A resolution supporting the reducing of greenhouse gas pollution under the Environmental Protection Agency Clean Air Act.

WHEREAS, the scientific community, most notably NASA, NOAA, and the IPCC support the following findings; and

WHEREAS, the decade from 2000 to 2010 was the warmest on record, and 2005 and 2010 tied for the hottest years on record; and

WHEREAS, the current level of CO2 in the atmosphere is approximately 392 parts per million (ppm); and

WHEREAS, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, Dr. James Hansen, stated in 2008: “If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 392 ppm to at most 350 ppm”; and

WHEREAS, the Environmental Protection Agency determined that current and future greenhouse gas concentrations endanger public health, and according to the Global Humanitarian Forum climate change is already responsible every year for some 300,000 deaths, 325 million people seriously affected, and economic losses worldwide of $125 billion; and

WHEREAS, extreme weather events, most notably heat waves and precipitation extremes, are striking with increased frequency, with deadly consequences for people and wildlife; in the United States in 2011 alone, a record 14 weather and climate disasters occurred, including droughts, heat waves, and floods, that cost at least $1 billion each in damages and loss of human lives; and

WHEREAS, climate change is affecting food security by negatively impacting the growth and yields of important crops, and droughts, floods and changes in snowpack are altering water supplies; and

WHEREAS, scientists have concluded that by 2100 as many as one in ten species may be on the verge of extinction due to climate change; and

WHEREAS, the world’s land-based ice is rapidly melting, threatening water supplies in many regions and raising sea levels, and Arctic summer sea ice extent has decreased to about half what it was several decades ago, with an accompanying drastic reduction in sea-ice thickness and volume, which is severely jeopardizing ice-dependent animals; and
WHEREAS, sea level is rising faster along the U.S. East Coast than it has for at least 2,000 years, is accelerating in pace, and could rise by one to two meters in this century, threatening millions of Americans with severe flooding; and

WHEREAS, for four decades, the Clean Air Act has protected the air we breathe through a proven, comprehensive, successful system of pollution control that saves lives and creates economic benefits exceeding its costs by many times; and

WHEREAS, with the Clean Air Act, air quality in this country has improved significantly since 1970, despite major growth both in our economy and industrial production; and

WHEREAS, between 1970 and 1990, the six main pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act — particulate matter and ground-level ozone (both of which contribute to smog and asthma), carbon monoxide, lead, sulfur and nitrogen oxides (the pollutants that cause acid rain) — were reduced by between 47 percent and 93 percent, and airborne lead was virtually eliminated; and

WHEREAS, the Clean Air Act has produced economic benefits valued at $2 trillion or 30 times the cost of regulation; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Massachusetts vs. EPA (2007) that greenhouse gases are “air pollutants” as defined by the Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate them; and

WHEREAS, The City of Nashville prides itself on being a leader in the fight against climate change and for clean air and, by creating the Mayor’s Office of Environment and Sustainability, has shown its ability to be a green leader in the Southeast; and

WHEREAS, The City of Nashville strives to meet the goals set out by the Green Ribbon
Committee’s 2009 Summary Report, which addresses environmental and livability issues in Nashville.


Section 1. That the Metropolitan County Council hereby goes on record as supporting the reduction of greenhouse gas pollution under the Environmental Protection Agency Clean Air Act.

Section 2. The Council further goes on record as noting that climate change is not an abstract problem for the future or one that will only affect far-distant places, but rather climate change is happening now, we are contributing to it, and the longer we wait to act, the more we lose and the more difficult the problem will be to solve.

Section 3. We, the Metropolitan County Council, on behalf of the residents of Nashville, do hereby urge the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa P. Jackson, and President Barack Obama to move swiftly to fully employ and enforce the Clean Air Act to do our part to reduce carbon in our atmosphere to no more than 350 parts per million.

Section 4. The Metropolitan Clerk is directed to send a copy a copy of this Resolution to Lisa P. Jackson of the Environmental Protection Agency and to President Barack Obama.

Section 5. This Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsored by: Jason Holleman, Erica Gilmore, Brady Banks, Burkley Allen, ,Lonnell Matthews, Sean McGuire, Bo Mitchell, Davette Blalock


Referred to: Health, Hospitals and Social Services Committee
Introduced: November 13, 2012
Adopted: November 13, 2012
Approved: November 14, 2012
By: mayor's signature