The Compact of Mayors and the Importance of Global Climate Action
Today, I am proud to announce my commitment to the Compact of Mayors, the world’s largest cooperative effort among mayors and city officials to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, enhance resilience to climate change, and track our progress transparently.
What is the Compact of Mayors?
The Compact of Mayors was launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg. The Compact establishes a common platform to capture the impact of cities’ collective actions through standardized measurement of emissions and climate risk, and consistent, public reporting of their efforts.
Fremont is committing to report on our community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and reduction targets, the climate hazards and vulnerabilities faced by our city, and our plans to address climate change mitigation and adaptation. With consistent, public reporting of our city’s climate data, we will show how our local actions can effect real change at a global level.
It’s Important for the Planet
In response to President Obama’s challenge for mayors to publicly commit to climate action before the start of the United Nations annual Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris this month, I was one of the first 100+ U.S. mayors that signed onto the Compact of Mayors. At COP21, delegates from 195 nations will set a legally binding and universal greenhouse gas reduction goal to keep global warming below the 2°C (3.6°F) maximum increase to avoid catastrophic ecological consequences. If we do not take steps to curb our fossil fuel consumption now, we will hit the 2°C increase by midcentury.
Why This is Important to Me
As the Mayor of the fourth largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area with a population of over 220,000 and the hub of clean technology innovation, I want to ensure that the community in which we live is clean, green, and healthy for current and future generations. And, as a father of two young boys, I want to ensure that all of Fremont’s children grow up in a world free from the disasters posed by a changing climate, which could include severe storms, mega droughts, rising sea levels, crop failures, and species extinction.
While we can protect our community from local pollutants in the air, water, and soil through municipal and regional regulations, atmospheric greenhouse gases such as CO2 are not restricted to geographic or political boundaries. With cities making up 70 percent of the world’s population, it is imperative for communities like Fremont to participate in the transnational Compact of Mayors. Recent research shows that if every local government were to take action in accordance with the Compact of Mayors, we would reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of cutting the world’s annual coal use by more than half.
Fremont’s Proactive Approach
Fremont has already taken a number of significant steps toward protecting the environment and acting on climate change. In 2008, we adopted a goal of curbing our community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from our 2005 levels by the year 2020. In fact, by 2010 we had already reduced our emissions by 11 percent! Our General Plan embraces the vision of sustainability, setting the goal of transforming Fremont from an auto‑oriented suburb into a sustainable, strategically urban, and modern city, and our Climate Action Plan provides a roadmap for achieving community-wide sustainability.
Our city is not just talking the talk, it is walking the walk. In October, Fremont was named America’s 10th Greenest City of 2015 by WalletHub. After installing 1.2 megawatts of solar power on municipal facilities, Fremont received the EPA Green Power Partnership award for its use of clean and renewable energy technologies. Fremont is also one of 50 semifinalist competitors in the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a two-year national competition for innovative, replicable, and scalable models of energy efficiency with a $5 million prize awarded to the best performing community, and has developed the Fremont Green Challenge to engage residents in our sustainability efforts.
By signing onto the Compact of Mayors, I am reinforcing our commitment to make Fremont a community where people want to live, where businesses want to invest, and where jobs will grow. As we better our city, we will be helping to better the world for our generation and for those to come.