Mayor Ralph Becker, on Tuesday, was at the White House for the first of a series of meetings planned for the President’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. The group of 26 city, state and tribal leaders was convened by executive order in November and is a part of the President’s package of efforts to address climate and environmental concerns, first announced this summer.
Mayor Becker said the all-day meeting was very productive and the testimony of his fellow task force members underscored that the realities of climate change are already here and require critical attention.
“As municipal, state and tribal leaders, we do not have the luxury to wait for congress to take action on the work that has to happen right now,” said Mayor Becker. “The Obama administration has made that recognition by convening this group and we will be working toward defining and creating the federal partnerships that will be necessary to continue the mitigation and adaptation efforts that, for most of us, are already under way.”
The task force is co-chaired by Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and David Agnew, White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. Throughout the day task force members were joined by top administration officials including White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx.
Mayor Becker said that while the current impacts of climate change very widely by region-from east coast mega-storms to increased tornado activity in the Midwest to salt water incursion issues in coastal areas and drought concerns and associated increased wildfire activity in western states, including Utah-the need for a closer and more efficient connection to federal agencies is broadly shared.
“The path forward is one that will require collaborative efforts, integrated responses and common goals and recognitions,” said Mayor Becker. “This task force has begun the work to ensure cities, states and federal entities function cohesively to protect the futures of our residents and their children.”