co-sponsored the 100 per cent resolution, said: "We are showing the world that cities and mayors can and will lead the transition away from fossil fuels to 100 per cent clean, renewable energy".

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