Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard, co-chair of the Energy Independence and Climate Protection Task Force at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, led a session at the annual event in Indianapolis on June 26.
Brainard spoke along with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu in a meeting room at the J.W. Marriott Hotel shortly after the grand ballroom speech featuring the Dalai Lama and Lady Gaga.
During the working task force meeting for mayors, participants shared ideas about how to create more energy efficient cities and promote energy independence.
“We heard from experts on how to measure carbon emissions,” Brainard said. “That’s very important to have a baseline and be able to measure it. We heard from mayors of coastal cities that are already dealing with the impact of sea level rise.”
Landrieu talked about resiliency, in light of disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, in his speech on climate protection.
“So many people don’t even want to use the phrase ‘climate change’ in our state because we are a major oil producer,” Landrieu said.
He spoke about rising sea levels, coastal erosions and storms. He said it’s important for cities, such as New Orleans, to reduce their carbon footprints.
“There are a lot of things you can affect and a lot of things you can’t,” he said. “Storms are going to come, but the question is whether you are making yourself strong enough to handle anything that happens.”
Landrieu talked about adopting the nation’s first “resilience plan.” He said building up levees isn’t always the best plan. He said some plans need to allow water needs to be let in to help the environment and make it more resilient when it comes to flooding.
“It’s very human when something is coming your way to want to put a wall up,” he said. “Sometimes it’s better to let it in. And I’m not talking about immigration. I’m talking about water.”