At the recent C40 Mayors Summit in Mexico City, the City – along with Paris, Madrid and Athens - pledged to remove all diesel vehicles by 2025, as part of an effort by mayors to improve the quality of air for citizens. The pledge also includes a plan to incentivize alternative vehicles and promote walking and cycling infrastructure, helping to deliver on the ambition of the Paris Agreement.
“Mayors have already stood up to say that climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face,” said Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and new Chair of the C40 cities Climate Leadership Group. “Today we also stand up to say we no longer tolerate air pollution and the health problems and deaths it causes – particularly for our most vulnerable citizens. Big problems like air pollution require bold action, and we call on car and bus manufacturers to join us.”
Further bolstering the effort, the C40 - a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change - announced a two-year partnership with Johnson & Johnson to promote the health and wellbeing of urban inhabitants and the environment. J&J will support C40 climate programs that also benefit air quality and human health. Through research and education, the partnership will help connect the dots between better climate and air to measurably better health benefits in vulnerable urban areas.
“At Johnson & Johnson, we believe that the health of people and the health of the planet are inextricably linked,” said Paulette Frank, Worldwide Vice President of Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability at J&J. “We are thrilled to partner with C40 to help Mayors drive action at the intersection of climate, air quality and public health which we believe will unlock positive change at the rate and scale we need to make a real difference in the trajectory of human and planetary health.”
Additionally, C40 announced that it is joining with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Environment’s Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), in support of the BreathLife campaign to halve the 6.5 million deaths from air pollution by 2030. The global campaign will support city governments to reduce harmful emissions from the transport, waste and energy sectors, as well as mobilizing citizen action to reduce air pollution while also slowing climate change.
“92 percent of the world’s population lives in places where air pollution levels exceed the WHO safe level for air pollution. Soot from diesel vehicles are among the big contributors to ill health and global warming. But we have many solutions that world,” said Helena Molin Valdés, Head of the CCAC. “By working with C40 cities and other partners, we can help cities work together, identify and implement the most effective solutions to rapidly improve air quality and achieve the BreatheLife goal to halve deaths from air pollution by 2030.”
As of press time today, more than 24,000 citizens from cities around the world have joined the C40 leaders in their campaign to reduce urban air pollution by signing a global petition demanding that vehicle manufacturers lead an air quality transformation by ending production of diesel vehicles by 2025 and supporting a rapid transition to electric, hydrogen and hybrid vehicles.