Claim: Republican Mayors are Quietly Implementing Climate Policies Without Telling Voters

Reframing in Action

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Conversation author Nicolas Gunkel seems to think mayors deceiving voters is a good thing.

Many Republican mayors are advancing climate-friendly policies without saying so

Nicolas Gunkel

Research Fellow at Boston University Initiative on Cities, Boston University

May 30, 2018 8.38pm AEST

In our research at the Boston University Initiative on Cities, we found that large-city Republican mayors shy away from climate network memberships and their associated framing of the problem. But in many cases they advocate locally for policies that help advance climate goals for other reasons, such as fiscal responsibility and public health. In short, the United States is making progress on this issue in some surprising places.

The real measure of Republican mayors taking action on climate change is not the number of networks they join but the policy steps they take, often quietly, at home. While few Republican mayors may attend the next round of sub-national climate summits, many have set out policy agendas that mitigate climate change, without calling a lot of attention to it – much like a number of rural U.S. communities. Focusing narrowly on policy labels and public commitments by mayors fails to capture the various forms of local climate action, especially in GOP-led cities.

Carmel, Indiana Mayor James Brainard has suggested that some of his less-outspoken counterparts may fear a backlash from conservative opinion-makers. “There is a lot of Republicans out there that think like I do. They have been intimidated, to some extent, by the Tea Party and the conservative talk show hosts,” Brainard has said.

Indeed, studies show that the news environment has become increasingly polarized around accepting or denying climate science. Avoiding explicit mention of climate change is enabling a sizable number of big-city GOP mayors to pursue policies that advance climate goals.

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In my opinion this apparent endorsement for political dishonesty is nothing short of disgusting. Deceiving voters undermines democracy. A vote only has value if politicians who win those votes fulfil their policy promises.

If mayors believe climate action is required they should take their case to voters, let voters decide how they want their tax money to be spent, instead of deceiving voters because they think they know better than the people who elected them.

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May 30, 2018 7:20 pm

Dangerous if accurate.

Reply to  markl
May 30, 2018 7:57 pm

Typical, if accurate

Reply to  markl
May 31, 2018 12:51 am

usual BS
“policies that advance climate goals.” includes a lot of very reasonable and SKEPTIC policies hijacked as “climate friendly”.
An example given is flood-resilience, which as just nothing to do with climate, and is indeed the archetypal skeptic policy (i.e. adapt to current threats, and IF –big if — the threat is exacerbated by climate change, it is already half-mitigated right now)
Likewise, pretty much all actions to cut cost would also cut energy use and CO2 emission

Reply to  paqyfelyc
May 31, 2018 5:41 am

Agreed, a number of sensible actions, like fracking, have the unfortunate side effect of reducing CO2.

Lee L
Reply to  markl
May 31, 2018 3:07 pm

MarkL …
It is accurate and not confined the the USA.
It is also very likely much deeper than you have noticed so far.

What you are seeing is a local part of a global plan and that part is known as Local Agenda 21 or LA21.

It is implemented quietly, under cover of an OCP ( Official Community Plan) and has been renamed as Sustainability.

It is implemented through a United Nations spawned NGO known as ICLEI. ( International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives ). Look at

The ICLEI tree branches to REGIONS then Countries and ultimately to individual towns and cities.
Open the ICLEI Members link once you are on the site and see how long is its reach.

Your local government will likely have joined ICLEI (it will have had to become a paying member) at the recommendation of the municipal bureaucracy and you can find this out by contacting the planning department or environmental department. If your municipality is involved in stealth environmental actions ( climate initiatives, densification, traffic calming, bike lanes, etc) it will very likely have made a new ‘Sustainability’ OCP(Official Community Plan) in the last 10 or so years using guidance ICLEI and from planners trained by ICLEI and planning schools that only teach Sustainable Cities.
Want to quietly implement ‘Sustainability (Economic, Social,Environmental) initiatives? Contact ICLEI for the plans. They’ll help you with the what and how.
Which bylaws to I have to quietly enact? Which training to I have to drive? What organizations do I join and what positions in the bureaucracy need to be created? What is the process to implement the plan? ICLEI has it all and sends it NOT to the elected mayors and council but to the bureaucrats in the Environmental and Planning Departments.

This process was known as Local Agenda 21 and is what has been going on under its new name of Sustainability.
If you dig into this in any depth, prepare to be shocked at how far it has already gone.

You aren’t wrong MarkL. It IS dangerous and frightening.

May 30, 2018 7:24 pm

Congratulations Anthony, for the success of the site over these many years, to be promoted into the “big league” despite google subversion. Back on topic, the only reason climate science is political is that the right answer is demonstrable: CO2 has only a minor effect on temperature – yet the opposite is a political position designed to get people to turn over control of their lives to political forces.

