Earth Day 2021 erupted Thursday with announcements about climate change fighting, varying widely from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiling enhanced goals, U.S. truck manufacturers touting biofuels and the mayors of some of Florida’s largest cities kicking off a “friendly” competition.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announced a contest to see who can push their communities the fastest toward a carbon-free finish line.
But the mayors are really trying to motivate other mayors, industry and business to support the state’s transition away from fossil fuels and greenhouse gases.
Orlando’s goal is to be carbon-neutral by 2050, while the other three cities have a variety of city-government and citywide goals. On Thursday, President Joe Biden proposed an energy policy for the nation that would reach carbon neutrality by no later than 2050.
“We are here today to talk about how the combined power of Florida’s mayors and cities can move public opinion on the all-important issue of climate change and carbon neutrality,” said Nicholas Glover, vice president for advocacy at the Tampa Bay Chamber in a virtual event held Thursday to launch the mayor’s competition.
The idea for a competition came from a commentary written jointly last year by the mayors of Orlando, Tampa and Miami about cities leading the state’s efforts to cut reliance on fossil fuels.
Orlando’s sustainability director Chris Castro said during the launch event that the competition is meant to “harness the collective influence and credibility of our Florida mayors to create a new kind of climate caucus in the state, and bring along small, medium and large-size cities as well as counties."
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