Monday, June 26, 2017

U.S Conference of Mayors Passes Landmark Resolution Supporting 100% Clean, Renewable Energy


Monday, June 26, 2017
Shane Levy, Sierra Club -
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Today, the U.S. Conference of Mayors approved a historic resolution that establishes support from the nation’s mayors for the goal of moving to 100 percent clean and renewable energy in cities nationwide.

Introduced by the Co-Chairs of Mayors for 100% Clean Energy, the “100% Renewable Energy in American Cities” resolution could pave the way for cities across the country to adopt 100 percent renewable energy targets within their communities.

 “By approving this historic measure, we are showing the world that cities and mayors can and will lead the transition away from fossil fuels to 100 percent clean, renewable energy,” said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin.  “There is more work to be done to realize this vision for our nation, but this vote represents an important first step towards cleaner air and water for our families, more good-paying jobs in clean energy, and stronger cities across the country. ”
“Mayors are ready for 100 percent clean and renewable energy,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “Salt Lake City has set the ambitious but achievable goals of generating 100 percent of the community’s electricity supply from renewable energy by 2032, followed by an 80 percent reduction in community greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. We are taking action to achieve these goals and I am honored to join mayors from across our nation to lead the transition to clean, renewable energy.”

According to a new Sierra Club analysis, if cities belonging to the U.S. Conference of Mayors were to transition to 100 percent clean and renewable electricity, it would reduce electric sector carbon emissions by more than that of the five worst carbon polluting U.S. states combined. If the 100 percent energy targets were achieved by 2025, the total electric sector carbon pollution reductions would fill anywhere from 87 percent to 110 percent of the remaining reductions the United States would need to achieve in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

36 cities across the United States have now committed to transition to 100 percent renewable energy. 118 mayors have signed onto this vision in their community as part of the Mayors for 100% Clean Energy initiative Co-Chaired by Mayor Philip Levine of Miami Beach, Mayor Jackie Biskupski of Salt Lake City, Mayor Kevin Faulconer of San Diego, and Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina.

“Climate change may be the challenge of our generation, but it is also the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Mayor Philip Levine of Miami Beach, Florida. “This landmark resolution reinforces our collective resolve to combat the threats of climate change like rising seas by advancing bold and innovative solutions that reflect the best of our nation’s ideals. As host city for this year’s U.S. Conference of Mayors, I am proud to represent Miami Beach and stand with mayors across the country in supporting a vision of 100 percent clean, renewable energy for my community.”

“Clean energy isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “We’re going green in San Diego not only because it supports clean air and water, but because it supports our 21st century economy. It makes sense for mayors across the country to work together because when we talk about the future of our planet, we’re talking about the future of our communities.”
“What better way to kick off Donald Trump’s energy week than with a message from our nation’s mayors that cities are ready for 100 percent clean and renewable energy,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “Cities don't need to wait for Washington, D.C. to act in order to move the ball forward on clean energy. While Donald Trump props up corporate polluters that are threatening the health of people across our country, mayors are showing that local leaders can and will lead our nation toward a healthier, stronger and more prosperous future powered with 100 percent clean, renewable energy.”
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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Florida Black Bears earn two-year reprieve

A Florida Black Bear. Source: Wikipedia.
Black Bears will be safe from hunters for at least two years thanks to the outcry of Sierrans and Floridians from every corner of the state. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in April voted 4-3 not to have a black bear hunt in 2017 and 2018. The commission made the decision on April 19, in front of a packed house in the small town of Havana, north of Tallahassee. There were 85 speakers of the 200 in attendance, including Sierra Club Black Bear Committee members Whitey Markle and Darryl Rutz.

The Commission failed to support a pro-hunt motion made by Commissioner Liesa Priddy. Commissioner Ron Bergeron, as he had done in the past, did not support the hunt. In summarizing, the Commission said that science supported a hunt, but the citizens of Florida were not ready. They referred to the black bear as being iconic.

From 2002 to 2014/2015, there was a 53% increase in the number of black bears to 4,050, adjusted for the 2,941 bears killed on Florida roads.

The next meeting of the FWC will be July 10 and 11 in the Kissimmee area, although a specific location has not been given. Check here for updates.

Statement of Darryl Rutz,  Sierra Club Black Bear Committee Chair

All of you that made noise by calling, emailing and contacting officials get the credit for this great wildlife victory.

The Sierra Club and other wildlife organizations worked very hard to get the facts out. Our thanks go out to the members of the Black Bear Committee made up of Whitey Markle, Laura Hensley, Marian Ryan, Drew Martin, Rocky Milburn and Judy Kuchta. 
Even though the Committee will be in hibernation, we need to be vigilant of the activities of our Florida Wildlife. Now that the FWC has stated that the numbers of our manatees and Florida panthers have increased, we need to make sure they have a safe habitat to expand. We love our wildlife and want to see that they remain an integral part of our landscape.

Read more: Florida Officials: No Black Bear Hunt Until at Least 2019, Associated Press