Mayor's Office Press Release

Mayors Call on President for Climate Change in U.S.

June 18, 2015 -- The Mayors National Climate Action Agenda today called on President Obama to fight for the strongest possible climate agreement at the upcoming 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris, and for federal action to establish binding national greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the United States.

The nationwide coalition of mayors also announced it is launching a campaign to support the President and the U.S. delegation in Paris in pushing for strong action on climate change.

The Mayors National Climate Action Agenda made its call and committed to its campaign of support in a letter delivered to the White House today. Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced the letter at a climate change action event hosted by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee in his city on the eve of the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors there.

Mayor Parker co-founded the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. The three Mayors represent the largest cities on the Presidential Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

“The time for strong U.S. action is now. We look forward to standing with you here at home and in Paris to bring leadership and focus to the reality of climate change and to urge national dialogue and action,” the letter stated. “We are writing to call on you to act in the best interests of the American people and fight for the strongest possible climate agreement. The United States can and should be the leader in the transition to a clean energy economy.”

“Cities across the country are already taking the lead. But 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.”

“To support your leadership and assist you and the U.S. delegation in reaching the strongest possible agreement, we are launching a campaign today to engage with our constituents, elected officials and other stakeholders to help achieve … strong outcomes at the national and international levels, while building on municipal leadership on climate change.”

“Momentum is building for international coordination. COP21 represents a prime opportunity for American leadership. We recognize that local governments have a major role to play in reducing greenhouse gas levels. We are encouraged that there is interest on the part of COP 21 for having language in the final agreement that specifically pertains to cities.”

The Mayors National Climate Action Agenda also announced today that the organization now includes:

  • Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor
  • Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron
  • Austin Mayor Steve Adler
  • Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed
  • Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates
  • Boulder Mayor Matt Appelbaum
  • Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter
  • Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman
  • Denver Mayor Michael Hancock
  • Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell
  • Houston Mayor Annise Parker
  • Kansas City Mayor Sly James
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
  • Minneapolis Mayor Hodges
  • Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf
  • Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer
  • Park City Mayor Jack Thomas
  • Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter
  • Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton
  • Portland Mayor Charlie Hales
  • Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker
  • San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee
  • San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo
  • Seattle Mayor Ed Murray
  • Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone
  • Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland

The work of the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda in the U.S. is complemented at the international level by the Compact of Mayors, a global cooperative effort among mayors and city officials committed to reducing local greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing resilience to climate change, and tracking progress transparently. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, his Special Envoy Michael R. Bloomberg, and city networks including ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) are working together to highlight and engage cities in the lead up to COP21.

Please see the entire text of the letter below.

June 18, 2015

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As Mayors of 26 cities representing almost 20 million people, we write to thank you for your leadership on climate mitigation and resilience. As you said in your State of the Union speech, “No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.”

We are writing to call on you to act in the best interests of the American people and fight for the strongest possible climate agreement at the upcoming 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris, and for federal action to establish binding national greenhouse gas emissions reductions here at home. The United States can and should be the leader in the transition to a clean energy economy.

To support your leadership and assist you and the U.S. delegation in reaching the strongest possible agreement, we are launching a campaign today to engage with our constituents, elected officials and other stakeholders to help achieve these strong outcomes at the national and international levels, while building on municipal leadership on climate change.

As Mayors, we understand that we are stronger working together. That is why we have come together and created the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda (MNCAA) to help lead the way to a solution to global climate change. A changing and variable climate has tremendous implications for the livability, competitiveness and resilience of communities across the country. The extreme weather events we have all increasingly experienced in recent years and the future projections we face make it clear that we all share a common risk and commitment to safeguarding our communities.

The MNCAA is a mayor-to-mayor initiative to raise the collective voice of leading mayors, demonstrate the essential role of cities in working towards climate solutions, and build political will for U.S. leadership. This initiative, established by the Mayors of Houston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, includes the undersigned, and will continue to grow. The negotiations in Paris will be as challenging as they are critical to our cities’ environmental health and economic prosperity.

Cities across the country are already taking the lead. The cities we represent are working to take responsible steps to curb emissions and plan for the changing climate. Many of our cities have reached Kyoto commitments far ahead of states and the national government, and cities across the country are committing to binding targets, creating standardized inventories and climate action plans and laying the ground work for a municipal offset protocol. But 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. 

Despite the dangerous/irresponsible stalemate in Congress, climate change is not a policy debate in communities all across the United States. The effects of a changing climate are presenting a clear and present threat. Extreme weather is presenting itself more regularly, though it takes many forms—from droughts in the west, wildfires in the intermountain states, to flooding and snow storms in the east and coastal erosion in the Gulf states.

Momentum is building for international coordination. COP21 represents a prime opportunity for American leadership. We recognize that local governments have a major role to play in reducing greenhouse gas levels. We are encouraged that there is interest on the part of COP 21 for having language in the final agreement that specifically pertains to cities.

The time for strong U.S. action is now. We look forward to standing with you here at home and in Paris to bring leadership and focus to the reality of climate change and to urge national dialogue and action.

Sincerely,
ANN ARBOR MAYOR CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR
ASPEN MAYOR STEVE SKADRON 
AUSTIN MAYOR STEVE ADLER
ATLANTA MAYOR KASIM REED
BERKELEY MAYOR TOM BATES
BOULDER MAYOR MATT APPELBAUM
CHARLOTTE MAYOR DAN CLODFELTER
COLUMBUS MAYOR MICHAEL COLEMAN
DENVER MAYOR MICHAEL HANCOCK
FORT COLLINS MAYOR WADE TROXELL
HOUSTON MAYOR ANNISE PARKER
KANSAS CITY MAYOR SLY JAMES
LOS ANGELES MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI
MINNEAPOLIS MAYOR HODGES
OAKLAND MAYOR LIBBY SCHAAF
ORLANDO MAYOR BUDDY DYER
PARK CITY MAYOR JACK THOMAS
PHILADELPHIA MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER
PHOENIX MAYOR GREG STANTON
PORTLAND MAYOR CHARLIE HALES
SALT LAKE CITY MAYOR RALPH BECKER
SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR ED LEE
SAN JOSE MAYOR SAM LICCARDO
SEATTLE MAYOR ED MURRAY
SOMERVILLE MAYOR JOE CURTATONE
TACOMA MAYOR MARILYN STRICKLAND