Local Governments Lead the Way Against Climate Change

Ann Arbor City Council soon to vote on major local climate funding

On April 22, over 100,000 people at the March for Science – in Washington DC and in local events around the country – sent a message to President Trump and Congress that facts matter.  On April 29, an even larger crowd is expected at the People’s Climate March, and at sister marches nationwide, to deliver the message that the U.S. can’t backtrack from solving the existential problem that climate science has informed us of.

At the same time, no one expects the federal government to move us forward in the fight against climate change, at least not during the next four years.  Instead, we’re looking for leadership in other places – and one of the most promising places is in local government.

You may not think of climate change as a local issue, but don’t tell that to city officials in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, or to New Yorkers after Hurricane Sandy.

Right here in Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan Climate Center reports that annual precipitation rates have increased 44.8% from 30 years ago, and the incidence of 100-year storms have increased by 41.2% in that same time period. Extreme storms will bring damaging winds and floodwaters adversely affecting our communities. The threat of climate change will not be equitably shared, and vulnerable communities will suffer the brunt of it.

What’s more, local governments can and will lead the charge for climate action. Our community can take action now to help curb the worst impacts of climate change. Climate solutions are implemented by city, counties, and states. So while the federal government will be working to dismantle climate action initiatives, cities, states, and counties have the opportunity to continue progress no matter what happens in Washington DC.

Right now, the Ann Arbor City Council is finalizing a two-year operating budget, and they’ve got their greatest opportunity yet to take a stand for climate action.

The Ann Arbor Climate Partnership, a collaboration of Ann Arbor Area citizen activists, organizations, and businesses working together to #ActOnClimate, the City’s Energy Commission and the City’s Environmental Commission, have offered a visionary Climate Proposal to be funded through this upcoming budget, laying out critical steps to prepare our community for the impacts of climate change and reduce our carbon footprint.

The proposal includes five new initiatives:

  1. Rain Ready Ann Arbor, an integrated climate adaptation program;
  2. “EnergySmart” Ann Arbor, an energy efficiency service;
  3. A2 Solar for All, to expand renewable energy in the city;
  4. Charge Up Ann Arbor, sparking the transition to cleaner transportation; and
  5. A2 Green Grants, a neighborhood grants program

If you care about what becomes of our community in the next 10 years or the next 100 years, taking action over the next month is crucial. Before the budget is decided upon, speak out.

Here’s what you can do to move climate action progress ahead in Ann Arbor:

  1. Attend next Monday, May 1st, City Council meeting and voice your support for climate action funding.

  2. Sign our petition.

  3. Sign up to receive updates from the Ann Arbor Climate Partnership.

  4. March with us on April 29th in Washington, or in Detroit, Lansing, or at other sister marches.  

Published on April 27, 2017