ABOVE: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
This past week, the Climate Mayors announced that Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner will become the next Chair of the nationwide coalition.
In this role, Mayor Turner will help catalyze climate-forward actions taken at the local level, provide an example of climate action for leaders at all levels of government, and advocate for an economic recovery grounded in equity and environmental stewardship.
“Cities are powerful drivers in the race against climate change,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Mayors are investing in clean energy, greening our economies, and creating more sustainable and resilient communities across the U.S. The global pandemic has brought the connection between climate change and community health to the forefront of our cities and our society. With a new administration in the White House, Climate Mayors are prepared to lead swift, bold action on climate that will help our nation recover and build for a better future.”
Mayor Turner succeeds Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston, who President Joseph R. Biden nominated to serve as United States Secretary of Labor.
“Mayors see firsthand how climate change is already impacting the health and wellbeing of people in our communities,” said Mayor Walsh. “Mayor Turner has long demonstrated a strong commitment to climate action, and I know that he will work to keep this at the heart of our COVID-19 recovery efforts. I congratulate him on becoming Chair of the Climate Mayors, and I look forward to seeing him advance this work forward on a national and international scale.”
Representing over 74 million Americans from 48 states, Climate Mayors is a peer-to-peer network of 474 U.S. city mayors who have committed to fighting climate change. Originally founded in 2014, the network’s ranks swelled to almost 400 mayors in response to the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Climate Mayors commit to taking ambitious action to meet each of their cities’ current climate goals, while working together towards achieving our national Paris targets.
“As we look ahead to this New Year under the leadership of Mayor Turner, the Climate Mayors network expresses its deepest gratitude to Mayor Walsh for his ongoing commitment to addressing the climate emergency,” said James Ritchotte, Executive Director of Climate Mayors. “We’re honored to have Mayor Turner serve as the new Chair, knowing that he will expand the reach and impact of Climate Mayors, work closely with the new Administration committed to ambitious climate action, and drive an agenda focused on an economic recovery grounded in equity and sustainability.”
Mayor Turner has been a long-standing climate champion for the City of Houston, having served as Mayor during Hurricane Harvey and enduring multiple 500-year storms in just four years. As part of the City’s recovery efforts, Mayor Turner launched Resilient Houston on February 12th, 2020, and the Houston Climate Action Plan on Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary on April 22nd, 2020. These critically important initiatives are focused on transitioning the Energy Capital of the World to a clean energy future and increasing the resilience of communities across the City, prioritizing health, job creation, equity, and sustainability. Under Mayor Turner’s leadership, the City of Houston has committed to purchasing 100% renewable energy and is the largest municipal user of renewable energy in the nation.
As part of this effort, the City of Houston recently approved the Sunnyside Solar Project – a public-private partnership to convert a 240-acre closed landfill in one of Houston’s most vulnerable communities into the largest urban solar farm in the nation. In conjunction with his Complete Communities Initiative, the project is a prime example of how cities can work with the community to address long-standing environmental justice concerns holistically, create green jobs and generate renewable energy in the process.
In addition to serving as Chair of Climate Mayors, Mayor Turner is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Resilient Cities Network. He serves as 1st Vice President on the Board of Trustees for the African American Mayors Association.
Climate Mayors and its work to accelerate local climate progress across the country is made possible with support by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
For more information about Climate Mayors, please visit www.climatemayors.org.