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Mayors May Shape US Climate Policy     06/24 10:04

   MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- With the Trump administration's withdrawal from 
the Paris climate accords, national policy on climate change will emerge from 
U.S. cities working to reduce emissions and become more resilient to rising sea 
levels, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said at the annual U.S. Conferences of 
Mayors meeting in Miami Beach.

   The conference supported the Paris agreement, and according to preliminary 
results released Saturday morning from an ongoing nationwide survey, the vast 
majority of U.S. mayors want to work together and with the private sector to 
respond to climate change.

   "There's near unanimity in this conference that climate change is real and 
that humans contribute to it. There may be a little bit of a disagreement about 
how actually to deal with it," said Landrieu, who will replace Oklahoma City 
Mayor Mick Cornett as conference president this weekend.

   "If the federal government refuses to act or is just paralyzed, the cities 
themselves, through their mayors, are going to create a new national policy by 
the accumulation of our individual efforts," he said.

   A May survey of local sustainability efforts, conducted by the conference 
and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, initially only included 80 
mayors who hold leadership positions within the conference. It was extended to 
all conference members and the mayors of about 1,400 cities with populations of 
30,000 or more after President Donald Trump pulled the country out of the Paris 
agreement.

   Cities still have months to respond to the questionnaire on low-carbon 
transportation options, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, but 
the data received so far from 66 cities in 30 states showed 90 percent were 
interested in forming partnerships with other local governments to create 
climate plans, implement transportation programs or procure equipment such as 
electric vehicles.

   The responses have come from cities ranging in size from 21,000 people in 
Pleasantville, New Jersey, to New York City's 8.5 million. According to the 
survey, the majority of those cities want to buy or already bought green 
vehicles, and most also have energy efficiency policies for new and existing 
municipal buildings.

   "I think most mayors in America don't think we have to wait for president," 
whose beliefs on climate change are disconnected from science, Landrieu said.

   Traditional energy sources still dominate, but the survey noted that more 
cities could use renewable electricity if their states passed legislation. 
Forty-seven cities spent nearly $1.2 billion annually on electricity for city 
operations, and "with this level of purchasing power, coordinated efforts or 
shifts in demand from U.S. cities will be of interest to energy utilities and 
provides," the survey said.

   New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that U.S. cities too often find 
themselves alone when trying to address the local effects of climate change.

   De Blasio joined Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine on a tour of a South Beach 
neighborhood where the city raised streets and installed pumps to send up to 
120,000 gallons of water a minute flowing back into Biscayne Bay. The project 
--- aimed at keeping the island city dry amid rising seas --- has received 
national attention, but Levine noted that not all communities can afford to 
fight climate change without state or federal funding.

   "But if we don't do it, who's going to do it, right?" de Blasio said. 
"Cities and states around the country are now doing the kinds of things the 
national government should do. It's just that we can't depend on our national 
government anymore."


(KA)

 
 
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