Carmel mayor disagrees with Trump’s Paris climate agreement withdrawal

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Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said it’s time for the mayors of the U.S. to show leadership in response to President Trump’s June 1 decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

Brainard said he disagrees with Trump’s “America First” policy and believes pulling out the Paris Agreement will harm worldwide efforts to prevent global warming and/or climate change.

“I am disappointed,” Brainard said. “Other countries need to rely on our country’s word. I think putting the quality of air as a priority, making sure our coastal cities aren’t flooded, making sure we preserve our fossil fuels and encourage energy independence, if we don’t do those things it will harm the United States. I think he’s totally misinterpreted what we need to do to make America a great country and put America first.”

Besides climate change, Brainard said he hopes more Republicans will understand that protecting the environment goes beyond carbon emissions.

“There is no Democrat or Republican that wants dirty water to drink or dirty air to breathe,” he said.

More than 200 mayors nationwide have signed a pledge to reduce greenhouse gases and increase investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The City of Carmel wasn’t listed on the website, but Brainard said it will be added to the pledge.

On Feb. 20, the city council made Carmel the first municipality in the state to pass a climate resilience and recovery resolution.

In November 2013, Brainard was appointed to President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. He is often interviewed by national publications because he is a Republican who believes in climate change, and he served as a keynote speaker and panelist at a special climate change event hosted by The New Republic at the Freedom Forum in Washington, D.C. He also is the co-chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ climate change and energy independence task force.

Brainard said he was surprised Trump pulled out of the agreement. On May 28, he told the Washington Examiner that he predicted Trump would stay in. He said it’s important for a country to honor its agreements.

“Absent of some deal that’s just terrible that threatens national defense, I think we need to honor our agreements, even from past presidents that we disagree with,” Brainard said. “Our word needs to be relied on as a country.”

Local initiatives

In Carmel, Brainard has pushed various initiatives such as:

  • An executive order to purchase hybrid and bio-fuel vehicles since 2005
  • Efforts to promote bicycle use, including millions invested in multi-use paths. Bike share stations are scattered around the city, and every year Carmel City Hall participates in Bike to Work Day.
  • In 2009, about 800 streetlights were replaced with LED lights.
  • More than 100 roundabouts help reduce idling in traffic, which is reduces carbon emissions and improves fuel efficiency.
  • The city has two rain gardens, and Stormwater Management requires a pollution prevention plan for projects during and after construction.
  • The Monon Community Center was built with energy efficiency in mind. For example, 50 percent of the building is glass, so natural sunlight reduces the need for as much electricity for lights and heat.

Source: City of Carmel

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