Mayor Michael Cahill

Mayor Jon Mitchell

Mayor Donna Holaday

Mayors Donna Holaday of Newburyport, Jon Mitchell of New Bedford and Michael Cahill of Beverly represented Massachusetts as delegates of Climate Mayors at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco in mid-September.

Founded in 2014, Climate Mayors is a bipartisan network of U.S. mayors working together to demonstrate leadership on issues related to climate change and to advance federal and global policies that help curb its progression. Members of the Climate Mayors network could apply to California Gov. Jerry Brown to attend the invitation-only summit.

Mayor Holaday noted that as part of her application, she had to declare commitments that Newburyport will make to support zero waste and net zero carbon goals for the city. These commitments include reducing solid waste generation per capita by at least 15 percent by 2030 (from 2015 levels), and enacting regulations or planning policies to ensure that new buildings operate at net zero carbon by 2030.

The Global Climate Action Summit spanned hundreds of events including workshops, lectures, art exhibits, and networking opportunities.

“The conference was incredibly inspiring,” Holaday said. “Thousands of people from across the world attended … and everyone was there with a common goal, to figure out what we can do individually that will help all of us collectively to save our planet.”

Holaday said she attended sessions about what particular municipalities are doing to address the threats associated with climate change. Maps were displayed that showcased municipal commitments so participants could see the scope of global action.

“It’s really important that we are working collectively to address the issues of climate change in each of our communities,” she said. “Any effort can help – solid waste reduction, reducing our carbon footprint, purchasing electric vehicles. It’s clear that the people who are most affected by this crisis globally are the lowest income people in the world. But it has an impact on all of our economies, food supply, and natural environment.”

Mayor Mitchell attended pre-summit events as the Energy chair for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He delivered a 20-minute presentation on the growing offshore wind industry and the environmental and economic benefits it could bring to New Bedford.

After the summit, Mitchell said the key to capitalizing on the benefits of offshore wind is for Massachusetts to compete on the national stage to site offshore wind farms.

“Economic development meets environmental sustainability with offshore wind,” he said. “Wind is a renewable resource, and it doesn’t cost anything but creates lots of jobs.”

On Oct. 22, Vineyard Wind announced that it has signed an 18-month lease to locate the staging operations for its offshore wind farm in New Bedford.

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