At the C40 Summit in Copenhagen, mayors of 94 cities herald a Global Green New Deal to “drive an urgent, fundamental and irreversible transfer of global resources away from fossil fuels and into action that averts the climate emergency.”
Today, at the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti — the newly elected C40 Chair — alongside the mayors of cities worldwide including Austin, Amsterdam, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney and Tokyo, recognized a global climate emergency and announced their support for a Global Green New Deal.
The broad coalition — including youth climate activists; and representatives from labor, business and civil society — announced their support for the Global Green New Deal vision. The mayors’ call came in response to intergovernmental action being blocked by a minority of powerful, science-denying governments, representing the interests of the fossil-fuel industry.
“When it comes to climate action, no one is doing more than cities, but no one is doing enough,” Garcetti said. “We are entering a make-or-break decade for the preservation of our planet and environmental justice for every community — and I am proud to lead C40 cities at this critical moment. Together we will continue leading the drive to protect the world and promote a better, more equitable life for everyone living in it.”
Through the Global Green New Deal, cities have reaffirmed their commitment to protecting the environment, strengthening the economy and building a more equitable future, by cutting emissions from the sectors most responsible for the climate crisis — among them, transportation, buildings and waste — to keep global heating below the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.
This includes putting inclusive climate action at the center of all urban decision-making to secure a just transition for those working in high-carbon industries and correct long-running environmental injustices for those disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis — people living in the global south, generally, and the poorest communities everywhere.
Avoiding the worst impacts of the climate crisis means cutting global emissions in half by 2030
In practical terms, that means improving mobility while replacing polluting fossil fuel powered vehicles with clean alternatives; setting the strictest possible building codes and reducing waste, amongst other actions. Policies already being delivered in cities around the world, thanks to the commitment of mayors to the C40 Net Zero Carbon Buildings, Advancing Towards Zero Waste, and Green & Healthy Streets Declarations.
Keeping temperature rise to within the limits deemed safe by the overwhelming scientific evidence means not only cutting emissions, but also reducing the carbon already released into the atmosphere. Standing still isn’t good enough.
“Cities are where the climate battle will largely be won or lost,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “At September’s Climate Action Summit at the United Nations, at least 70 countries and 100 cities agreed to enhance their national plans by 2020 — we must build on this momentum. Cities are at the heart of this race, and I congratulate the C40 on its leadership at this critical moment.”
The Global Green New Deal was immediately endorsed by those also committed to the level of action determined by science — including business leaders, investors, the labor movement, civil society, indigenous groups, informal settlement representatives, and groups disproportionately impacted by climate change and poverty. Mayor Garcetti, along with Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Copenhagen Mayor Frank Jensen, issued a clear challenge to national leaders, CEO’s and investors that haven’t yet matched the level of ambition detailed in the Global Green New Deal.
“As mayors, our first priority is to protect the safety of our citizens,” Hidalgo said. “It will soon be four years since the Paris Agreement was signed in our city. World leaders met in New York just last month and once again failed to agree anything close to the level of action necessary to stop the climate crisis. Their ineptitude directly threatens all people around the globe as time keeps running against us. There is no other solution but a Global Green New Deal to be the pivotal instrument to win this race against the clock. All decision-makers must take responsibility in making it a reality."
As Jensen pointed out: “Copenhagen recognizes the climate emergency and commits to the Global Green New Deal because climate change is the greatest threat to security, public health and prosperity. We need to act now — and we need to act together. There is no need to hesitate: Cities already have many of the green solutions needed.”
“I am inspired by this coalition and the commitments made for a global Green New Deal,” said Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, US Representative for New York's 14th Congressional District and champion of a Green New Deal in the US. “If we work to join forces globally, we will be able to defeat our greatest threat and realize our greatest opportunity.”
New figures released ahead of the C40 Summit reveal that 30 cities have now peaked their emissions and are making rapid progress to bring them down to net zero. More than 100 cities around the world are now committed to deliver climate action plans consistent with the 1.5°C global heating target.
The defining principles of the Global Green New Deal
We recognise the global climate emergency.
We are committed to keeping global heating below the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement by curbing emissions in the sectors that are the greatest contributors to the climate crisis: transportation, buildings, and waste. C40 cities are already cutting emissions at a rate consistent with the limits determined by science – which means peaking emissions by 2020, and halving them by 2030. Every business, individual, investor, partner, informal settlement representative and nation that forms part of Global Green New Deal will commit to similar science-based targets.
We are committed to putting inclusive climate action at the center of all urban decision-making, to create thriving and equitable communities for everyone. Our commitment includes protecting livelihoods, helping end poverty, improving lives, building more equitable societies and securing a just transition for those working in high-carbon industries. Climate delay is already having devastating consequences with the impact being felt most severely by those least responsible for the emissions causing the climate emergency. We will drive an urgent, fundamental and irreversible transfer of global resources away from fossil fuels and into action that averts the climate emergency, thereby building a green and fair ecological civilization.
We invite our partners — political leaders, CEOs, trade unions, investors and civil society — to join us in recognizing the global climate emergency and help us deliver on science-based action to overcome it.
Jamie Margolin, Zero Hour founder & Co-Executive Director, said: “This era is for everyone. It is not just for the United States — it is not even about a specific piece of legislation; it is about a global change of values, ideals and ways of relating to each other and the earth. What we need worldwide is more than sustainability, because we cannot sustain the destruction we are causing to the earth, or the capitalism making our leaders dizzy with fantasies of endless economic growth that is simply not possible on our earth. We need the era of the green new deal, and it's coming globally.”
“The Global Green New Deal is proof of the momentum that the world's most influential cities can create when they raise their collective ambition,” said Kate Raworth, author of Doughnut Economics. “I am delighted to be working with some of the most pioneering cities among them to explore what it means to be a Thriving City — one that respects the wellbeing of all people and the whole planet. It's no easy challenge, but C40 cities know that now is the time to take it on.”