US Mayors Delegation at COP 21 in Paris

Empowering mayors and local officials to serve as climate ambassadors
in local, state, national, and international policy dialogues.

The year 2015 was a pivotal year for addressing climate change. The UN Conference of Parties (COP 21) meeting in Paris in December 2015 and the EPA Clean Power Plan for reducing power plant emissions released in August 2015 laid the groundwork for climate mitigation for years to come, and it is critical that they reflect and ambitious, substantive approach embraced by the policymakers and public who will ultimately determine their success. Mayors and local officials have a crucial role to play in demonstrating leadership and advocating for strong action at the national and international levels. They can be equipped to do so with tools, training, and events around climate policy and communications, undergirded with formalized climate commitments and current analysis of their local emissions consistent with international standards. 

The Local Climate Leaders Circle was an initiative of RC4A partner organizations to support a group of 11 mayors and local officials in speaking out as champions for climate action in national and international policy forums. The group formed a delegation to COP 21.

Leaders Circle participants were provided with technical assistance, communications tools, advocacy assistance, and financial & logistical support. The Leaders Circle committed to the Compact of Mayors and received support in reporting climate information into the carbonn Climate Registry to comply with the Compact, so that they can further establish climate goals for their community, and also learn the most effective approach to deliver on those goals and share their learnings with communities worldwide.

This coalition of US mayors and city officials showcased their cities’ climate leadership on an international stage in Paris that brought together mover than 500 mayors from around the world, the largest ever gathering of local elected leaders. The Leaders Circle members met regularly with representatives from the US government and international stakeholders calling for an ambitious international agreement that addresses our climate crisis and supports further action at the local level. They convened at COP21’s Transformative Action Pavilion, a space where the leaders shared information about planned climate projects with potential investors and accessed other resources for removing barriers to implementation.

Ultimately, thanks in large part to the model that cities demonstrated in Paris and the leadership message they brought, COP 21 was success in producing the Paris Agreement. But that is only the first step. Now the work begins to deliver on that promise. Members of the Leaders Circle and all signatories to the Resilient Communities for American Agreement will be leaders in making a prosperous, equitable, and resilient future a reality. 

"No one city, even a big city like New York, moves the needle very far, but by working together and lobbying together, they can make an enormous difference." - Matt Appelbaum

The Local Climate Leaders Circle includes:

Atlanta, GA: Mayor Kasim Reed
Boulder, CO: Former Mayor, City Councilmember, Matt Appelbaum
Chula Vista, CA: Mayor Mary Casillas Salas
Des Moines, IA: Mayor Frank Cownie
Grand Rapids, MI: Mayor George Heartwell
King County, WA: Council Chair Larry Phillips
Oakland, CA: Mayor Libby Schaaf
Pittsburgh, PA: Mayor Bill Peduto
Salt Lake City, UT: Mayor Ralph Becker
Santa Monica, CA: Council Member Pam O’Connor
West Palm Beach, FL: Mayor Jeri Muoio