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Santa Monica Signs Climate Change Letter to Trump
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Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

November 29, 2016 -- Santa Monica has signed a letter to President-elect Donald Trump declaring that local efforts to tackle the "climate crisis" will not be derailed, "even in the absence of federal support."

The letter from 37 mayors of both big and small U.S. cities asks for Trump's "partnership" and says that that when united cities “can make change that will resonate for generations."

“We have no choice and no room to doubt our resolve,” said the November 22 letter from Climate Mayors, which was posted on the City of Santa Monica’s website ( Monday. “The time for bold leadership and action is now.”

U.S. Climate Mayors is part of an increasing movement to tackle climate change at the local government level, which deals everyday with the biggest sources of pollution –- vehicles and buildings -– and provides emergency responses to such disasters as floods and extreme wildfires that have been linked to global warming.

The push was one piece of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, which ended with an to help reduce global warming that Trump has said he would consider renegotiating or perhaps canceling.

The president-elect also has promised to repeal an array of energy and environmental regulations instituted by the Obama Administration, claiming that they have damaged the U.S. economy.

Trump’s critics note that his views on global warming have ranged from calling it "an expensive hoax" on the campaign trail to acknowledging in a November 22 interview that there is "some" connection between human activity and climate change but the degree of it is not established and U.S. businesses are hurting because of efforts to fight climate change."

The letter from the mayors (signed by Santa Monica Mayor Tony Vazquez) says its members represent nearly 31 million Americans in both blue and red states, and that they regard climate change as “the greatest challenge of our time.”

“The effects of climate change -- extreme storms, wildfires and drought; sea level rise and storm surge; choking air pollution in cities; disruption of agricultural supply chains and jobs in rural heartlands; and coastal erosion, to name a few -- are a clear and present danger to American interests at home and abroad.”

Estimates have shown these impacts from climate change could cost the American economy $500 billion annually by 2050, the letter said, “and that figure will only rise unless we work together to stem, and ultimately reverse, the amount of greenhouse gases entering our atmosphere.

“On November 8, American voters approved more than $200 billion in local measures, funded by their own local tax dollars, to improve quality of life and reduce carbon pollution,” the mayors said

They noted that 70 percent of voters in Los Angeles County, the car capital of the world, approved a $120 billion, multi-decade commitment to public transit.

Meanwhile, Seattle voters approved transit investments totaling $54 billion, while voters in Austin, Texas approved a record-setting $720 million "mobility" bond.

The mayors ask Trump to help cities leverage funds for the hundreds of billions of dollars in transit, energy and infrastructure; expand renewable energy sources; continue tax credits for electric vehicles, solar power, renewables and other clean technologies, and to “shift to embrace” the Paris Climate Agreement.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was among those who signed the letter.

A major issue for Santa Monica, as well as other coastal cities, is the potential impact of rising sea levels.

The Los Angeles region is expected to match global projections with an increase of five to 24 inches from 2000 to 2050 in sea levels, and 17 to 66 inches from 2000 to 2100, according to a 2014 study by USC Sea Grant and the US Geological Services.

Experts predict high waters will flood the current beaches, parking lots and ocean-side boulevards of Santa Monica, which has installed the first "immersive virtual reality display" in Southern California to illustrate the potential impacts ("Santa Monica Pier Installation Provides Glimpse of Sea Level Rise," August 31, 2016).

City officials are in the process of creating a 2017 Climate Action and Adaptation Plan to reduce emissions and make Santa Monica fully carbon-neutral by 2050.

The City already has lowered emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels, exceeding its 15 percent goal under its current climate Action Plan, officials said ("Santa Monica Reduces Local Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Report Concludes," September 14, 2016).

Last month, the City Council approved an ordinance requiring all single-family homes constructed in Santa Monica to achieve “zero net energy (ZNE)
("Council Adopts 'Zero Net Energy' Requirement for New Santa Monica Homes," October 31, 2016).

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