A commitment to climate change

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett addressed the first Climate Leadership Summit last year.

Mayors across the United States have been responding individually and en masse to President Trump’s decision to remove the country from the Paris Climate Agreement. Republican and Democratic mayors are publicly stating that despite the position of the federal administration, they plan to continue to govern in the interests of the Paris agreement and do what they can to combat climate change on the local level.

Several mayors from Indiana have signed the agreement and have publicly stated their positions on the matter. However one mayor missing from the list is Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.

The Climate Mayors Agreement was released June 1. One June 2, Hogsett released the following statement:

“As a father, I often think of the legacy we will leave for our children. And as Mayor, I know that it will be up to Indianapolis civic leaders to come together and shape that future. The commitments made in the Paris Agreement aren’t about the political posturing or partisan rhetoric that dominates cable news — they are about ensuring the future health and livability of our city and the global community. In the coming weeks, I will join others around the country by bringing together local business, non-profit, and scientific leaders to develop actionable steps to reduce Indianapolis’ carbon emissions and continue moving toward a cleaner, more sustainable future.”

That statement did not come with a signature added to the others.

Mayors from Gary, Bloomington, South Bend and Fort Wayne have already signed the agreement with several others confirming that that have as well or at least plan to*. (The Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, known as Climate Mayors, has received so many requests to join the agreement and the organization that the website can’t keep up with updating the list of signatures.)

But Hogsett says he has no plans at this time to join his colleagues and sign it.

“Mayor Hogsett currently has no plans to sign on the Climate Mayors Statement as he feels strongly that, with so much at stake, action is more important than political grandstanding,” said Aliya Wishner, deputy communications director for Hogsett’s office, in a statement to NUVO. “Mayor Hogsett is instead working to follow-though on the promise of his statement last week, assembling a group of local leaders and technical experts to present recommendations on meaningful emissions-reductions strategies for Indianapolis. Mayor Hogsett is committed the goals of the Paris Agreement – and will direct this group of leaders to guide the City towards achieving those goals.”

Wishner also said it was important to look at the city’s existing initiatives on energy and the environment to put into to context that although Hogsett isn’t signing the agreement, he is still committed to the spirit and goals of Paris. She cited the city’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, the creation of the first comprehensive greenhouse gas inventory that is underway, the “It’s My City” campaign to leverage civic engagement in developing a cleaner, greener Indianapolis and several other public-private partnerships involving the city and the Office of Sustainability.

“Under Mayor Hogsett’s leadership, the City of Indianapolis was already working to reduce our impact on both our local environment and the global climate crisis — with or without U.S. commitments to the Paris Agreement, this important work will continue,” said Wishner.

*- As of 10 a.m. June 9, 295 mayors from around the country have signed the agreement. The mayors of Carmel and West Lafayette were recently added to the list.