77th Annual Meeting

CALLING ON CONGRESS TO PASS MEANINGFUL CLIMATE PROTECTION LEGISLATION

WHEREAS, cities house more than half of the world's population and are responsible for more than 80% of greenhouse gas emissions; and

WHEREAS, mayors have the unique opportunity and significant responsibility to implement programs that result in real emissions reductions; and

WHEREAS, cities are also the first responders to the impacts of climate change as increases in temperature, changes in precipitation patterns and storm events, and sea level rise change the way we do business; and

WHEREAS, strong federal climate policy will position this country to be competitive in the global economy, drive investment in new, clean energy solutions and create new, local jobs, aiding in our national economic recovery; and

WHEREAS, federal policy must also enable and provide resources for local action that is critical to global greenhouse gas reductions; and

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors has established policy on city priorities for the design of a federal cap and trade system to regulate national greenhouse gas emissions, including:

  • Setting an economy-wide cap on greenhouse gas emissions that results in real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the scientific consensus, or 80 percent reduction below 1990 levels by 2050;

  • Avoiding "safety valve" provisions, and instead integrate alternative flexibility measures to help control costs, such as the use of offsets;

  • Incorporating an accelerated schedule toward full auctioning of emission allowances;

  • Distributing revenues generated by a cap and trade program to recognize the important role that local governments play in climate protection.

WHEREAS, in May 2009, the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES Act); and

WHEREAS, the ACES Act establishes the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Program, including the creation of an economy-wide cap and trade system; and

WHEREAS, the ACES Act does incorporate the following key elements of a cap and trade program, which make progress toward meeting city priorities:

  • Pollution caps to reduce total GHG emissions 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050;

  • Use of offsets as a cost containment measure;

  • Increasing percentage of allowances to be auctioned over time; and

  • Considerable provisions for consumer protection

WHEREAS, the ACES Act includes additional key provisions that will enable US cities to more effectively develop and implement local climate protection initiatives, including:

  • New energy efficiency standards (codes) for buildings, appliances and industry;

  • Building energy performance labeling program to address energy efficiency potential in existing buildings;

    WHEREAS, the ACES Act Global Warming Pollution Reduction Program does not currently recognize the key role that local governments play in implementing climate solutions through direct allocation of credits or auction revenues,

    NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLOVED, that the US Conference of Mayors calls upon the United States Congress to pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 in advance of the United Nations Climate Change Conference 15th Conference of Parties meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009;

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the US Conference of Mayors urges Congress to amend the ACES Act in consideration of the critical role that cities must continue to play in advancing solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapting and responding to changing global climate conditions, to include:

    • Support for enforcement as well as adoption of local energy and land use codes;

    • Eliminate federal and state barriers to local financing programs that use property tax mechanisms to finance efficiency upgrades;

    • Allocate federal transportation dollars directly to local governments to support increased investment in transit as well as bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure;

    • Direct allocation of credits or auction revenues to cities for investment in climate mitigation, through such initiatives as the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, as well as adaptation initiatives, consumer protection and workforce development programs.

    • Direct some funding achieved through a cap and trade system toward assisting high greenhouse gas emitting generators of electricity and research and development firms, dedicated toward finding cleaner energy solutions;

    • Include tax exempt financing for Investor Owned Utilities to finance utility plant retrofits for clean energy.