May 30, 2018 7:27 pm

It’s not just environmental issues where the UniParty rules. In Florida, the GOP governor, GOP attorney general, and GOP legislators allowed the counties and cities to institute the policies that led to the school shooting and covered up crimes of hundreds of thousands of thugs.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Archie
May 31, 2018 4:28 am

That is a pretty general accusation. Perhaps you should point out how this has happened with some specific examples. Or is your comment just a petty political expression.

Tom Halla
May 30, 2018 7:30 pm

The American Republican Party has long had a problem with vendidos and RINOs, although the terms overlap. Some politician sucking up to the press, which is overwhelmingly Democrat in their politics, will try to get praise as a “moderate”.
For the last few election cycles, the Democrats have been much more effective in policing the party line on most issues.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 30, 2018 10:15 pm

“will try to get praise as a “moderate”.”

Any politician who moves left will be praised by well regarded {commentators, book authors, academics…}. There are prizes (not just the Nobel) for politicians moving left.

This is a huge pressure on politicians not only from the very leftist academia, this is pressure from the “elites” of other countries, IOW, “interference”.

Where is the outrage?

May 30, 2018 7:34 pm

I’m just wondering, are their any Democrat Mayors who aren’t pushing “climate change” policies?

May 30, 2018 7:57 pm
May 30, 2018 8:07 pm

The climate change agenda can be accomplished at the sub-national level state by state and city by city.

The renewable energy mandates were done state by state.

May 30, 2018 8:08 pm

Well, all Congress applauded Macron a lot, so…

Reply to  s-t
May 30, 2018 10:59 pm

what are you smokin’ s-t? must be good.

Pretty Boy Macron is like Junior Face Trudeau, … both puppets for their masters.

In the US House of Representatives, Texas Congressman Louis Gohmert will be likley Speaker.

Think it can’t happen?
same as Trump would never be president.

May 30, 2018 8:10 pm

The Conversation is bankrolled by the usual suspect green Foundations… What else to expect?

May 30, 2018 8:47 pm

Local governments are always looking for funding and grants from state and federal government. Incentives for green policies are built into the system, especially during the 2009 -2017 time frame. Most politicians have always cared more about money than integrity, especially when it comes gift wrapped in virtue signaling.

May 30, 2018 9:33 pm

That’s only evidence that there are a lot of weak-minded RINOs out there who need to 1) either grow a pair or 2) come out of the closet and switch parties.

Here in AZ, we’re dealing with eliminating 2 RINO senators. The struggle is real. The stakes are nothing short of our very Freedoms as individuals versus a collective of authoritarian, kleptocratic governance by those who think they are our “betters.”

May 30, 2018 9:52 pm

Some info from 2011 …

Start at 6:10:00

May 30, 2018 10:07 pm

28 May: Detroit News: Opinion: California billionaire wants to raise Michigan’s electricity bills
By Timothy Benson
(Timothy Benson is a policy analyst with The Heartland Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois)
Steyer has spent hundreds of millions of dollars funding Democratic politicians and pet progressive causes. One of those pet causes had been a push to increase Michigan’s Renewable Energy Standard. NextGen Climate Action, one of Steyer’s myriad advocacy organizations, had spent close to $2 million bankrolling a ballot initiative to bring the issue before the voters on Election Day, if the Legislature didn’t act on it beforehand.

Current state mandates require Michigan utilities to generate 15 percent of their sales from renewable sources like wind and solar by 2021. Steyer and his allies sought to increase this to 30 percent by 2030. DTE Energy and Consumers Energy, Michigan’s two largest utilities, decided to go full-appeasement and agreed, sub rosa, to increase the mandate to 25 percent by 2030 if Steyer would end the ballot initiative push. Steyer consented, and so, without the consultation of Michigan’s legislators, the Public Service Commission, or voters, a useless and expensive program has become even more useless and even more expensive…

Reply to  pat
May 30, 2018 11:11 pm

The arrogance of Tom Steyer is on display in a lot of states.
Most Democrats don’t pay attention to the funder of Steyer’s lies and deceitful ads. Because his funded message is tested by bias focus groups, Steyer thinks everyone thus listens only to the message. What a maroon.

Steyer’s conceit is revealed in the fact that People with an open mind examine the source. And they realize Steyer is a liar.

Reply to  pat
May 31, 2018 5:37 pm

Carpetbaggers such as Steyer and Earthjustice, both from California, can move into Michigan and do as they please.

The problem began with the state enacting renewable energy mandate which was 10% at the time.

