mayors national climate action agenda

Objective #5

The Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, or Climate Mayors, is an association of United States mayors of cities and towns that have the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Founded by Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, former Houston mayor Annise Parker, and former Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter, the group represents 279 cities and over 18% of the U.S. population.

The organization has stated its commitment to uphold the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change even if when the United States withdraws from the Agreement.

The goals of the Paris Agreement are described in Article 2 of its charter:

  • (a) Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2° C [3.6° F.] above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5° C [2.7° F.] above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change;
  • (b) Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse-gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production;
  • (c) Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse-gas emissions and climate-resilient development.

Countries furthermore aim to reach "global peaking of greenhouse-gas emissions as soon as possible." The agreement has been described as an incentive for, and driver of, fossil-fuel divestment.

north carolina cities that have already
joined the climate action agenda

Asheville Carrboro Chapel Hill
Charlotte Durham Fayetteville
Franklin Greensboro Highlands
Hillsborough Pittsboro Raleigh

I propose that the Town of Cary join the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda as an intentional act, committing our Town to increase and accelerate our already significant efforts to maintain our patch of the earth in a condition that will support human life.

Town of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht wrote, in his "Harold's Blog" [the full post is located here] published by the Cary Citizen on June 12:

The email campaign against me to sign a letter against Trump took a great deal of my time this week and hurt my productivity spending time to answer. My answers were like the following:

First response:

Thank you for contacting me. While I think the position taken by our president is ridiculous, it has been the practice of this council not to take public positions on partisan matters and instead focus on the business of the town.

Second response:

Thanks for contacting me again

It is important to understand that if I sign with the other mayors then I am taking a position that is viewed as partisan and not universally accepted by the entire council. Keep in mind that Cary’s council is currently nonpartisan. IMHO, the last thing we need is to politicize the Cary council. Almost all of the mayors who signed (listed in the news article) have councils that are partisan. And of course the Governor is partisan.

Keep in mind that there are always two sides to an issue. How would you feel if I used my political position to represent Trump’s position? While that would never happen I can assure you it would make people, including most council members angry. It would set precedence for the council addressing national partisan issues. And that would eventually destroy the council and for what? To make people feel better because I signed with other mayors. Is that action worth destroying the council? In my opinion no. Putting my name on a national partisan issue is not what is best for the town and the town’s best interest is my main focus. While privately I criticize the president daily for doing dumb things I make sure that I am focused on doing what is best for Cary.

I hope this helps you understand my position better.

I do not believe that joining the Climate Action Agenda is a partisan act. I believe that global warming is causing climate change, and climate change means that the climate is changing. That should be apparent to anyone and everyone.

Cary has had three 1,000-year-rainstorms in the last three years [August 2014; July 2016; and April 2017]. Flooding resulted from these storms, both here in Town and in the three counties to the southeast of us because our land [and much of the rest of Wake County] has been improperly developed and cannot absorb the rainfall it once could.

I recently visited the city of Charleston. There, because of the combination of over- and mis-development and sea-level rise, the storm drains of the city cannot handle the volume of water that now comes with even a moderate rain. Water gushes upward out of the storm drains and floods the downtown area. In Norfolk and Newport News in Virginia, sea-level rise has required the Defense Department to begin planning for a staggeringly expensive re-location of the massive U. S. Navy operations that have been headquarterd there for a hundred years. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

I applaud Mayor Weinbrecht's and the Council's determination to remain nonpartisan. I've seen and heard second-hand that this method of operation is far superior to the partisan way. I do not see that signing on to the Agenda is a slap to or snub of President Trump. Mr. Trump is the elected leader of the country, and it is within his authority to withdraw the United States. The president's withdrawal of the country from the Agreement, however, has no bearing whatever on a determination by the Town Council to do all in its power to limit greenhouse gases and hold down the increase in global temperature.

If elected to Council, I will recommend that the mayor sign the Climate Action Agenda, if but only if that is the unanimous choice of fellow Council members. The preservation of the spirit of nonpartisanship in guiding the Town of Cary is indeed paramount. But in like manner, I will be a (soft-spokenly) strident and constant voice advocating that the sustainability measures expressed in the Paris Agreement and in the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda underlie every decision the Council renders.


Objective #1

That the Town of Cary establish an office whose head reports directly to the Town Manager, dedicated solely to addressing environmental issues. The office will consist of two parts. One part will be a Skunk Works, a group given a high degree of autonomy and charged with devising ways that the Town can move rapidly towards sustainability. The second will be an inspection unit charged with ensuring compliance with sustainability measures undertaken by the Town.

Objective #2

That the Town of Cary establish within its limits a combination botanical garden, arboretum, and tree nursery.

Objective #3

That within the next decade, the Town of Cary properly plant one million additional trees within its borders and nurture them correctly.

Objective #4

That the Town of Cary adopt a long-lived and beautiful noble hardwood tree as its Official Tree.

Objective #5

That the Town of Cary re-start the now-defunct Wake County Champion and Notable Tree List, and that it be administered by volunteers using a donated program and server space.