By Brooks Rainwater, Contributor, Business Insider.
Cities are centers for environmental leadership. Mayors throughout the country, regardless of party, champion climate mitigation solutions. We all need clean air and clean water, and it is not just a local problem, but one that is reliant on leadership at all levels.
As the nation recently tuned in for the President’s address to a joint session of Congress, city leaders looked for leadership on critical issues facing their communities.
Instead of providing specific solutions, President Trump singled out great American cities — including Detroit, Baltimore and Chicago — to illustrate his views on public safety and economic opportunity. What we didn’t hear, however, was how those issues coincide directly with the continued need for resilient, energy efficient, and innovative communities.
As drastic shifts in climate continue to arise at an alarming rate around the globe, we can't pretend that this is a time where binary choices are still on the table. Ice sheets are shrinking, oceans are warming, and we have seen 15 of the 16 warmest years on record happening since 2001. It is imperative to do all we can to support — not degrade – the necessary global effort to alleviate challenges brought on by these changes.
However, there have been multiple reports that appear to point us in the wrong direction, including reports that speculate on cuts to the Department of Energy (DOE), the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), and even pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement . While the new administration has not firmly stated its views on the future of these critical departments and whether it will ultimately invalidate the climate agreement, these moves would lead to a perilous future.