UPDATE – JUNE 5, 8:40 P.M.
The number of Climate Mayors has grown to 211, representing a combined population of 54 million Americans.
Two more Florida cities have now signed on to the list: Kissimmee and South Miami.
West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio and Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein deserve praise — and their citizens’ thanks — for standing up with 184 other mayors for the Paris Climate Agreement despite President Donald Trump’s wrong-headed renunciation of the global pact.
The two mayors from Palm Beach County joined the so-called Climate Mayors, a group that stretches from Los Angeles’ Eric Garcetti to New York’s Bill de Blasio, in making a strong response to Trump’s withdrawal from the accords of 195 nations to curb the planet’s warming from the burning of fossil fuels.
“As 186 Mayors representing 40 million Americans, we will adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement,” the Climate Mayors declared Thursday, adding:
We will continue to lead. We are increasing investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. We will buy and create more demand for electric cars and trucks. We will increase our efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, create a clean energy economy, and stand for environmental justice.
It’s a remarkable show of resolve. And it’s been matched by the governors of California, New York and Washington who’ve said they’re starting an alliance of states to stick to their own greenhouse-gas reduction goals.
The California stance is particularly significant. The Golden State’s economy is the size of France‘s; just by maintaining its clean-air standards on cars and trucks, which are tougher than federal standards and followed by 12 other states, our most populous state will do much to counter the effect of Trump’s withdrawal.
California’s economic growth outpaces that of the U.S. as a whole, by the way — giving the lie to Trump’s basic claim that stringent climate regulations are the enemy of jobs and prosperity.
The defiance to Trump’s shortsightedness doesn’t end there. Major corporations, including Hewlett-Packard and Mars Inc., have also said they will forge ahead with their emission-reducing targets.
And there’s Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York, who is spearheading an effort to take all these pledges from American cities, states and companies and submit them to the United Nations to be recognized along with the nations that have signed on to the Paris Accords. Bloomberg also pledged $15 million from his philanthropy to pay the equivalent of the U.S. share of the accord’s operating budget.
“The American government may have pulled out of the agreement, but the American people remain committed to it – and we will meet our targets,” Bloomberg said.
“Americans don’t need Washington to meet our Paris commitment and Americans are not going to let Washington stand in the way of fulfilling it. That’s the message mayors, governors, and business leaders all across the U.S. have been sending.”
Suddenly, the resistance has a new look. It’s not just protesters taking to the streets against the Trump regime. It’s states, cities and Fortune 500 companies defying a U.S. policy that throws science to the trash heap, plays hell with the future and self-mutilates America’s international standing.
As The Guardian explains:
The Paris accord commits countries to holding global temperature rises to “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels, which will require global emissions to be cut to net zero by the second half of the century.
Scientists have warned that a failure to curb dangerous climate change will lead to sea level rises, more intense storms and flooding, more extreme droughts, water shortages and heat waves as well as massive loss of wildlife and reduction in crop yields, potentially sparking conflict and mass migration.
Few regions are more at risk than Florida, making part-time Palm Beacher Trump’s obtuseness all the more infuriating, and the Palm Beach County mayors’ defiance all the more welcome.
Mayors from a number of other Florida cities also signed onto the Climate Mayors list: Those of Apalachiola, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Lauderhill, Miami, Miami Beach, Orlando, South Miami, St. Petersburg, Sunrise, Surfside, Tallahassee and Tampa.
In some ways, this shouldn’t be so surprising. Some 69 percent of Americans polled in November that the U.S. should participate in the Paris agreement. That includes about half of self-identified Trump voters. Majorities in every state, including 60 percent of Floridians, said America should stick with the Paris pact.
Climate change is real — and if this resistance to Trump’s decision is any indication, there is an avid public appetite to fight back against the efforts by the fossil fuel industry, some conservatives and now, shamefully, the White House to play ostrich while the polar ice caps melt and sea levels rise.
That last fact means that Florida — and Palm Beach County, in particular — should be a leader in this fight. These mayors are setting a fine example.