Jim Canales

Unwavering Resolve to Advance Solutions for Climate Change

Recent remarks from Barr’s president reaffirming the Foundation’s commitment to advance ambitious goals, in partnership with others continuing to lead.

Last week at Boston City Hall, Barr Foundation president Jim Canales, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, and CERES President Mindy Lubber joined voices with those from around the world who understand the historic importance of the Paris climate agreement and the imperative of continued U.S. engagement and leadership to meet the climate challenge. Canales underscored the Foundation’s unwavering commitment to advancing solutions for climate change and to standing in solidarity with local, state, and regional partners willing to show vision and leadership, even in the face of a decision that would cede that leadership to others.

The following are adapted from Canales’ remarks—the entirety of which can be viewed in the video embedded below, along with comments by Mayor Walsh, who emphasized Boston’s resolve to continue its progress and meet its “responsibilities to our children and our planet,” and Mindy Lubber, on why failure to honor the Paris agreements, however unfortunate, would not be able to halt progress.

Jim Canales’ Remarks:

Foundations have the benefit of being able to take the long-term view on critical issues and to always consider how the decisions we make today will impact generations to come. In light of that, I want to acknowledge how deeply disappointing it is to consider the decision by the current administration to walk away from the Paris Climate Accord. It represents an enormous setback, not only for those who care about the environment, and those who know how vulnerable places like Boston are to climate change, rising seas, and extreme weather, but also for our nation and our economy.

Walking away from this agreement is tantamount to ceding leadership to countries like China, which are aggressively investing in clean energy, and setting themselves up to reap the benefits from a booming sector. Already there are more solar jobs than fossil fuel jobs in this country. This is thanks, in part, to forward thinking policies that opened those floodgates and also to the realities of the market, as clean energy by the day becomes more affordable and accessible. It doesn’t take a long-term view to see these markets are changing. It’s a real-time view.

This decision also diminishes the trust and credibility our nation has earned and compromises our ability to negotiate on this and other important issues in the future. So, it is such a disappointment to see our president take this step backwards, rather than seize the opportunity to extend our nation’s leadership and double down on the future.

Since 2010, the Barr Foundation has committed $110 million to helping Boston, Massachusetts, and our region demonstrate that kind of leadership—setting and making progress towards ambitious climate goals. Today’s decision only underscores the urgency of continued, bold action.

Since 2010, the Barr Foundation has committed $110 million to helping Boston, Massachusetts, and our region demonstrate that kind of leadership—setting and making progress towards ambitious climate goals. Today’s decision only underscores the urgency of continued, bold action.

We are proud to have partnered with Boston—and commend the Mayor and his team for their leadership—consistently ranked as the most energy-efficient city among 51 large cities by the American Council for Energy Efficiency Economy. And we remain committed to supporting continued progress, and to translating ambitious visions, like the goal of making Boston carbon-neutral by 2020, into concrete steps towards those ends.

The Barr Foundation applauds the swift response in the past few days by a bipartisan group of state governors, including many from the Northeast, who formed the U.S. Climate Alliance, in addition to the more than 1,000 governors, mayors, businesses, investors, and colleges, and universities who have so far signed the “We Are Still In” open letter, pledging to meet (and in many cases surpass) the goals of the Paris agreement. And we continue to encourage our philanthropic peers, no matter their size, scope, or mission, to join this important work.

Original

Related Op-Ed: Fighting Global Climate Change Requires Foundations to Give Local

By Jim Canales and Kate Wolford, president of the McKnight Foundation in Chronicle of Philanthropy

"We believe that foundations of all types and sizes can help address [climate change] and that there are distinct and important roles for organizations like ours that focus on the city, state, or regional levels."

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