November 2020 – Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh

Dear Colleagues,

I’m very proud to be named new Chair of the Climate Mayors. As mayors, we’re close to the people we serve. We see how climate change is already impacting the residents in our cities, and we know how important it is to take decisive action for the sake of public safety and public health. American cities have led on climate action for a long time, and especially over the last four years. I thank you all for your leadership and partnership. As we welcome a new Federal administration that is committed to urgent, bold climate policies, I look forward to accelerating our efforts together with all of you.

I am grateful to Mayor Eric Garcetti for his leadership of this network over the last seven years. He ensured the sustained growth and impact of the Climate Mayors. As he continues to lead C40, our two networks will build on our close partnership in order to pursue ambitious action in our cities and drive an equally ambitious national and international climate agenda.

I also want to thank Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner for his continued leadership as Co-Chair of the Climate Mayors. As Mayor of the “Energy Capital of the World,” Mayor Turner has prioritized the transition to clean energy and building more resilient communities at the center of his agenda. I look forward to continuing our work together as we expand the reach of our network.

We are at a pivotal moment in our nation’s history, with the ongoing global pandemic. As a country, our recovery efforts must be rooted in equity and sustainability. As we rebuild our economy, we need to focus on green jobs. We need to look at the economic and social conditions that made some populations more vulnerable to COVID-19, especially people of color, immigrants, and low-income families. Those same populations are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Now is the time to heal our nation, by investing in long-term community health and wellbeing. Climate action must be central to our national COVID-19 recovery, and our efforts to dismantle systemic racism.

Engaging with Washington on the national response to COVID-19 will be a top priority for the Climate Mayors moving forward. We should also continue working to strengthen our partnerships with other climate networks, including the C40, the US Conference of Mayors, and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network. We need to continue building a broad coalition around this work. We need to show that everyone stands to benefit from climate action, and everyone has a role to play in making it happen. We should also keep creating more leadership opportunities within the Climate Mayors. We represent more than 450 cities and tens of millions of Americans. There is so much diversity within our membership. Everyone has something different to contribute, and we want to make sure we’re drawing on all of that talent and all of their insights.

As we work with the Biden-Harris administration on large scale solutions at the national level, we should continue to point to the solutions we’re advancing in our own cities to show what’s possible when we work together, get creative, and make climate action a priority in everything we do. While the incoming Biden-Harris administration has committed to re-entering the Paris accord and is planning a series of executive orders to reverse many of the Trump administration’s deregulatory actions, Boston and many cities across the country are already moving ahead with our local climate goals. In Boston, we recently debuted our Zero-Emission Vehicle Roadmap, a long-term strategy to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and other zero-emission transportation. The plan calls for electric vehicle charging stations in every city neighborhood by 2023 and a totally electrified city fleet, and lays out plans to help residents afford electric vehicles. Boston also recently released two more neighborhood-level climate resiliency plans as part of our ongoing Climate Ready Boston initiative, we are in the process of developing a city-wide urban forestry master plan, and we will launch our Community Choice Electricity municipal aggregation program in February.

I know that many of your cities have recently advanced bold climate solutions as well, with more to come in the year ahead.  Anything that comes from Washington will be carried out by cities, so mayors need to shape, advocate for, and deliver a green and equitable recovery that meets the unique needs of our communities.

COVID-19 has made it clear that we need to plan for the future, we need to listen to scientists, and we need to make sustainability a fundamental value of our society. Everything we want to accomplish right now — public health, public safety, racial justice, economic growth, and an equitable recovery from COVID-19 — it all depends on a healthy environment. Climate action is the best investment we can make in our cities now to ensure a resilient future. It’s time to heal our nation by investing in long-term community well-being and health. Climate action is at heart of that work, and the Climate Mayors are in a position to play a more significant role than ever before. I look forward to the work that lies ahead, and I thank all of you for your commitment and your partnership.

Sincerely, Mayor Martin J. Walsh
Climate Mayors Chair