Advocates start with a small percentage of renewables and then keep pushing to up the percentages of renewables.

Reply to  Barbara
May 31, 2018 7:57 pm

On The Issues

Re: Michigan renewable energy mandate.

“Jennifer Granholm on Energy & Oil”

Data base:

May 30, 2018 10:08 pm

“But in many cases they advocate locally for policies that help advance climate goals for other reasons, such as fiscal responsibility […]”.

Making fiscal responsibility a measure means 99% of us are implementing climate policies, you know, by balancing cheque books, paying of credit cards etc.

May 31, 2018 12:51 am

There’s nothing wrong with advancing climate-friendly policies without saying so. Sadly, any policy will have a very very very very very very (six zeroes or more) marginal effect on climate, so the set of climate friendly policies is almost null. You can “save energy” at large, but that’s about it. I’d buy policies if they actually had a positive effect. Most of the policies have no effect, even when combined all together (and we take the high end of sensitivity) they have some uselessly small effect.

If they mean by ‘climate-friendly’ some wind and solar mandates, forcing coal out of the grid, banning plastic straws and similar damaging and/or useless, I’m fully against all politicians that do it, whether they say it aloud or not. It is very important to make sure voters become aware of traitors that say something and then so the opposite, causing damage.

May 31, 2018 12:54 am

the spam filter seems broken, with too much false positive

Reply to  paqyfelyc
May 31, 2018 2:18 am

Maybe it is new, ‘reset’ and in a learning phase?

By the way, I think the layout is worse than before. And the font. Is it me only, but this text is gray, and comments have really overweight w’s and y’s.

Reply to  paqyfelyc
May 31, 2018 2:19 am

Maybe it’s your email address not working? The new platform is more nuanced than before.

Reply to  Hugs
May 31, 2018 2:47 am

my email works.
Even the previous comment was send in moderation!

Reply to  Hugs
May 31, 2018 2:49 am

test with no x word

May 31, 2018 1:12 am

It really depends on what you call ‘climate friendly’. One of the links provided in the story was about a solar panel factory. What mayor is going to turn down a job producing factory? The other link was about better storm drains and floodplains. If you’re getting flooded on a regular basis, it’s stupid not to do something about it.

The folks who wrote the story are claiming support for anti-CAGW policies for almost anything that sounds even close.

Consider the history of street lighting. Ever since streets were electrically lighted, cities have been changing technologies so they could save money by saving energy. They switched from incandescent to mercury vapour long before CAGW was a gleam in James Hansen’s eye. When they switch to LED for the same reason, will folks claim that it’s ‘climate friendly’? Will they claim that the mayor is being sneaky for doing what any sane mayor would have done anyway?

Paul Johnson
Reply to  commieBob
May 31, 2018 7:32 am

The BU “research” seems like an effort to re-brand any sound fiscal and economic decisions by Republican officials as examples of fealty to the Climate Change agenda. Cite any beneficial action or program that has the peripheral effect of reducing CO2 and then claim that CO2 reduction was the real but unspoken motivation behind it. Wag the dog.

Perhaps the intent is to sow discord among GOP populists by implying a secret commitment by elected officials to Climate Change where none exists, and it seems to be working.

Alan Tomalty
May 31, 2018 1:56 am


Gotta love the Chinese for at least 1 thing. They are hell bent on increasing CO2 emissions.

Love it. We need more CO2 NOT less

May 31, 2018 2:09 am

commieBob – You are right. Gunkel obviously had a conclusion and then searched for data – no matter how thin – to support it. The link you reference about a solar panel factory being built in Mesa, AZ is a great example. It is actually a link to an obsolete 2011 page and shows some Republicans praising the project which was promising hundreds of jobs and millions in spending in their area. None of it was support for any man-made global warming theory. The humorous part is that this facility closed in 2013, failing to provide any jobs and losing millions for First Solar.

According to the logic in the article, the fact that FL changed building codes after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 must mean that the Republican leadership was supporting claims of accelerating man made climate change, rather than just learning from the event about which buildings were destroyed and which survived and why. My 1993 home was recently upgraded to new roof attachment requirements developed from Andrew derived knowledge. My safety increased and my insurance went down significantly. None of this has anything to do with duplicitous Republican leaders, just the age old desire to save family homes and reduce costs from disasters that have happened for ages.

Reply to  Rocketdan
May 31, 2018 8:33 am

Look at your poilicy premium, Rocket.

Sure, the use of “hurricane clips” and other strengthened connections of the roof to the supporting walls and then to the slab or piers saved a lot folks money since the mid-eighties. A few thousand in my case., We live in an 88 home Been thru a cat 3 making landfall 30 miles away, Then a coupla cat1 and cat 2 storms, all making landfall withn 40 miles since 1988.

