Area leaders sign U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement
November 8, 2007
On Friday, November 2, mayors from the greater Kansas City area gathered together at Rockhurst University to participate in a conference on sustainability and climate protection and to sign the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. Elected officials in over 700 U.S. cities have made a commitment to this agreement, recognizing that local governments will play an important role in addressing global warming and pollution and energy issues by taking action in their communities.
As climate disruption becomes an issue of greater public concern, many cities have begun taking steps to develop programs and policies with a focus on sustainability and better environmental stewardship. In February 2005, when the federal government rejected the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement to address climate change, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels worked with city leaders from around the nation to launch the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement initiative. The agreement advances the goals of Kyoto through leadership and action at the local level, serving as a national strategy to reduce energy dependence, decrease carbon emissions and improve the environment.
During the June 2005 U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting, 141 elected officials signed on to the Protection Agreement; with the addition of 20 Kansas City area leaders, a total of 729 mayors have since pledged to preserve the environmental and economic health of their communities through new policies and actions.
The conference that took place before the signing ceremony focused on ways that the region can make sustainability a consideration in local government planning. Panel members identified several key areas to keep in mind as progress is made: public education and community involvement, examining other communities’ successes in combating global warming, measuring our existing “footprint” by being aware of our use of resources, and decisive leadership in guiding the progress of sustainability efforts.
The panel’s overall theme was that environmental responsibility is a quality of life issue for the residents of each community – there are similar values and support extending across city and state boundaries, and by getting the public involved and behind regional efforts to address climate protection, the challenge can be met.
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