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Coleman and other Mississippi River mayors to attend Paris climate conference

Seven mayors from the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative will go to the December U.N. climate change conference.

Seven mayors from national cities along the Mississippi River — including St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis — will attend the December U.N. conference on climate change in Paris.

Coleman said of the conference:

The Mississippi mayors have direct experience with climate disruption, surviving floods, droughts, and hurricanes. That’s why we must be part of the global discussion on climate change. Together, we will be a voice for the Mississippi and other river basins at the U.N. meeting this fall and beyond to help secure the world’s food supply.

This week, two dozen Mississippi mayors are meeting in Dubuque to discuss the economic importance of the river. They heard statistics which indicate that revenue generated along the upper river is $253.2 billion and supports 755,000 jobs. The lower part of the river generates 151.7 billion and supports 585,000 jobs. The main contributors to those numbers — derived from counties directly adjacent to the river — are manufacturing, tourism, and agriculture.

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The mayors at their meeting stressed that clean water is needed to maintain the river’s importance and those jobs, and said that they are working on clean water goals.

And that’s why they are sending the delegation to the U.N.’s COP21 meeting — the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.