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Survey Says Mayors Actively Curbing Climate Change in Their Cities
It's even better news to learn that they are actually making progress.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) on Tuesday released information from a survey revealing that two-thirds of participating municipal representatives reported quantifiable reductions in emissions from their city operations, while one-third reported progress on citywide emissions.
“This survey shows how mayors are again leading on an issue that is solidly before us as a nation and before us in our communities," said Bill Finch, the mayor of Bridgeport, CT who co-chairs the Conference’s Energy Independence and Climate Protection Task Force. "Mayors are doing many things, and mayors are doing great things, but mayors can’t do everything."
Nearly 300 mayors of cities of various sizes took the survey entitled, Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Actions in America’s Cities. It succeeds two other studies with data on energy efficiency in their cities, as well as how they invested federal stimulus funds in technologies to reduce energy use in their communities. Here are some additional findings from the latest survey:
- Forty percent of responding cities are working with residents to develop a climate adaptation plan.
- Just 11 percent of cities have conducted a greenhouse gas inventory, however 93 percent of those cities have data on emissions from cities operations and 66 percent on the entire city.
- Eighty-two percent of respondents listed LED lights/efficiency lighting as their choice for most promising technology.
- More than three-quarters of all cities in the survey have plans in place to respond to power outages
- Of cities with power outage plans that have experienced an outage in the last five years, half modified their energy emergency response plans, with another 10 percent adopting an entirely new response plan
“Mayors are united more than ever to tackle the problems associated with climate change," Carmel, IN Mayor Jim Brainard said. "When we started this effort in 2005, we thought we had more time to act.
"Climatic events of late tell us we have to accelerate our efforts at every level.”
The USCM's Climate Protection Agreement was created in 2005, with Brainard as one of the first signatories. It has received more than 1,060 signatures since then.
“While Washington is talking about cutting carbon to protect our planet, mayors and their constituents are taking action across the board with millions of Americans actually doing something about it,” said Tom Cochran, Executive Director and CEO of the USCM. “Our USCM Climate Center with 1060 mayors is leading the way and mayors across the globe are not waiting for their national governments. Others talk about the future; mayors are walking toward our future.
"They are making a difference. This survey proves it.”
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As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.