Climate Mayors Urge Congressional Leadership to Advance a Green and Equitable Recovery

Climate Mayors Urge Congressional Leadership to Advance a Green and Equitable Recovery

198 mayors deliver letter to leaders in D.C. advocating a zero-carbon green economy that creates good-paying jobs and prioritizes equity

Read the letter from Climate Mayors here.

JULY 22, 2020 — Climate Mayors today sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging bold action to protect our planet and build a more just economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Representing a network of 461 U.S. mayors across the country committed to upholding the Paris Climate Agreement, Climate Mayors called on Congress to invest in an economic recovery that injects more resilience, equity, and sustainability into our communities. 

“COVID-19 has laid bare the systemic inequities too often found at the heart of our communities – and when we start to emerge from this crisis, we must rebuild an economy that truly works for everyone,” said Climate Mayors co-founder and Chair, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “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.”

With the focus squarely on rebuilding the economy and country stronger than ever before, the mayors have advocated for a nationwide transition to a zero-carbon economy – a step already happening in cities across the country and a bold move that will create good-paying green jobs, lead to cleaner air and lower emissions, improve public health, support resilience, and lift up our most vulnerable residents.

The global coronavirus pandemic has hit communities of color and low-income families particularly hard – the same families, workers, and neighborhoods who suffer most from the ill effects of climate change, including dangerous emissions, skyrocketing temperatures, intense wildfires, and extreme weather events like floods and hurricanes. Climate Mayors are determined to build a strong, green economy that ensures all Americans are prepared for future health, economic, and environmental shocks. 

“Equity is at the heart of all we do in Boston,” said Climate Mayors Co-Chair Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “As we work towards an equitable recovery from COVID-19, it’s key we come together to ensure we are strengthening our communities so they are healthy, resilient, and give every resident the same opportunities they deserve.”  

“Whether it is climate change or COVID-19, a city’s primary responsibility is to protect our most vulnerable,” said Climate Mayors Co-Chair Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “In cities like Houston, that means fighting a global pandemic in the middle of a heat wave and hurricane season. The connection between climate and community health has never been clearer or the need for strong, federal action more important. When we look to recovery, it is not enough to build back; we must build forward and create healthy cities and leaders in a global energy transition.”

Recognizing the need to work together at every level of government to move beyond this devastating pandemic, Climate Mayors strongly urged federal legislators to work with state and city leadership to build new policies and amplify existing programs that have proven effective.

In the letter, Climate Mayors lists several goals that Congress should prioritize as part of the recovery, including:

  • Build for a Better Future: Returning to the status quo is not sufficient in meeting the challenges of climate change and inequities in our communities. We must increase our resolve and ambition to reinvest in America’s communities.
  • Leading 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.
  • Prioritizing Multiple Benefits: The best investments will create jobs, strengthen communities, and improve health outcomes in our cities and towns.

“For the past five months, Climate Mayors have been on the frontlines responding to the public health and economic crises caused by COVID-19, and to the calls for racial justice across the country,” said James Ritchotte, Director of Climate Mayors. “Amid these intersecting challenges, Climate Mayors remain committed to policies and initiatives that make their communities more just, sustainable, and resilient to future shocks. This work should not be on the shoulders of local leaders alone — cities need constructive partners in our federal government who will prioritize a green and equitable economic recovery.”

The letter includes a sample of recommended policies and programs to advance a just, equitable, and resilient economic recovery that will put Americans back to work and create cleaner, healthier, more livable communities. The policy recommendations are accompanied by success stories from Climate Mayors member cities where similar policies have led to community benefit. 

Please find a full version of the letter here

On July 23, Climate Mayors will be kicking off its National Dialogue on Green and Equitable Recovery, a virtual speaker series advocating for national leadership to prioritize recovery policies that are environmentally sustainable and socially just in the time of COVID-19. The first event will focus on the Southeast with a panel featuring Climate Mayors Steering Committee member Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Climate Mayors member Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, Climate Mayors member Columbia Mayor Stephen Benjamin and U.S. Representative Kathy Castor from Florida’s 14th District and Chair of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. For more information on the series, you can read the full release here. Register for the July 23 event here.

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About Climate Mayors: Representing 74 million Americans from 48 states, Climate Mayors is a peer-to-peer network of 461 U.S. city mayors who have committed to fighting climate change. Originally founded in 2014, the network’s ranks swelled to almost 400 mayors in response to the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Climate Mayors commit to taking ambitious action to meet each of their cities’ current climate goals, while working together towards achieving our national Paris targets. Climate Mayors is founded and Chaired by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Co-Chaired by Mayors Sylvester Turner (Houston) and Martin J. Walsh (Boston). For more information, please visit www.climatemayors.org.

Media Inquiries: Melody Meyer, mmeyer@bpimedia.com; Grace Hemming, ghemming@bpimedia.com