Letter to Missoula Mayor

June 8, 2017

To:   Mayor John Engen
From :   350 Montana
Re:     Becoming a “Climate Mayor”
CC:     Missoula City Council

Mr. Mayor,

President Trump has decided to pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement. This is a disastrous decision for Missoula and our beloved state. 350 Montana would like you to repudiate the President’s action and become one of our nation’s courageous “Climate Mayors.” We ask that Missoula join over 200 other cities in pledging to achieve the commitments of the Paris Climate Accord, limiting greenhouse gas emissions, speeding our transition to renewable energy, and lessening the risks of climate change for our children and grandchildren.

Scientists have documented substantial warming across Montana in recent decades and have projected the rising temperatures on into the future. Indeed, just this week, the University of Montana’s Nobel Prize laureate, Steve Running, said that, without a transition to carbon-free energy, Missoula’s average temperatures would rise 12 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. Without the cutbacks in carbon emissions called for the Paris Accord, in other words, we are looking at a rapid degradation of the natural world that we cherish, that provides the very basis for our life and livelihoods.

Clearly, the President’s path, doing nothing about our runaway carbon emissions, is the most radical course of action.

A Montana Wildlife Federation study in 2016 said doing nothing about climate change will cost Montana 11,000 jobs by 2050 with $281 million income at stake due to stream closures, lost hunting opportunities, wildfires, and reduced snowpack.

Another study last year by the Montana Farmers Union said continuing the status quo will impact grain producers in our state with reduced yields costing $372 million and 12,500 jobs by 2055. For cattle ranchers, we’re looking at a 20 percent drop in rangeland cattle production, a $364 million wallop in earnings, costing 2,000 jobs.

We’re sorry to say that what we saw last August – when Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks shut down the legendary Yellowstone River for three weeks because of a fish kill and when the Roaring Lion Fire outside Hamilton destroyed 14 families’ homes – is just the beginning if we refuse to act.

The situation demands urgent action! Signing onto the Paris Accords is in line with our values here in Missoula. We will be acknowledging the veracity of the science. We will be acting according to the facts. And we will be demonstrating that we are part of a living planet and take responsibility – as have nearly 200 nations – for protecting our planet’s support systems to sustain a livable future for our children and grandchildren.

By signing the Paris Accords, Missoula is saying, we’re going to work together with people all over the world to create a 21st century clean energy economy.

350 Montana looks forward to envisioning a Missoula 100 percent powered by wind, water, and solar energy.

Thank you, Mayor Engen, for your leadership in this matter.

Sincerely,
Jeff Smith
John Woodland
350 Montana Co-Chairs