We Have Tools/Strategies To Mitigate Worst Effects Of Climate Change, Mayors Tell Congress
“We have the tools and strategies to mitigate the worst effects of extreme weather
through cooling down neighborhoods, hardening infrastructure and being good stewards of our resources,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told Congress on Friday.
Garcetti was joined in a House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis hearing on resilient communities by Madison, Wisconsin Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, co-chair of Climate Mayors, who also said the technology exists to address the threats.
She told the Congressmembers additional direct grants and technical assistance from the federal government could be transformational.
Climate Mayors is a national network of mayors representing 476 U.S. cities who have committed to fighting climate change.
In April, the group came out with a report asserting building back a green economy led by local governments and supported by the federal government is a critical first step in achieving our climate goals, while ensuring a just, equitable, and sustainable economic recovery that is resilient for generations to come.
“The success stories of Climate Mayors across the country demonstrate that environmental stewardship, fiscal responsibility, and economic growth are not mutually exclusive,” the group said in the white paper.
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During the hearing, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who has committed her city to 100 percent clean energy by 2035, said almost every challenge she faces in her office from infrastructure to unemployment to affordable housing to transportation mayors can be connected to climate change.
Climate Crisis Committee Chair Kathy Castor (D-FL) said strong partnerships between the federal government essential are essential.
She added more needs to be done to improve environmental justice across the board for low-income Americans and minorities from transportation to housing.
Committee Ranking Minority Party Member Garret Graves (R-LA) said at the hearing efforts to build in resilience are vital:
“The worst thing we can do is rely on recovery from disasters.”
Garcetti said a key strategy to build resiliency is to enhance existing building retrofit and weatherization programs: interventions that support HVAC retrofits, strong air filtration, and electrification to improve indoor air quality:
“These actions will in turn create jobs, protect health and safety, reduce building operating costs, while also mitigating climate change by installing zero-emission energy sources and improving building energy efficiency,” the Los Angeles mayor asserted.
He pointed out LA pioneered an approach for resiliency by becoming the first major city in America to install cool pavement on a public roadway.
Construction began in 2017.
With 15 miles in existence with 60 miles more on tap to be completed in the next year, Garcetti said the city is innovating on materials.
Kelly Armstrong, a Republican member of the committee from North Dakota where two-thirds of state is in a historical drought, said part of the problem is there is little local involvement in federal effort that can impact climate change.
Garcetti emphasized cities must come to the federal government with ideas for resiliency to make the cooperation happen.
“You just can’t come with an empty hat in hand to Washington,” said the big city mayor,