Time to fight for local climate action! | Dive Into Democracy

On June 1, President Trump announced that he will withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. This decision threatens to dismantle the modest progress that has been made towards global climate action and threatens our climate, our rights, and our future. Although international and federal action on climate change may be stalled, lawmakers and activists across the country have been making significant progress to tackle climate change at a local level.

In response to President Trump’s decision, the mayors of 211 cities representing 54 million Americans issued a statement committing to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement goals. These cities include Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Houston, and Boston. The morning after President Trump cited the city of Pittsburgh as a reason why the United States needed to leave the Paris Agreement, the Mayor of Pittsburgh spoke out for a sustainable future and issued an executive order on climate change initiatives in the city.

Even before the President’s disappointing announcement, states and cities around the United States began taking a stand and doing their part to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions:

  • 68 mayors have agreed to transition to 100% clean and renewable energy for their cities.
  • Portland, Oregon’s city council recently banned the expansion and construction of major fossil fuel infrastructure, helping the city lead the way toward a clean energy economy.
  • Carbon pricing bills are being considered in Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington to place a fee or a tax on carbon.
  • Virginia is working on a carbon-trading program.
  • Citizens in our nation’s capital have proposed a carbon pricing policy that will reduce carbon, increase incomes, and create jobs in the District of Columbia.

These local efforts are inspiring, but there are also emerging threats to the ability of states, towns and cities to take progressive action on vital issues of health and welfare. Industry-backed lobbyists such as the American City County Exchange (ACCE), formed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), are working every day behind the scenes in Congress and in state houses to pass laws that block states and municipalities from progressive policymaking such as whether to allow natural gas hydrofracking in their communities. Laws like this will increasingly interfere with progressive action on climate change through local laws, regulations and other initiatives.

In the wake of frustrating inaction by our federal government on climate change, we ask you to call your state lawmakers (you can look them up here) and request that they stand up for a clean energy future:

“My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a resident of ZIP code [ZIP CODE]. I am calling today to express my concern about climate change, which threatens our health, economy, and national security. It is even more important that we take action at a state and local level when national and international efforts to combat climate change stall. Therefore, I request that you support state efforts to address greenhouse gas emission and promote a clean energy economy. I also ask you to oppose any bills that would preempt municipalities such as counties, cities and towns from taking action on climate change. Climate change may be a daunting global issue, but we can help make progress if we commit to doing our part at a local level. Thank you for standing up for our future.”

Tip: Want to do more? Look up your city or town council members and give them a call too.

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