Home Official News Releases Conference explores role of cities in addressing nuclear threats, global warming

Conference explores role of cities in addressing nuclear threats, global warming

Photo of Mayor Frank Cownie
Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie

MEDIA CONTACTS: Jacqueline Cabasso, cell 510-306-0119;

John Burroughs, cell 917-439-4585;

Chet Guinn, cell 515-556-8054

On Thursday, Oct. 23, the Office of the Mayor of the City of Des Moines, Mayors for Peace and Drake University will convene a one-day conference on the Drake campus to explore Nuclear Abolition, Climate Protection and Our Cities’ Future.

The conference will take place in Sheslow Auditorium in Old Main, 2507 University Ave. Registration will open at 8:30 a.m. and the day program will run from 9 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. The evening program will follow from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Admission is $20; $10 for the evening only; and is free to students.

“We think this is going to be a significant conference that will stimulate thought and action by mayors, city officials, activists and members of the public,” said Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie. “Iowa cities are among the nation’s most active in sustainable energy initiatives. I’m pleased to be convening this landmark conference in cooperation with Drake University and Mayors for Peace.”

In Iowa and across the country, cities are taking actions to protect the climate. More than 850 mayors have signed the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

Cities also are stepping up to the threat to our future posed by nuclear weapons, still possessed in very large numbers by nine countries including the United States. A resolution adopted this year by the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon the federal government to work for the worldwide elimination of nuclear forces by 2020.

Approximately 130 U.S. mayors are members of Mayors for Peace, a rapidly growing international network dedicated to the abolition of nuclear weapons. Headed by the mayors of Japan’s Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Mayors for Peace has more than 2,400 members in 131 countries.

Mayors for Peace North American Coordinator Jacqueline Cabasso said, “This conference is the first U.S. Mayors for Peace regional meeting, and it seeks to break new ground in exploring the linkages between nuclear weapons and climate change, and the role of cities in addressing these twin challenges to our very survival.”

The morning session will present the case for peace and sustainable energy. Panels will examine climactic effects of use of nuclear weapons, international frameworks for cooperation on nuclear abolition and climate protection, climate-friendly energy paths, wind power and the role of nuclear power. Featured speakers include:

  • Steven Starr, senior scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility
  • John Burroughs, Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy
  • Jürgen Scheffran, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Pat Spears, Intertribal Council on Energy Policy
  • Brice Smith, State University of New York, Cortland

The afternoon session will explore social change and the role of cities. Panelists will discuss converting the militarized economy and the broader context of changing urban priorities. Featured speakers include:

  • Mary Beth Sullivan, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
  • Wilson Riles, former Oakland, California city council member
  • Andrew Lichterman, Western States Legal Foundation
  • Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie
  • Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy
  • Indianola Mayor Jerry Kelley

The evening program, moderated by former Iowa legislator Ed Fallon of IMforIowa, will focus on “Nuclear Abolition and Climate Protection: Whys and Ways.” The panel discussion will feature two leaders in analysis and action:

  • Arjun Makhijani, president, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, and author of “Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy”
  • Jacqueline Cabasso, North American coordinator, Mayors for Peace and executive director of the Western States Legal Foundation and contributing author of “Nuclear Disorder or Cooperative Security? U.S. Weapons of Terror, the Global Proliferation Crisis, and Paths to Peace”

The conference is being organized by Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy, Western States Legal Foundation, and Global Action to Prevent War, in association with Mayors for Peace; and Progressive Coalition of Central Iowa. In addition, the conference has the support of 20 co-sponsoring community-based organizations.

More information, including a detailed program, is available online.