We the undersigned business leaders call upon the mayors of the United States and Canada to commit fully to the clean energy economy. As mayors you have a choice between pursuing a path that leads to the development of fossil fuel infrastructure or a path that develops energy efficiency and renewable energy. We ask that you choose a clean energy pathway.
On December 14, 2016, Portland, Oregon’s Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioners showed us that it is possible to say “no” to new fossil fuel infrastructure. They recognize that we cannot simultaneously invest in new fossil fuel infrastructure and accelerate an investment in a clean, healthy and sustainable economy. On June 12, 2017, Seattle’s City Council unanimously passed a resolution in support of Portland’s move, calling for an end to new fossil fuel infrastructure in Seattle and in the state of Washington.
Increasingly, we are seeing the economic downside of capital investments in fossil fuels, particularly when we analyze the true costs of these projects, without either government or taxpayers assuming the risks. The financial liability of fossil fuels is mounting. It includes damage from possible spills, land despoliation, water clean-up, health care costs, carbon emissions, as well as overvalued stock prices and underperforming assets. With $2.6 trillion divested recently from the fossil fuel industry, investors are increasingly aware that the potential risks of fossil fuel investments are simply too high.
Businesses already suffer significant costs from the effects of climate change, including rising health care costs, more stress on the energy grid, rising insurance premiums and disruptions of transportation infrastructure. National scientific polling commissioned by the American Sustainable Business Council shows that one in five small business owners say they have already been negatively affected by climate change.
In terms of job creation, polluting fossil fuel projects are no match for renewable energy. A recent study by Labor Network for Sustainability found that the U.S. could dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions and move toward 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 — while adding half a million jobs and saving Americans billions of dollars on electrical, heating, and transportation bills.
We call upon state policymakers to heed the business and economic case to end all new fossil fuel infrastructure development, as Portland, Oregon’s city officials have done and Seattle, Washington’s city officials have pledged to do, and help lead the way to a clean energy economy.
As job creators and investors, we stand ready to work with you to unleash the power that comes from the private and public sectors working hand in hand to build a more sustainable economy and society.