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Adler, Pool, Shea planning Paris trip

Tuesday, November 24, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Mayor Steve Adler, City Council Member Leslie Pool and Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea are getting ready to attend the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris. The mayor said he will be in Paris Dec. 3-7. Pool noted that she is going to the conference Dec. 1-8 in her role as chair of the Council Open Space, Environment and Sustainability Committee. Adler said he was asked by the U.S. Conference of Mayors to go to the conference, also known as COP21. This is the 21st U.N. conference on climate change, and Austin officials will be attending as part of what is known as C40. According to information about the organization found online, “Acting both locally and collaboratively, C40 cities are having a meaningful global impact in reducing both greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks. C40 brings together a unique set of assets and creates a shared sense of purpose.” Shea, who has a long environmental record, said she is attending as a member of the board of ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability. This conference, Adler said, is anticipated to produce a big breakthrough on the international treaty on climate change. He noted that he is paying his own way to the conference. His wife, Diane Land, plans to accompany him on the trip. Adler said, “Part of what I want to do there is to network with other mayors … to share what we are doing and to try to open doors for our growing clean energy industry and companies in Austin.” Shea said, “I think this is probably a pivotal time in the history of the planet. Scientists are increasingly warning that we are reaching a point of no return. … I think cities and regions are in a profound position to do real good and move more quickly than nations. I think it’s a really important time to be there.” Austin has gained an international reputation as one of the most forward-thinking cities in the United States in terms of response to climate change. In 2013, the city commissioned a study that indicated that Austin’s summertime average high temperature would increase up to 6 degrees hotter than today’s average of 97 degrees. Council has also adopted Green Building and energy efficiency programs as well as an aggressive plan to lower Austin Energy’s use of fossil fuels and increase use of renewable resources, including solar and wind power. Additionally, the city has adopted aggressive goals for limiting waste going into landfills and has encouraged citizens to use landscaping that uses less water than traditional lawns and gardens.

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