In September 2014, all the cities of the world were invited to commit to a more sustainable and resilient future by joining the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. 9,000 cities across the globe have answered this invitation. Houston, Austin, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas (Nev.), Denver, and Tempe (Ariz.) have answered the invitation. Eagle Nest (population 290), and Santa Fe have answered the invitation. But Los Alamos has not.
The vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions come from cities and urban centers, where most of the humans in the world live, work, and drive economic growth. In a time when our federal government has turned away from global cooperation in climate change action, we must emerge as local leaders in what is now a worldwide effort toward a more viable future.
Forward-thinking city governments have established innovative action plans to minimize their effect on the climate while ensuring sustainable and equitable living for their citizens. Our neighbor city of Santa Fe joined the Covenant of Mayors in 2015, and after identifying their highest carbon emission contributors, now has a plan for low-carbon or carbon-free transportation, electricity, and energy in homes and businesses.
In Los Alamos and White Rock, we can — and must — take our own steps to mitigate our contribution to greenhouse gas and carbon emissions. We know the people of Los Alamos County care deeply about preserving our beautiful natural spaces for future generations. We want a healthier town, county, and region here in the semi-arid Pajarito Plateau, where our ponderosa forests, piñon-juniper mesas, wildlife, water supply, and people are especially vulnerable to the rising average temperatures and intensifying droughts attributed to accelerated climate change.
In June 2017, our nation’s President announced exit plans from the United Nations Paris Agreement on climate action. In November 2018, the Fourth National Climate Assessment, released by 13 federal agencies, forecasted a dire future for our ecosystems, economy, and infrastructure should climate change action continue to stagnate in the United States. In January 2019, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham became the 20th governor to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a state-level coalition aiming to fill the void of climate leadership in our country.
Today, our town’s invitation to join the Global Covenant of Mayors still stands. It’s time to answer that invitation. We call on the County Council to sign the Covenant of Mayors and join other leading cities committed to a cleaner, healthier future for the environment and our children who depend on it.
You can learn more at the websites for the Global Covenant of Mayors, c40 cities, and the U.S. Climate Alliance: