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US Mayors Call for $4 Billion Block Grant to Combat Global Warming

Mayors attending the 75th Winter Meeting of The US Conference of Mayors have called for $4 billion in an Energy and Environmental Block Grant to help cities combat global warming. The mayors also launched a major campaign to create a “climate of change” in Washington.

The US Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,139 such cities in the US today, each represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the Mayor.

Cities are on the frontlines of climate change with mayors leading the way. But we can’t do it alone. We need the federal government to be a real partner with us on the issues of climate protection and achieving energy independence. That is why we are proposing an Energy and Environmental Block Grant.

—Douglas H. Palmer, Conference President and Trenton, NJ Mayor

The block grant would provide funding directly to cities and urban counties for programs that: improve community energy efficiency; reduce carbon emissions; and decrease dependence on oil.

To date, more than 372 mayors from all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, have signed onto the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, led by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, where mayors have pledged to take actions to cut their emissions in line with the Kyoto Protocols. Additionally, the Conference of Mayors has held two national energy summits focused on alternative fuel sources and green buildings.

The mayors also outlined three requests of the 110th Congress:

  • Establish a national cap on greenhouse gas emissions and a flexible market-based system of tradable allowances for emitting industries;

  • Pass climate-friendly energy and transportation policies; create funding and incentives to help cities in their efforts to curb emissions; and

  • Create funding and incentives to help cities in their effort to curb emissions.


Rafael Seidl

Presumably, this $4 billion would be coming out of the federal budget. It's not a huge sum and as long as Congress keeps close track of how it is actually spent, it could be money well spent. Curbing climate change is, after all, an effort that requires a very large number of rather small decisions that all add up. Local government may be better placed to persuade small businesses and individuals to make these decisions than Congress is.

However, the mayors calling for this are unlikely to receive more than matching funds - the federal budget is deep in the red because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, so they need to put their own money where their mouth is as well. To their credit, many have done so already.


_Speaking of mayors (and state govenors), many states and municipalities are currently running surpluses. Perhaps some of it can go towards combating global warming (and increasing efficiency/productivity). The rest can be put away in a trust fund for leaner years ahead, or plowed into underfunded pension plans.
_One way to fund a renewable energy revolution is through existing state/city pension investment funds. They could invest in energy production facilities, and reap the rewards (cash cow). Of course, they should be a bit cautious, and start off with small pilot ventures. They can also work together to spread risk. Leveraging combined assets - for multi-billion dollar investments when the technologies prove themselves large scale - is another advantage.



Buy BEVs and HEVS ONLY!!!

If local communities would act more aggressively, perhaps the public awareness about these vehicles would be more significant and would make a stronger impact.

By the way, I heard that Santa Barbara-CA is the only city-small town in the entire US whith the largest fleet of BEV busses!!! Why can´t other communities do the same?



Sounds like more business as usual to me. Not the first time I have seen politicians trying to get someone else to pay for what they want. Since when did mayors set national policy? If a mayor wants action in his city why doesn't the city pay for it themselves? If they want action nationwide why don't they go through congress?


4 billion seems like a huge sum to me, and you are much more optimistic than me when you say congress could keep close track of it. And I don't agree that the federal government is in the red because of foreign wars. They are in the red because, to use your phrase, "A very large number of rather small decisions that all add up."

Whatever you think of wars and how they are fought, at least it is what the federal government was created for. So much of what they spend their money on is not. Buying buses for communities is not what the federal government was created for. If mayors want electric buses (or whatever the specifics are) in their cities I think the people who will be ridin' 'em should be buyin' 'em.

BTW- Thanks for all your efforts on this site. I spend way too much time here though....



Having municipal governments tackle climate change is a much better solution than expecting a federal government to do it all. As was said in a previous comment, this issue is much better dealt with at a smaller, wider level (more people, more decisions) than trying to centralize the process. That having been said, what about the cost of all this?

Well, the Dems want to raise the minimum wage to over $7/hr right? Okay, perfect. Then increase income tax by 1% across the board, and have that 1% boost go straight to climate change initiatives. Nobody would really feel that change, but it could push billions of dollars into federal coffers for that purpose. That way, everyone contributes, and everyone benefits.


If mayors want to reduce GHGs they should follow Londons example and give us free EV parking.

John Whittle.

