As a member of the US Conference of Mayors, I get to participate is a lot of discussions about programs and projects for cities. September 29, 2021, was the second in a series of rescheduled (due to COVID-19) sessions of the 2021 Climate Mayors Summit. This second panel - "The Green and Just Transition" – highlighted the energy transition already underway, identified associated opportunities and challenges, and reinforced the need for a just and equitable economic recovery for communities across the country. (On July 6, 2021, the Richmond City Council adopted Resolution 88-21 to support the process of developing a Richmond Green-Blue New Deal and Just Transition to 21st Century jobs. In addition, city staff members were directed to prepare a request for proposal (RFP) to hire a consultant team to conduct a one-year to 18-month planning process to develop and facilitate a comprehensive and inclusive public engagement process to co-create the plan to achieve a local Green-Blue New Deal and come back to the Council with a recommendation of such a consultant within 90 days.)
Featured at yesterday’s Climate Mayors Summit were Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, both of whom have visited locally in the last couple of months (Walsh in Richmond and Granholm in Berkeley). Secretary Granholm recognized me as mayor of Richmond and asked when Richmond would be joining 127 other cities is adopting the Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus, or SolarAPP+. (On September 21 the City Council directed staff to investigate registering the City of Richmond for the Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus, or SolarAPP+.)
Both discussed the myriad of programs in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill targeted to fight climate change and create climate resilience by creating green jobs, particularly in impacted communities with populations of people of color and most at risk for environmental harm. They mentioned coal communities and power plant communities, but I think we also qualify aa a refinery town. Part of the Bill is called “Justice for 40,” which allocates 40% of resources to underserved communities.
As Labor Secretary, Walsh emphasized a commitment to worker safety and health issues, job training, social justice and the environment. He emphasized these commitments are consistent with job creation and a healthy economy.
Secretary Granholm reminded us of the Energy Department’s commitment to technical innovation with 17 national laboratories. She discussed the goal of transitioning from fossil fuels, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, carbon capture and sequestration, electrification and power grid transformation ($27 billion in the Infrastructure Bill), microgrids, and fuel cell research.