Washington, D.C.- Forty five leading local elected officials today committed to creating more resilient cities, towns, and counties in the face of unprecedented extreme weather and energy challenges that threaten communities across the country. The "Inaugural Signatories" of the Resilient Communities for America Agreement letter pledged to take cost-effective actions to prepare and protect their communities from the increasing disasters and disruptions fueled by climate change, such as heat waves, floods, droughts, severe storms, and wildfires. In addition, they called for more action and support from federal leaders.
"A new national movement is emerging, led by mayors who believe that now is the time to take powerful, proactive steps to safeguard our communities, adapt to extreme weather and energy challenges, and transform adversity into economic opportunity," said Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, CA, Chair of the Resilient Communities for America campaign. "Today I call on my fellow mayors and county leaders across the country to join the campaign and make your own commitment to creating more resilient communities that are strong, self-reliant, prepared, and prosperous."
Inaugural Signatories include Mayor Vincent Gray, Washington DC; Mayor Bob Filner, San Diego, CA; Mayor John Cook, El Paso, TX; Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver, CO; Mayor Mark Mallory, Cincinnati, OH; Mayor Sly James, Kansas City, MO; Mayor Frank Cownie, Des Moines, IA; and Mayor Kristin Jacobs, Broward County, FL. (View the full list at www.resilientamerica.org.)
"By signing the Resilient Communities for America Agreement, these elected officials have demonstrated their leadership, which will in turn inspire hundreds more cities and counties to take action and sign on," said Michael Schmitz, Executive Director of ICLEI USA, one of the four organizations to coordinate the multi-year campaign, including the U.S. Green Building Council, the National League of Cities, and the World Wildlife Fund.
"Just last week, NOAA reported that extreme weather events caused a staggering $110 billion in damage in 2012, took countless lives, and impacted virtually every part of the country. As greenhouse gas emissions rise from our fossil fuel use, we know that heat waves, severe storms and rising seas will only worsen," said World Wildlife Fund's Director of Renewable Energy Keya Chatterjee. "By improving energy efficiency and expanding use of renewable energy, our most resilient cities are reducing emissions, saving money, creating local jobs, and strengthening local energy independence."
"Leading local governments understand that focusing on preparedness is incredibly cost-effective," said Jason Hartke, Vice President of National Policy at the U.S. Green Building Council. "For every $1 spent on disaster preparedness, a community can save $4 in avoided costs."
"After Superstorm Sandy, New York City reflects this understanding with Mayor Bloomberg's bold resilience plan to protect the city from future storms and floods," added Hartke. "And in El Paso, Mayor Cook's world-renowned leadership on water conservation and management has lessened the impact of a devastating drought. Over the next two years, the Resilient Communities for America campaign will connect local governments with one another to share the best solutions and innovations and help them accelerate their efforts-because we don't have the luxury of time."
"Today, these local leaders are pledging to take action and not just offer platitudes. By participating in Resilient Communities for America campaign, these leaders are demonstrating great foresight that will save communities long-term dollars and even lives," said Clarence Anthony, Executive Director of the National League of Cities. "The campaign's valuable technical resources and tools will help cities reach their own goals on climate preparedness, infrastructure renewal, energy security, and economic competitiveness. NLC is proud to partner on this campaign."
At the campaign launch event at the National Press Club today, local leaders called for more action at the federal level.
"Local governments have always been the leaders on climate action, but we need more support from the federal government," said Mayor Cownie of Des Moines. "We need better local-federal coordination on disaster preparedness, and we need them to address our aging and inadequate infrastructure, which has been under-funded for far too long. I am proud to be a part of the Resilient Communities for America campaign to help raise awareness and visibility on these issues."
About The U.S. Green Building Council USGBC is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, the Center for Green Schools and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities. For more information, visit usgbc.org, explore the Green Building Information Gateway (GBIG) and connect on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
About ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability USA (ICLEI USA) ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability is the world's leading association of cities and local governments dedicated to sustainability, with more than 1,000 members in 84 countries. In the United States, ICLEI USA is the recognized leader on climate action and clean energy, setting national standards and providing cutting-edge software tools, trainings, and technical support to help cities and counties advance their goals. ICLEI USA serves as a gateway to solutions, and helps local governments learn from one another and share best practices. Learn more at www.icleiusa.org.
About the National League of Cities The National League of Cities is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. Learn more at http://www.nlc.org.
About World Wildlife Fund WWF is the world's leading conservation organization, working in 100 countries for half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat climate change. Visit www.worldwildlife.org to learn more.