Resilient Communities for America: Local Officials on Climate, Clean Energy and Extreme Weather
Michael Bloomberg got the big headlines for his big plans to make New York City more resilient to climate, sea level rise, and storms, but more and more local officials are taking action as well. Climate resilience is not just a buzzword, but a new necessity for local planners and elected officials.
Now, a new campaign is developing to mobilize local leadership on resiliency. Resilient Communities for America was just launched, with some 51 mayors and county leaders from across the country as signatories to a new “agreement” on climate preparedness, energy security, infrastructure renewal, and economic prosperity. The campaign chair is Mayor Kevin Johnson from Sacramento, CA. According to the organization’s website, the campaign’s immediate goals are to:
- Secure a leadership commitment to address community resilience from 200 local elected official signatories in the first 12 months after the campaign launches in June 2013, and 1,000 by 2015.
- Secure greater state and federal funding, support, and collaboration with local governments to support local initiatives on resilience and preparedness, infrastructure renewal, and energy security.
- Measurably improve the resilience of all communities that participate in the campaign.
Their approach appears to be one of the first broadly organized efforts on community climate resilience — to include both mitigation and adaptation — and one that is likely to be quite politically potent. Adaptation measures for climate impacts and fixes to infrastructure problems are very localized concerns — and very expensive. However, as more communities in more Congressional districts are faced with more serious challenges, we can only hope that more pressure will build on Congress to provide broad funding for community-based resilience efforts. At the moment, however, Congress pays far more in disaster damages than resilience investment.
Any locally-elected official can sign — in an official capacity on behalf of their jurisdiction or in an individual capacity as an endorsement of the campaign. The online platform is clearly in the early stages of development, but we’ll be interested to see how the campaign rolls out this summer. This is a campaign that has great potential.