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'The Climate Crisis Is Already Here': As US Mayors Convene, Rallies Demand Fossil Fuel-Free Cities

"Delaying climate action costs human lives."

"Growing our dependence on fracked gas further delays the transition to renewables and energy efficiency we need," Alan Palm, director of organizing with 350 Massachusetts and the Better Future Project, said in a statement. (Photo: Massachusetts Sierra Club/Twitter)

As the 86th annual U.S. Mayors Conference kicked off in Boston, Massachusetts on Friday, environmentalists took to the streets—and the Boston Harbor—to demand that local leaders "walk the talk" on climate and commit to bold action as the Trump administration caters to the whims of the fossil fuel industry.

In addition to rallies calling on the gathering of more than 200 U.S. mayors to work toward fossil fuel-free cities, over a dozen kayaktivists also coordinated in the Boston harbor Friday night demanding a total ban on fracking.

"Growing our dependence on fracked gas further delays the transition to renewables and energy efficiency we need," Alan Palm, director of organizing with 350 Massachusetts and the Better Future Project, said in a statement. "Delaying climate action costs human lives."

Pressure on local leaders to take bold action on climate in the midst of scandal-plagued EPA administrator Scott Pruitt's efforts to destroy even the most modest environmental protections appears to be having an effect.

"We fully intend to hold each mayor and each city council's feet to the fire and both help them to implement these commitments and cajole them and pressure them to stick to it."
—Michael Brune, Sierra Club

According to a new analysis by the Sierra Club shared with the Huffington Post ahead of the mayors' gathering on Friday, the "number of cities that pledged to convert to 100 percent renewable energy has doubled since last year."

"Seventy cities and nine counties across the United States have now adopted ordinances setting targets to dramatically overhaul their electricity use, up from 36 cities before June 2017," the Huffington Post reported. "The new total accounts for 10.3 million people using 2.5 percent of the country's power output."

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said the leadership of local officials nationwide in the face of President Donald Trump's efforts to worsen the climate crisis "gives me more hope regarding climate change and clean energy than just about anything happening around the world right now."

"I have no doubt that 100 percent clean energy will be the focus point and rallying cry for an increasing number of elected officials in part because of the challenge of climate change is becoming ever more present and ever more severe," Brune concluded. "We fully intend to hold each mayor and each city council's feet to the fire and both help them to implement these commitments and cajole them and pressure them to stick to it."

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