Today at their summer gathering, the United States Conference of Mayors formally adopted a resolution introduced by Mayor Jackie Biskupski, urging congressional action to combat the impact of climate change through a national price on carbon emissions.
Resolution 66 asks Congress to adopt legislation that imposes a price on carbon emissions sufficient enough to reduce carbon emissions in line with ambitions detailed in the Paris Agreement on climate change. The resolution cites the most recent National Climate Assessment, competed by the U.S. Global Change Research Program and delivered to Congress and the President, which makes clear that without significant global mitigation efforts, some physical and ecological impacts of climate change will be irreversible.
Carbon pricing is a cost applied to carbon pollution that seeks to encourage households and businesses to invest in energy efficiency, conservation, and carbon-free energy sources. Economists are in general agreement that a market-based mechanism such as carbon pricing is needed to create price signals that will inform energy investment.
“We need our elected leaders in Washington to do what many of us as mayors are already doing at home: Move swiftly to adopt policies to mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure the long-term health of our environment,” Mayor Biskupski said. “A national price on carbon emissions is the number one thing that Congress can do to begin to mitigate the impacts of climate change. If done right, a price on carbon will not only help clean the environment, it will create jobs all around America.”
“Mayors are on the front lines of climate change. They’re dealing with the on-the-ground impacts every day, and they know people in their cities want action,” said Andres Jimenez, Senior Director of Government Affairs for Citizens Climate Lobby. “We’re encouraged to see the Conference of Mayors working together across party lines on this important issue—it’s simply too big an issue for partisanship.”
While no specific legislation was endorsed in the USCM Resolution, Mayor Biskupski has endorsed H.R. 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, a bipartisan bill currently before Congress. The proposed policy would place a fee on fossil fuels with the money collected allocated to Americans in equal shares. It has been estimated that a carbon dividend would reduce carbon emissions 40% over the next 12 years while creating 2.1 million local jobs.
In April, Mayor Biskupski traveled to Washington with other mayors to testify before the U.S. Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change to ask for more investment from the federal government to help local communities do more.
The Mayor’s congressional testimony was a precursor to the resolution she brought before the gathering of U.S mayors in Hawaii this week.
The resolution notes that local communities have already begun implementing policies and projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and that municipal budgets and operations have been negatively impacted by climate disruptions.
“As mayors we are all committed to working hard on this issue, but we cannot do it alone,” Mayor Biskupski said. “We need Congress to enact federal laws that will support our work and spur the kind of American innovation and market-based solutions that will slow and eventually stop the progression of climate change.”
On Friday, the U.S. Conference of Mayors recognized Salt Lake City’s climate efforts, specifically honoring the City for its collaborative approach in developing and passing first of its kind legislation to allow communities to work with an investor-owned utility on 100% renewable energy goals.
Joining Mayor Biskupski as co-sponsors of Resolution 66 were mayors, Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Bill de Blasio of New York, Thomas K. Butt of Richmond, Calif., and Pauline Russo Cutter of San Leandro, Calif.
The United States Conference of Mayors is the official non-partisan organization of cities with a population of 30,000 or larger. Each city is represented by its chief elected official, the mayor. There are over 1,400 cities represented in the organization.
To view the full text of Resolution 66 visit: http://legacy.usmayors.org/resolutions/87th_Conference/proposedcommittee-preview.asp?committee=Environment
To learn more about Salt Lake City’s work on climate change, please visit: www.slcgreen.com/climatepositive
To learn more about Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, please visit: https://energyinnovationact.org