The Mayor should have enough brains to realise that he will never - at any price - combat global warming. Save the cash-flow mister, do something worthwhile with it like helping the poor. Instead of spending a lot of money, why not spend a little time and read what the GOD has to say about global warming in His word.
(Revelation chapter 16: verses 8 and 9). Forget your fancy financial folley, and recognise that there is nothing you, or anyone else can do about it. IT IS WRITTEN....IT WILL HAPPEN WITH OR WITHOUT YOUR OPINION.

Rafael Seidl

JRod -

$4 billion is small compared to the rest of the budget, not to my personal fortune or rather, the lack of it :-)

As for Congress watching closely how the money is spent, you may have a point. But given that democracy is the worst form of government save all the others, politicians will always spend money on projects that are below the scale at which they ought to operate, either because a particular effort makes them look good or because it benefits a particular donor in their constituency. The problem may be especially acute in the US, but other democracies have to suffer their fools as well.

Better that the pols buy buses than that they buy weapons systems that some future President will be itching to use.

fyi CO2

John, combatting global warming IS helping the poor, all boats rise (sorry bad analogy). It's not usually the rich that live next to a coal or ethanol plant. It's not usually the rich affected by drought or hurricane. It's not hard to be a hopeful Christian with some scientific reasoning.

Robert Schwartz

The conclusion of any argument a Mayor makes is always please send us more Federal money. If they really wanted to reduce GHG, they would STFU.


All city fleets and taxis should be hybrids and cars running on E85

Cities should install as much wind and solar as possible


Corn ethanol should be disqualified for E85 because it barely yields net energy.  Unless and until cellulosic ethanol becomes both energy- and cash-positive, emphasis should be on hybrids and electric propulsion.

Ed Danzer

Democracy is the best form of government if you want people to make changes. The problem we face in the USA is too much government control and more taxation every year. The mayors asking for money to fix the problems they have created is another example of not excepting responsibility for prior decisions.
Grid lock on the highways and high population densities go hand in hand. Placing large number of businesses in one area makes everyone have to travel at similar times to one place causing energy waste in the form of transportation infrastructure construction bottle necks.
The business I work for and my own part time business needs require me to travel to Seattle several times per month. Poor infrastructure planning could cause 50% of the pollution in Seattle.
The looming problem the USA faces financially is to pay for retirement. USA Today had an article stating that the retirement liability per house hold is greater than their net worth. This could be a problem for many other countries as life expectancy increases and population ages.


John, God may have a plan for your life, but if you take a gun to your head and blow you brains out that plan will not come to fruition. Pollution, environmental damage and resource depletion are all guns that we have put to our own societies collective head. If it takes a little money to put the gun down it's money well spent.


Bah, the mayors aren't as likely to promote building new nuclear power plants, which is the only way to significantly reduce emissions in the short term.


Mayors can do quite a bit, they can promote the use of hybrid buses and garbage trucks. They can promote the use of biofuels in their fleets and they can make it more attractive to buy electric vehicles. They can promote the use of public transit and they can use intelligent design to make cities more livable and reduce commuter distances.

kent beuchert

The conference of mayors is a group of poliicians from our dead urban areas who gather every few years with yet another reason why the Federal government should give them
money. The raison de jure they've selected this time around is that good old surefire standard reason for every otherwise nutty idea, global warming. The media doesn't even cover this event anymore - why should this blog pay any attention?

Harvey D.


What would happen if we all delay buying a new car (and small utility vehicles) for two or three years or until such time as higher performance Hybrids, PHEVs and/or BEVs are available?

The power of the buyers could force car manufacturers to come up with lower fuel consumption products.


Anyone who thinks 4 bil is going to solve the non-existent "global warming, is living in some alternate reality. Just another cash grab by politicians.


Speaking of alternate realities, anyone who can look at the bare slopes around Davos and deny the reality of global warming isn't on speaking terms with reality either.



Does record 30 feet snow cower in Whistler ski resort in my Vancouver means Global Cooling?



actually it means that normal climatic patterns have gone awry, which is very much the case. to counter your 30 inches of snow, andrey, the city of st. petersburg, russia got maybe 1 inch of snow total (!!) during its winter until the new year. normally there's snow on the ground before december even starts.


It is 30 feet, Lensovet.

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