However, our know-it-all legislature forced the insurance companies to treat roof damage from a thunderstorm here in the panhadle the same as from a hurricane if a “tropical” system brushes Key West that same day!!! So the deductible is a few thousand bucks for most homes eben for a small leak.

The only good thing they did was have the insurance companies collect a small amount for the “rainy day” fund,

Gums sends…

May 31, 2018 4:40 am

Follow the money

Dave Ward
May 31, 2018 6:15 am

“Citizens can get involved, encourage their city to join, and build momentum for climate action”

“9,098 cities, representing 771,380,513 people worldwide and 10.49% of the total global population, have committed to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy”

“Citizens CAN get involved” – which doesn’t mean that all 771,380,513 people worldwide actually DID vote. I wonder just how few “People Worldwide” know what is being carried out in their name?

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Dave Ward
May 31, 2018 6:27 am

On the local level, most people are concerned about property taxes, roads, schools and crime. Those are the areas they want their government to be attentive to.

Alexander Vissers
May 31, 2018 6:33 am

How is climate subject to municipal policies? Preparing for floods is hardly “climate friendly policy”? Reducing exhaust fumes in cities is more likely to advance public health than to advance any “climate goal” whatever that may be. It would be really alarming if rational policy measures would be left out for fear of dogmatic criticism but no such evidence is to be found in the article.

Kaiser Derden
May 31, 2018 6:43 am

since “climate change” effects EVERYTHING and is effected by EVERYTHING (according to the climate change religion) seems to me that ANY policy enacted by a mayor could be labeled as a climate change policy … its always tails we win heads you lose with the climate change religion …

Gordon Pratt
May 31, 2018 6:56 am

What is this left vs. right business? Does it matter to you if government has raised energy taxes – and therefore food prices – to “save the planet” or to repair infrastructure? The kids will still be hungry.

Johann Wundersamer
May 31, 2018 7:17 am

If mayors believe climate action is required they should take their case to voters, let voters decide how they want their tax money to be spent, instead of deceiving voters because they think they know better than the people who elected them.

Yep. Appeasement never made it.

Gary Donald Goulet
May 31, 2018 7:28 am

Which “Big City” Republican Mayors? They mention some guy from Carmel, IN. No offence, but Carmel is not a “Big City”. And of course, the greatest factor in the USA meeting the failed Paris Goals, (which we did, and no other country cane close) was the booming fracking industry freeing up all the beautiful natural gas and oil!

May 31, 2018 8:52 am

What is happening is that the climate extremists are once again redefining the issues.
They wish to claim that any infrastructure upgrades or maintenance decisions are driven ny their obssession.
This is just another step in theses kooks hijacking the public square.

May 31, 2018 9:14 am

Wyoming Republicans do that all the time, only they tell because they think Wyomingites are clueless. Governor got the “prove global warming is true” supercomputer, not caring if it “proves” that AGW is true, the states economy collapses (he has plenty of money, what does he care?). Power company trying to destroy oil, gas and coal with useless wind turbines. Putting in the “Barack Obama Tribute Wind Plant” on I80 to impress all the libs. Yep, when a democrat gets back in the White House and Wyoming is basically shut down, I think they asked for it.

Reasonable Skeptic
May 31, 2018 9:18 am

I will take a nuanced approach to this.

It all depends on what policies they mean. Climate Change policies could be wide ranging, so normal flood management could be considered “climate change” mitigation but so could a carbon tax.

Chris in Calgary
Reply to  Reasonable Skeptic
May 31, 2018 1:25 pm

Exactly. Regardless of what the propaganda machine says, we have to applaud policies that benefit all (reducing energy waste saves money, etc.), and not those that degrade budgets, people, or the environment. To do otherwise would be reactionary — to just react against anything labelled “climate change” would be no better than those who react for anything labelled “climate change”.

Gunkel’s analysis is disingenuous: it claims for “climate change” policies that make sense regardless of their ideological position, in a way that would tend to produce blowback against Republican mayors who are acting in the (actual) public interest.

Reply to  Chris in Calgary
May 31, 2018 11:59 pm

Agreed. The second Gunkel gives shows that Tulsa has had a longstanding flooding problem, predating Gorebal warming by decades. Much has already been done to mitigate this. If I was mayor, would I seek federal funds to do more cuz Gorebal warming? Sure I would.

Joel Snider
May 31, 2018 12:26 pm

This wouldn’t surprise me – there’s a lot of rats on both sides of the aisle.

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