About 160 people attended a “Mayors’ Climate Summit” at Rutgers University Feb. 3, an event that was the brainchild of Mayor Phil Kramer.
The summit was held at Rutgers’ Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy in New Brunswick and was attended mainly by mayors and other elected officials from throughout the state.
Sponsored by the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, Sustainable Jersey and the Bloustein School, the summit was seen as a way for elected officials to meet and share ideas of dealing with the effects of climate change, in light of the Trump administration’s decision to remove the country from the Paris Climate Agreement.
The Paris Agreement is a multinational agreement, under the auspices of the United Nations, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions starting in 2020.
Attendees hailed the event as a success and looked forward to future meetings.
Along with Kramer, representing the township was Councilman Ted Chase (D-Ward 1). The League of Conservation Voters is headquartered in the township, and its executive director is Ed Potosnak, who was also at the summit.
Kramer said he was inspired to have the summit after his reaction to the United States pulling out of the Paris Agreement.
“I was distraught, I was upset and I actually said to myself, someone should do something about this,” Kramer said at a press conference after the summit. “Then I looked down at my business card and saw the word ‘mayor’, and said, OK.”
Kramer then turned to Potosnak for help, and the two got the ball rolling for the summit.
Potosnak said the day was “amazing.”
“Mayor Kramer’s vision of bringing mayors together to act locally to address the great threat that we have on climate change turned out to be just phenomenal,” he said. “We had mayors from the northern-most parts of our state, the southern-most parts of our state, inland, shore, Republican, Democrat, and one of the things that’s clear is there’s a lot of energy around the idea of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and there’s a lot of different approaches and tools that were shared today that can make an impact right away.”
“I think we’re very lucky in Franklin Township to have a mayor and council, and Ted Chase who is a leader in environmental protection, ready to go,” he said. “There’s a lot of innovation and I think Franklin is really primed to make a big difference.”
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