48 US mayors commit to protecting communities from climate change

Leading mayors and county leaders in the USA have signed an agreement pledging to build more climate resilient towns and cities.

The Resilient Communities for America Agreement calls on state and federal leaders to support local resilience initiatives that include investing in renewable energy and efficiency programmes.

The 48 signatories represent communities across the USA, with California and Florida contributing 22 civic leaders between them.

“A new national movement is emerging, led by mayors who believe that now is the time to take powerful, proactive steps to safeguard our communities, adapt to extreme weather and energy challenges, and transform adversity into economic opportunity,” said Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, California, Chair of the Resilient Communities for America campaign.

The news comes a week after New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg unveiled a $20 billion package to protect the city against future extreme weather events. The repair bill for Hurricane Sandy has come to around US$100 billion.

Resilient Communities for America says it is concerned more frequent heat waves, droughts, floods, and storms will threaten the USA’s health and safety

“Leading local governments understand that focusing on preparedness is incredibly cost-effective,” said Jason Hartke, Vice President of National Policy at the U.S. Green Building Council. “For every $1 spent on disaster preparedness, a community can save $4 in avoided costs.”

“After Superstorm Sandy, New York City reflects this understanding with Mayor Bloomberg’s bold resilience plan to protect the city from future storms and floods.”

The news comes as the White House appears ready to launch a new initiative focused on reducing the country’s use of fossil fuels.

According to the news website POLITICO President Obama is preparing to unveil a new climate strategy in the coming weeks, although details are still vague.

Bloomberg reports the President has been telling Democrat fundraisers he will unveil a package of actions next month focused on curbing US greenhouse gas emissions.

Obama is under pressure from Congress to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to the Gulf coast.

The project is bitterly opposed by environmental groups, who say it will see global emissions soar by encouraging the production of the highly-polluting tar sands.

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