ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Mayors from 32 U.S cities were urged Saturday to be leaders in slowing global warming by taking steps in their communities.
"We need to find the leadership in this country," said Mayor Rocky Anderson of Salt Lake City at a conference on climate change. "If it's not going to come from the top down. ... We need to push from the bottom up."
Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich hosted the conference for leaders from 17 states. Mayors will spend three days discussing how to reduce their cities' contributions to warming and how cities can adjust to changes scientists predict will spread to other states.
Anderson said that there is no longer a dispute over warming and that it's due to the burning of fossil fuels, which add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and trap heat.
The only uncertainties are how fast the globe is warming and where the effects will show up, he said.
Mayors kicked off the conference by swapping stories on the effects of warming in their communities.
"The fish gave us our first indication," said Royce Pollard of Vancouver, Wash., where salmon runs have been affected.
John Engen of Missoula, Mont., said his community has had more 90 degree days than anyone can remember. Warming's effect, he said, has a real cost.
"We catch fire in western Montana, and millions of dollars have been devoted to fighting wildfires," he said.