One year ago, in the aftermath of record-breaking tornados and severe storms in the Midwest, a group of leading mayors and local officials convened at the National Press Club as a commitment to strengthen their response to an era of extreme climate weather. The 45 Inaugural Signatories of the Resilient Communities for America campaign (RC4A) represented a burgeoning movement of local leaders who saw that—in a new age of rapid change and disruption—our communities must be better prepared and built to flourish in the face of emerging challenges.
Today, almost 200 local officials have pledged their commitment to building more resilient communities — Republicans and Democrats from big cities and small towns across the country—and the momentum continues to grow as the network of signatories helps us to reach 1,000 committed leaders by the end of 2014. Led by such luminaries as Campaign Chair Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento and Mayor Ralph Becker of Salt Lake City, Resilient Communities for America has seen great success in amplifying the voice of local leaders and empowering them to achieve their resilience goals.
We’re now in an era where climate change is unavoidable; fewer are questioning the basic science, and more are calling for action to better prepare for future weather challenges ahead. In a Bloomberg poll from June 2014, more than 70% of respondents saw climate change as a threat, and two in three expressed a willingness to pay more to reduce carbon pollution. At the same time, the Obama Administration has stepped up efforts to both cut carbon pollution and prepare for climate impacts, by issuing ambitious draft rules for regulating greenhouse gases through the Clean Air Act, establishing a $1 billion local resilience competition in Housing and Urban Development, and convening a Local, State, and Tribal Task Force on Climate Resilience reporting to President Obama. When it was formed, more than two-thirds of the local officials selected for the Task Force were RC4A Signatories.
The national conversation about climate change has evolved dramatically since the launch of Resilient Communities for America. This progress is the result of actions taken by thousands of individuals and hundreds of businesses and organizations, driven by a heightened sense of urgency as extreme weather has taken a toll in every region of the country. At this one-year mark, we celebrate the significant impact of local leaders who have collectively expressed their commitment to climate change, and have taken action to better prepare their communities through their public commitment to the Campaign. Resilient Communities for America has laid a strong foundation for continued outreach and advocacy in the year ahead, and we congratulate the network of committed leaders who are sparking change and paving the way for a future of local action and climate resiliency.