If the local health benefits of climate action are so large and obvious, why aren’t more cities mobilizing to take advantage of them?
Some cities have made a good start, at least rhetorically: More than 7,500 local jurisdictions have signed on to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, each with the promise of specific steps aimed at achieving the steps toward carbon neutrality enshrined in the Paris Accords. The question is whether mayors can sustain their commitments, and turn them into actual policy, in the face of a federal government, lead by the president, who assail the need for any action at all.
Part of the challenge is in translating the rapidly emerging science on health benefits into information that can be used by the public and local decision makers. Scientists don’t always communicate their findings in clear, broadly accessible language. They need to do better, as do the journalists covering this issue. Too often the media focuses on melting glaciers, rising sea levels and the increased severity of storms, leaving unsaid the positive benefits of acting on climate now.