U.S. City, State, and Business Leaders Who Have Committed to Uphold Paris Agreement Call on Congress for Support to Build Back Better
Major coalitions of mayors, governors and businesses deliver letters urging Congress to invest in clean energy to preserve and unlock millions of jobs and set the country on ‘green recovery’ path
(Washington DC) - We Are Still In, US Climate Alliance, and Climate Mayors were founded as communities around the country joined together to uphold the Paris Agreement and accelerate climate action. These leaders are now calling for a federal response to the COVID crisis that recognizes that the fastest way to get Americans back to work, and improve the health of our communities, is through bold and just climate action.
As Congress is ramping up discussions on its next round of stimulus and relief to address the impacts of COVID-19, coalitions from across America, representing over half of the U.S. population and over 60% of U.S. GDP, delivered letters to House and Senate Leadership. Each of these three separate letters outlines a set of policy recommendations to accelerate the recovery of states, cities, and the private sector respectively but across the three letters there is a common call to prioritize American health, and put Americans back to work in good, quality jobs by investing in clean, sustainable infrastructure.
- The US Climate Alliance delivered a letter calling for immediate, flexible federal aid for states and territories (in addition to aid for local governments) to ensure essential state services are uninterrupted. The letter further encourages Congress to put Americans back to work through modernizing and enhancing the resilience of the country’s infrastructure. It specifies recommendations to strengthen the U.S. power grid, expand nature-based solutions, and reduce energy use in the buildings and transportation sectors.
- Climate Mayors published a letter signed by 198 mayors from cities in 41 states, calling for bold action from Congress to protect our planet and build a more just economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the Climate Mayors state “returning to the status quo is not sufficient in meeting the challenges of climate change and inequities in our communities” and the letter lays out a set of bipartisan policy recommendations that can be implemented on a short time horizon to put Americans back to work and create cleaner, healthier, more livable communities.
- Over 30 major businesses which collectively employ over a million Americans, sent a letter that advocates for enhancements to the renewable tax credit programs in order to rescue good-paying American jobs from the economic recession, and promotes policies to stimulate the U.S. economy by incentivizing energy efficiency and transport electrification and investing in clean, renewable energy resources, infrastructure expansion, and grid modernization,
These three letters reinforce other letters that have been sent to Congress from or on behalf of tribal governments, health care systems, higher education networks, museums and cultural institutions, and faith groups since the coronavirus pandemic upended the U.S. economy. Across the country, our communities and institutions have realized and communicated the economic and environmental co-benefits of federal relief and reinvestment; Congress now has the opportunity to make their recommendations a reality. These letters are all available on the We Are Still In website at www.wearestillin.com.
A report from earlier in the summer found that current levels of technology and investment make it possible for the U.S. to achieve 90% clean energy generation by 2035. Also released this week are new polling breakdowns that show that the American public supports the core tenets of a recovery and stimulus that expands renewables. And these policies are only a starting point, estimates show that Congress could create over 9 million well paying jobs every year for the next 10 years, by investing in a green recovery.
Responding to this crisis will take all of us: states, cities, tribes, businesses, universities, faith bodies, cultural institutions, and health care systems, all working to our strengths, with the federal government playing a crucial role in facilitating and supplementing our efforts. It is essential that we not react to one global health and economic crisis by worsening another.
“Congress should have two priorities for the pandemic recovery efforts: protecting public health and creating new jobs for a fairer, stronger economy. The best way of accomplishing both of these goals is by investing in bold, just climate action. Before COVID-19, clean energy jobs were growing at twice the rate of national employment. These jobs and the hundreds of thousands of others supporting the clean energy economy directly correlate with cleaner air and fewer respiratory diseases. This is how we build back better after the pandemic.” - Elan Strait, Director, US climate campaigns, World Wildlife Fund
“US Climate Alliance governors know that we need to build back better. Let’s put our country on the road to a truly healthy and sustainable recovery.” - Reed Schuler, Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Inslee
Letters to Congress on COVID Recovery from Subnational Groups
National Congress of American Indians
National Religious Partnership for the Environment
The Business Council for Sustainable Energy