The mayor of Pittsburgh and the mayor of Paris co-wrote a NYT op-ed in response to Donald Trump’s announcement last week that the U.S. was pulling out of the Paris climate agreement.
The two big city mayors used President Trump’s He-man line (“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris”) as an opening to land a left hook in his face.
The experience of Pittsburgh in the three decades since the collapse of the steel industry reveals how a commitment to science, research and green technology can transform our cities. As late as the 1940s, the air hung heavy with pollution from steel mills. Streetlights were needed 24 hours a day to see through the smog. Today, 13,000 Pittsburghers are employed in the renewable energy industry. The city’s Phipps Conservatory is recognized as one of the world’s greenest buildings, generating all of its own energy and treating and reusing all water captured on site.
Investments in smart infrastructure, bike sharing programs, new mass transit options and building efficiency means Pittsburgh is on track to meet our goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2023. While the majority of electricity in the state of Pennsylvania is still generated from fossil fuels, Pittsburgh will be 100 percent powered by renewable energy by 2035.
We Pittsburghers are proud of our industrial history, but we are preparing for a prosperous future.
In Paris..we are inspired by the resolve of Pittsburgh to deliver on the ambition of the Paris Agreement by building an ever more sustainable and thriving city. In the City of Lights, we’re taking big steps to boost our economy, encourage social mobility and improve the health of our citizens. In recent years, we reclaimed the right bank of the River Seine — an iconic part of the city that was previously dominated by polluting vehicles — for pedestrian use.
In the absence of executive leadership in the United States, an unprecedented alliance is emerging among cities like ours to push progress forward.
—Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto & Paris Mayor Ann Hidalgo, “We Have Our Own Climate Deal,” NYT, 6/7/17
Seattle is part of this growing “cities-of-the-world, unite” effort to address climate change.
Check out the growing Rural Resistance to Trump too.