Climate Mayors Urge Funding for Clean Energy Transition in Next Congressional Stimulus Package

Issue: 
Eric Garcetti

Following the US economy's worst quarter ever due to the prolonged impacts of COVID-19 , Congress continues to negotiate a fourth round of stimulus funding as cities and states struggle under the immense fiscal challenges wrought by the pandemic. Founded by City of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti,  Climate Mayors, is a network of 461 U.S. mayors across the country committed to upholding the Paris Climate Agreement. VX News shares Climate Mayors' letter calling on Congress to prioritize an economic recovery fueled by investment in a decarbonized green economy. Find the full letter online, here

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader McCarthy, and Minority Leader Schumer,

We are at a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. We began the year committed to protecting human civilization and beating the ten-year clock counting down to massive, irreparable climate disruption. Three months in, an unimaginable public health emergency of COVID-19 has been accompanied by a profound economic crisis and a national reckoning with racial inequity faced by communities of color. These communities have long suffered disproportionately from air pollution and other toxic exposure and are now getting hit hardest by the health and economic impacts of this pandemic. As mayors and local leaders, we stand on the front lines of this moment – and we are determined to meet it with strength, resilience, resolve, and bold action to protect our planet and build a more just future for all Americans.

So far, Congress has passed important legislation to respond to the pandemic, invest in our small businesses, support working families, and increase our testing capacity. But these bills, while critical, remain incomplete. Our nation and our cities need our representatives in Washington D.C. to move forward with a bold and innovative recovery package that takes direct, strategic steps to lift up our most vulnerable residents and communities.

We need that kind of approach to continue managing the fallout from COVID-19 – much the same way we focus on equity and fairness in our work to tackle the climate crisis.

Climate Mayors – a bipartisan network of over 450 U.S. mayors – is playing a leading role to preserve our environment, create good-paying green jobs, invest in clean air, clean water, and clean energy, and uphold the goals of the Paris Agreement at the local level. This commitment remains steadfast even in these times of turbulence and turmoil, and we will continue to prioritize policies and programs that help build for a better, more sustainable tomorrow.

As elected officials weigh the responses that incentivize a just, equitable, and sustainable economic recovery from this crisis, leaders in Congress should look no further than the recommendations from Climate Mayors attached to this letter. We lay out the core building blocks of a healthy, dynamic, fair economy founded on a level playing field – emphasizing innovation and infrastructure, lower energy costs, greater access to clean energy, and increased investment in public transit. We possess one of the greatest opportunities for economic growth and the reduction of greenhouse gases our generation has ever seen – and we have to seize it.

Cities across America have long demonstrated that economic growth and environmental stewardship go hand in hand – and now, our federal government can show the world that investments in a zero-carbon economy are investments in the future of our workforce, the well-being of generations, and the resilience of our infrastructure and public spaces. This moment demands that we accelerate our efforts to drive ambitious, systemic change.

Times of crisis can lead to confusion, or clarity. We Climate Mayors are expressing to our congressional leadership a shared clarity that we must tackle these crises together based on the following principles:

BUILD FOR A BETTER FUTURE

Returning to the status quo is not sufficient in meeting the challenges of climate change and inequities in our society. We must increase our resolve and ambition to reinvest in America’s communities.

LEAD WITH EQUITY

Federal investments in our municipalities must prioritize those communities who have been left behind, and frontline communities and people of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change and COVID-19.

PRIORITIZE MULTIPLE BENEFITS

The best investments will create jobs, strengthen community cohesion and resilience, and improve health outcomes in our cities and towns. 01 02 03 Cities throughout the United States are under tremendous pressure. In the face of the immediate crises – as well as the omnipresent threat of climate change – we encourage Congress to look to our local governments and communities to find meaningful solutions to these shared challenges. If fully funded, effectively implemented, and flexible enough to adapt locally, the policies highlighted in the Annex attached will have a lasting impact on our ability to meet the scope and scale of the challenges before us.

Thank you for your consideration of these recommendations. We look forward to working with you to build a better future behind a clear vision for protecting the environment and making our economy work for everyone.

Please find the full version of the letter here

 

“Every member of the Climate Mayors network is putting health, fairness, and sustainability at the center of our local COVID-19 response and recovery plans, but we need national leadership to kick this work into overdrive and help us strengthen our economies and solve the climate crisis.”—Eric Garcetti

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