Last week, 10 cities presented ambitious climate action plans in accordance with the planning and reporting requirements of the Compact of Mayors. Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Melbourne, New York City, Oslo, San Francisco, Stockholm, Sydney and Washington, DC joined Rio de Janeiro on the list of cities to meet the Compact compliance milestone.
The announcement demonstrates a global response to climate change on a promising scale: The 10 cities span five continents and represent 58 million people and more than US$3 trillion in GDP. It is also a timely message to the world leaders who will meet at COP21, the Paris Climate Conference in December.
“I applaud the 10 cities for their bold commitment and leadership so critically important in the months leading up to the UN climate summit. The more cities that commit to the Compact and move quickly and decisively to meet all its requirements, the bigger impact we will have. I look forward to welcoming more cities into our growing coalition,” said Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro and Chair of C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), one of the founding partner organizations of the Compact of Mayors.
The Compact of Mayors enables cities to publicly commit to GHG emissions reductions, make existing targets and plans public, and report on their progress annually. To date, 177 cities have made pledges, representing over 255 million people and 3.5 percent of the global population.
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“Through the Compact of Mayors, cities are making a major contribution toward global progress on climate change,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change. “They are also showing their national governments that more ambitious goals are both possible and achievable. And — perhaps most importantly of all — they are proving that fighting climate change and increasing economic growth go hand in hand.”
“The world’s largest cities are uniting to develop solutions that enable concrete action to reduce emissions and address climate change,” said Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and Co-President of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), another founding partner of the Compact. “It is in this spirit that I encourage all cities to commit to the Compact of Mayors and that I have invited all mayors, local leaders and their organizations to gather at Paris City Hall on the 4th of December during COP21 to show our partnership in delivering ambitious climate commitments.”
At COP21, over 190 national government representatives will hopefully negotiate an agreement to set a course of action to keep a global average temperature increase to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and prevent disastrous global impacts. Last week Climate Week NYC 2015 took the city by storm to demonstrate support for climate action, and over the weekend, many of the leaders met in New York for the UN General Assembly as part of the unofficial negotiations.
Among the week’s announcements, The B Team’s group of business leaders encouraged companies and governments to aim for net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 or before; Fortune 500 companies committed to climate neutral and renewable energy programs; and the Compact of States and Regions announced collective climate targets to save 7.9 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) by 2030. With businesses, municipalities, and regional governments on board, hopefully national governments will feel the pressure to set higher goals.