80th Annual Meeting

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors recognizes the urgency for national policy to be enacted addressing climate change, energy efficiency, and renewable energy resources; and

WHEREAS, by lacking a cohesive national policy, fossil fuel emissions for the United States and other countries have continued to grow; according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Laboratory, the March 2012 global level of CO2 in the atmosphere reached an alarming level of 391.46 ppm, up from pre-industrial levels of approximately 275 ppm; and

WHEREAS, although critics of global warming argue that the earth’s temperature naturally varies, according to Dr. James Hansen, Director of the National Goddard Institute of Space Studies, the earth’s temperature would normally be cooling as a result of the current stage of its orbit cycle; instead, the earth’s temperatures are, in fact, rising at a significant rate with the last decade the warmest decade on record-- resulting in an increase in climatic anomalies; and

WHEREAS, in his 2008 paper, “Target Atmosphere CO2,:  Where Should Humanity Aim?”, Dr. Hansen and other leading scientists recommend that a reduction of CO2 levels to 350 ppm or less is the only way to avert major, irreversible climatic change; and

WHEREAS, the 2010 Framework Convention on Climate Change (the Cancun Agreements) recognized the need to keep global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which equate to a CO2 threshold of 450 ppm; and

WHEREAS, the amount of economic losses from weather- and climate- related incidents has risen considerably over the past twenty years. From Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) data, annual losses in 1980 due to weather- and climate-related incidents were only a few billion dollars, yet in 2005, losses amounted to over $200 billion; and

WHEREAS, economic losses due to extreme and inclement weather occur largely at the city level, U.S. mayors have an important stake in strategies to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and develop renewable energy sources; and

WHEREAS, while fossil fuel emissions may add to the increasing weather- and climate-related incidents causing economic losses, renewable energy sources assist in economic development, expedite access to sustainable energy, support a steadier energy supply, and are associated with long-term reductions as shown by IPCC data; and

WHEREAS, according to the International Energy Agency, every $1 deferred from developing renewable energy sources in the power sector before 2020 will result in additional spending to offset the increased fossil fuel emissions after 2020;

NOW, THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urgently calls on Congress and the Administration to develop comprehensive national climate and energy policy to reduce fossil fuel emissions and provide incentives to conserve energy and promote energy efficiency; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,  that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports the Obama Administration’s efforts to regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on Congress to create an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Trust Fund, which would be used in the following manner: a portion of funds to be returned to the consumer as an incentive for conservation; a portion of funds to support local communities’ conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy programs through the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant; and a portion of funds to develop energy efficient distribution systems and energy efficiency research and development programs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Congress permanently extend renewable energy tax credits, particularly those for solar, wind and geothermal, among others; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the nation’s mayors call on the Administration to continue to seek international agreements and cooperation to address Global Climate Change given the magnitude of its catastrophic and dire effects on future generations.