Nation’s counties call on Congress and the administration to take practical actions to address climate change WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Association of Counties (NACo) Board of Directors adopted policy today calling on Congress and the Administration to take practical actions to reduce the risks of global warming.
The policy, adopted today at NACo’s 2007 Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., “Urges Congress to address global warming, regardless of its source.” Further, the policy states, “NACo supports immediate and long-range efforts by the federal government to involve all levels of stakeholders to mitigate possible sources of climate change now through a series of practical incentives and through more federal funding for all means of emissions reductions. NACo will provide a leadership role in the education, discussion, evaluation, and decision making processes regarding issues of global climate change affecting counties.”
Executive Director Larry E. Naake said it is the first time the NACo Board of Directors has adopted policy on this issue.
“Counties all across the country have really stepped up in recent years to address climate change issues with a variety of innovative programs,” Naake said. “We hope that through this policy, the nation’s counties can work more closely with Congress and the executive branch to develop effective national climate change policies.”
The resolution highlighted efforts by county governments to save money on energy bills and reduce emissions. Like consumers, local governments face ever-increasing costs for energy use.
The National Association of Counties (NACo) is the only national organization that represents county governments in the United States. Founded in 1935, NACo provides essential services to the nation’s 3,066 counties. NACo advances issues with a unified voice before the federal government, improves the public's understanding of county government, assists counties in finding and sharing innovative solutions through education and research, and provides value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money. For more information about NACo, visit www.naco.org.
“We call on the federal government to take the lead of local governments and take practical steps to reduce global warming, cut air pollution, and save taxpayers money,” said Bob Weiner, Councilman, New Castle County, DE, who was the lead sponsor of the Resolution. Councilman Bob Weiner chairs both NACo’s Sustainability Leadership Team and the Land Use/Growth Management Subcommittee. Weiner worked with a diverse array of political interests to craft the consensus resolution by brokering compromise language which was adopted by NACo as its official policy on global warming.
“Regional governments are critical change agents in the fight against global warming,” said Weiner. “Through land use planning, transit policy, and responsible environmental management, regional governments have become a key market catalyst in supporting and developing clean energy solutions. Bi-partisan support at all levels of government is critical to develop the use of alternative energy and reduce the impacts of global warming.”
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that local governments annually spend $3.4 billion too much on energy costs due to inefficiency. Hundreds of counties are participating in the Energy Star Program to cut county energy costs and pollution by 20-40 percent.
“We have registered counties across the country in the Energy Star Program to save money, conserve energy, and reduce global warming emissions. Counties are providing leadership in the education, discussion, evaluation, and decision making processes regarding issues of global climate change affecting communities”, said Weiner.
For more information, visit www.naco.org or contact Councilman Bob Weiner at www.bobweiner.com or at 302-547-9876.
Resolution urging Congress and the Administration to Take Practical Actions to Reduce the Risks of Global Warming
Issue: Global Warming and Climate Change
Adopted policy: NACo urges Congress to address global warming, regardless of its source. NACo supports immediate and long-range efforts by the federal government to involve all levels of stakeholders to mitigate possible sources of climate change now through a series of practical incentives and through more federal funding for all means of emissions reduction. NACo will provide a leadership role in the education, discussion, evaluation, and decision making processes regarding issues of global climate change affecting counties.
Background: Climate disruption is a reality. As a result many cities, counties, and regional organizations throughout the nation, both large and small, are reducing pollutants through a series of programs that provide economic and quality of life benefits. Emission reduction programs benefit communities through reduced energy bills, green space preservation, air quality improvements, reduced traffic congestion, improved transportation choices, and economic development and job creation through energy conservation and new energy technologies.
All strategies for emissions reduction should be considered, including but not limited to, mass transit, biofuels, hydrogen, wind and tidal energy, geothermal and other forms of renewable energy strategies, nuclear, clean coal technologies and smart growth strategies.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that local governments spend $3.4 billion too much on energy costs through waste and inefficiency. Hundreds of counties are participating in the Energy Star program to cut county energy costs and pollution by 20-40 percent. More than 40 counties are enrolled in the County Energy Efficiency Network to save money and reduce pollution. Many of these counties work with performance contractors to improve efficiency at no out-of-pocket cost to taxpayers.
Many counties like King County, WA; Dane County, WI; Montgomery County, MD; New Castle County, DE; and Fairfax County, VA are also taking voluntary measures to cut air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions to help attain clean air.
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences and 10 other countries recently called for immediate action to curb greenhouse air pollution tied to global warming. The world’s preeminent climatologists from 113 countries just attended the International Panel on Climate Change Conference (IPCC) and jointly stated on January 31, 2007 that recent global warming was “very likely” caused by human activity but there was still no consensus as to certainty.
However, all can concur that the earth is warming up and therefore it makes sense to discuss the consequences of global warming and to discuss what initiatives can be undertaken to address these consequences. Most scientists agree that global warming impacts are now being seen and cost-effective solutions exist like more energy efficiency and renewable energy. Extreme climate change could have a huge impact on counties with more and severe floods, a growth in killer heat waves, shifting crop patterns, wildfires and lack of or too much snow.
Congress is considering many measures to reduce greenhouse air pollution. This NACo policy supports practical, cost-effective efforts to reduce greenhouse air pollution to save lives, jobs, and money and reduce the risk of global warming.
NACo believes that any changes to address multi-emissions pollution should support current Clean Air Act provisions and protect the ability of states/ localities to adopt more stringent regulations. NACo has language dealing with multi-emissions reductions, states rights, trading, New Source Review (NSR), and greenhouse gases.
Fiscal/Urban/Rural Impact: Implementing conservation measures could save counties billions and reduce the risk of flooding, heat wave deaths, crop losses and higher fuel costs. This measure would increase rural income with wind farms and bio-fuel projects.
Adopted by the NACo Board of Directors
March 5, 2007