(This piece was originally published on June 2, 2017 in the Indy Star.)

WASHINGTON — Mayors from across the country — including Republican Jim Brainard of Carmel — pledged Friday to take the lead in reducing the nation’s carbon footprint after President Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris climate agreement.

“There will still be leadership from the United States,” Brainard said in a call with reporters organized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “It’s going to come from the mayors of the country.”

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, a Democrat, said in a statement separate from the call that he will bring together business, nonprofit and scientific leaders “to develop actionable steps to reduce Indianapolis’ carbon emissions and continue moving toward a cleaner, more sustainable future.”

“As a father, I often think of the legacy we will leave for our children,” Hogsett said. “And as mayor, I know that it will be up to Indianapolis civic leaders to come together and shape that future.”

One of the first mayors to speak out after Trump’s Thursday announcement was Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, who was appalled that the president used his city to justify his decision.

“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Trump said in his Rose Garden announcement of his intent to quit the international agreement to reduce greenhouse gases.

Peduto, one of the mayors who went to Paris to push for the 2015 agreement, said it’s his duty to prepare his city for the future.

“If you are a mayor and not addressing shifts in changing weather patterns or preparing for the impacts of climate change you aren’t doing your job,” Peduto, a Democrat, said in a statement.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg tweeted his support of Peduto of Thursday.

“All climate change is local,” Buttigieg said.

As evidence, he said one of South Bend’s worst problems last year was “a climate disaster,” referring to extensive flooding caused by an historic rainfall. By contrast, one of the area’s best job creators is a solar company, which has brought 50 full-time jobs to the city, he said.

Buttigieg announced Friday he is joining the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, a group of mayors who have promised to work locally, and advocate nationally, for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton and Gary Mayor Karen Freman-Wilson previously joined the group, which includes more than 100 cities. Like Buttigieg, those mayors are also Democrats.

In Carmel, Brainard has been involved in the issues for years.

Co-chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors task force on energy independence and climate protection, Brainard was also one of four Republicans on former President Barack Obama’s 26-member task force of state and local elected officials created to give the previous White House administration feedback on how local communities are dealing with climate change.

Brainard traveled with the group to speak with local leaders in India and Germany about creating sustainable cities in advance of the Paris climate change conference.

In his own city, Brainard has pushed various initiatives to reduce carbon emissions including purchasing hybrid and biofuel vehicles, planting trees and keeping traffic moving by building roundabouts instead of traffic signals.

“Cities all over the country are experimenting and innovating with how to reduce that particular city’s carbon emissions, and that’s why I’m still optimistic that we’ll be able to meet the terms of our country’s promise to the rest of the world, regardless of what this particular administration chooses,” Brainard said. “In some cities that maybe haven’t gone as far as we have, they may have to step it up a bit.”

But while Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton told reporters Friday mayors will be stepping up their game, he also said Trump’s decision is a setback.

“I want to give people hope, but not false hope,” said Stanton, a Democrat who said climate change is contributing to extreme heat, drought and increased forest fires in his state. “It’s going to be a lot harder for the United States to meet its commitment under the Paris accord without the president being on board.”

Vice President Mike Pence defended Trump’s decision Friday, calling it “refreshing to have a president who just stands without apology for the American people, for the American economy and for America’s interests in the world first.”

“It has been long a goal of the liberal left in this country to advance a climate change agenda,” Pence told Fox News.

The administration argues the Paris agreement would be bad for the U.S. economy. Trump in March signed an executive order to roll back regulations intended to help the United States meet its commitment under the agreement to reduce greenhouse gasses. Those included restrictions on carbon emissions from power plants, regulations Pence fought as Indiana’s governor.

Pence’s successor, Gov. Eric Holcomb, applauded Trump’s ordered rewrite of those rules, saying in March states know best how to guide energy production in ways that “strengthen, rather than hinder, economic growth.”

Asked Friday if Holcomb agrees with Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement, Holcomb’s spokeswoman called that a “federal issue and a decision for the president.”

“As for Indiana, we will continue to advance clean energy production using our state’s available and abundant resources,” said spokeswoman Stephanie Wilson.

Other Indiana Republicans applauded Trump’s decision.

Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Brownsburg, said the Paris agreement would have a negligible impact on global temperatures while delivering a blow to consumers’ electric bills.

Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Newburgh, whose southeastern district includes the state’s coal mines, said the commitment would have devastated areas like Southern Indiana.

The state estimates the coal mining industry supports about 2,500 Hoosier jobs. The Solar Foundation counts about 2,700 solar industry jobs in Indiana.

Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, cited those figures in calling Trump’s decision “stunningly short-sighted, from an economic perspective.”

But Kharbanda said determination by mayors, advocates, citizens and others will mean that the movement to address climate change in the United States will continue to grow.

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