Mayors from five West Coast cities today announced a pledge to work together to accelerate bold climate action, renewing commitments to reduce carbon emissions in each of their cities by at least 80 percent by 2050.
The pledge came during the first West Coast Mayors Summit, a two-day convening of mayors from Portland, Seattle, Eugene, San Francisco and Los Angeles to discuss pressing issues affecting each of their cities: homelessness, housing, and climate action.
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti have committed to work together and individually to meet the challenge of climate change, and create communities that are safe, healthy and prosperous for all.
“We are creating a ‘green wall’ along the West Coast. Our cities are committed to growing with sustainable values, such as Portland’s recent resolution opposing all new fossil fuel infrastructure,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. “When we act in collaboration, cities have an outsized impact. The West Coast will help move the meter on climate change.”
Following discussions during the summit, mayors identified areas where they could collaborate on climate action, such as completing the West Coast Electric Vehicle highway.
The mayors also identified climate goals for their own cities, such as making their own municipal operations cleaner and more efficient by reducing water and energy use in City buildings; moving toward increased solar and renewable energy to power City operations; and converting City fleets to electric vehicles.
“Cities are critical when it comes to climate action, and San Francisco has successfully reduced greenhouse gas emissions even while our economy and our population have been growing strongly. But California’s severe drought is a reminder that the effects of climate change are being felt sooner by our residents and with greater impact than expected,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “We are showing that local action can combat climate change. San Francisco is the first large city to phase out petroleum diesel in its entire municipal fleet and replace it with renewable diesel, an estimated 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. With our aggressive climate action strategy, San Francisco will see zero waste sent to the landfills, 50 percent of all trips rely on non-auto transport and 100 percent of energy from renewables. We are committed to real solutions to climate change and pushing a climate action agenda that helps San Francisco reach our ambitious goals for a more sustainable future.”
As West Coast mayors and through organizations such as Mayors’ National Climate Action Agenda, Compact of Mayors, C40 Cities, and other groups of local leaders, they will support expanded federal funding for better transit, rail and low-carbon transportation systems that prioritize equitable outcomes.
“Climate change is much more than an economic or environmental challenge. Fundamentally, it is an issue of social justice,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “Around the world, populations that have contributed the least to this problem will unfairly bear the greatest burden. And in our communities, the benefits of our progressive environmental policies must be shared by all — parks and open space, clean air and water, and access to healthy foods. If we are leaving people behind, we are not succeeding.”
West Coast mayors also committed to building partnerships with the private sector and community-based organization in order to accelerate the spread of low-carbon solutions across industries, and build capacity to deliver benefits on a neighborhood scale.
“We’ve strengthened our commitment by taking the bold step of putting our goals directly in city code,” said Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy. “We must let our communities know where we need to go and how we can get there together. It’s going to take all of us working as partners in new and innovative ways. Expanded collaboration with other local institutions like the university, the utility and the transit agency is essential. We have made a great start engaging with the community and the private sector in creative new business models and public/private partnerships and we need to take this further. If we draw on all of our community assets and collective wisdom, can we meet this challenge.”
Mayors Hales, Garcetti, Murray, Piercy and Lee detailed their action items at a press conference held Friday morning at Portland City Hall.