Mayors, Big Business say ‘thanks, but no thanks’ to Trump's climate policy rollbacks

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Robert Leming recently blogged here about 75 U.S. mayors representing more than 41 million Americans in in red and blue states alike banding together to protest the Trump administrations actions to roll back U.S. climate polices. 

On March 28th, Trump signed a “sweeping executive order.. which officials said looks to curb the federal government's enforcement of climate regulations by putting American jobs above addressing climate change.” 

In a speech during the signing, Trump sought to portray his actions as a pragmatic response, saying that the order will “eliminate federal overreach" and "start a new era of production and job creation." (Read more from CNN, here.)

In a letter to Trump, the mayors rejected Trump’s actions, and pledged to work together “to strengthen local efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions & support binding federal and global-level policymaking."

Significantly they cited their constituents’ demands, including economic ones,  as a key motivating factor: 

“As Mayors, we work with our constituents face-to-face, every day, and they demand that we act on climate to improve quality of life and create economic growth.” (see more, including a full list of the mayors that have joined the movement, and a link to the letter in Robert’s post here).

I.e. this diverse group of mayors believe that not only is resistance the ‘right thing to do,’ but that as representatives of their constituents, their jobs demand and depend on it. 

In additional encouraging news, many of America’s biggest companies have pledged to stick to promises to fight climate change made under the Obama administration. 

These companies too said that sticking to these pledges made pragmatic sense, reflecting “their push to to cut energy costs, head off activist pressure and address a risk to their bottom line in the decades to come.”(Read more from Bloomberg Politics, here.

Like the mayors, their response indicated that these companies see resistance to the rollbacks not primarily as altruism - or even as an opportunity to accrue ‘green cred’ from customers and shareholders - but as a pragmatic response to the economic realities in which they operate. 

“This work is embedded in our business,” Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin Gardner said in an email to Bloomberg Politics. "[It's] good for the business, our shareholders and customers; if ultimately we are able to positively impact the environment in the process, that’s a win too.”

In other words, many of these companies look to federal regulations not as a barrier, but as helpful guidelines for navigating a shifting economic context that is already being altered by the climate change. 

These responses turn Trump’s messaging around the order - that federal polices to curb climate change stand in the way of economic development and job creation - on its head. 

They suggest that increasingly, combating climate change is seen by ordinary Americans and major economic and political players alike as not only a way to ‘do well by doing good,’ but also as a prerequisite for economic success and stability. 

This focus on pragmatism is heartening, because it feels sustainable. 

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RobertLeming's picture

When it comes to our Climate challenge, our sustainable future, our amazing world - our President is out of step - his thinking obsolete. Heartening to see our Mayors and our Corporations running the risk analysis and ROI - and joining us in forging our own course ahead.

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susanrichard's picture

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