National League of Cities Officer Selected to Serve on National Climate Preparedness Task Force

Washington, DC – The White House announced today that the National League of Cities Second Vice President Ralph Becker, mayor, Salt Lake City, has been selected to serve on President Obama’s State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to examine how the federal government can support local governments in preparing for climate change and building resilient communities.

“I am honored to be selected by President Obama for this task force,” said Mayor Becker. “This is an incredibly important issue that affects communities in all corners of the nation and knows no policy affiliation. These issues of climate change adaptation and building resilient communities will require regional, state and federal efforts.  It is great to see President Obama working to coordinate these efforts.”

Local governments are first responders to the impacts of extreme weather and climate change, experiencing first-hand the strain on infrastructure systems, such as transportation, water and energy. For local officials to plan effectively for climate impacts, it is critical that external barriers preventing response and preparedness are removed. Resilience planning encourages local governments to proactively prepare for and respond to extreme weather events, translating to less damage remediation and long-term cost savings.

Through its Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee and the Sustainability Program, NLC is partnering with cities, other organizations and stakeholder groups to educate and provide city leaders and their staff with the best information, tools and resources to take informed and timely action on this issue.  Mayor Becker is an inaugural signatory and NLC is a core partner in the Resilient Communities for America campaign which promotes local leaders’ commitment to establishing self-defined goals to improve quality of life through climate preparedness, infrastructure renewal, energy security and economic prosperity.

Background on Mayor Becker’s climate change efforts:

In his 2013 State of the City Address, Mayor Becker, NLC Second Vice President, highlighted climate as one of the most pressing issues that Salt Lake City is facing. The city has already completed a vulnerability assessment and is now implementing measures to increase resiliency to potential climate impacts, working both regionally and nationally with other municipalities to establish best practices for adaptation planning. In 2008, Mayor Becker and Salt Lake City Council signed a joint resolution committing that the city will work to reduce its carbon footprint 50 percent below the 2005 level by 2040, and 80 percent below the 2005 level by 2050. Additionally, the Salt Lake City Public Safety Building will be the first public safety building in the nation to achieve a Net Zero rating. Mayor Becker has also testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the relationship between transportation and climate change.

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.