It has been 100 days since the COP 21 talks in Paris, and the real work of developing and implementing climate action plans is already underway. The talks and the difficult work ahead have illustrated the importance of cities and mayors in implementing climate solutions. These are the 5 pivotal reasons why mayors are the key to climate action:
- Mayors are national leaders: COP 21 was a lesson in leadership, and mayors showed that cities lead the way. Mayors were able to push national and international leaders to embrace bold climate action plans, and cities are taking on an increasingly ambitious attitude towards climate solutions.
- Mayors have the tools to act: Mayors have at their disposal the means for dynamic climate action. To lead, mayors must leverage city resources, budgets, and communities to collaborate on making positive climate changes.
- Mayors can set policy: Mayors and city leaders have the ability to set guidelines and policies that can drastically increase efficiency and slash greenhouse gas emissions. With thoughtful city planning, mayors can improve health, wellness, and the quality of life in cities while making a dent in climate change.
- Mayors can facilitate funding: Clean energy and more efficient infrastructure are expensive and can be cost prohibitive for many cities, communities, and residents. Mayors can work to develop financing options, tax benefits, and lower cost technologies that can benefit all members of their communities.
- Mayors can inspire: The best path forward is building public support for climate action. Mayors are elected officials closest to the people, and have their finger on the pulse of public opinion. By addressing the climate concerns of residents, and communicating the opportunities of climate action, mayors can nudge residents to support bold action.
Climate action requires the dedicated leadership of officials at all levels of government. However, mayors are uniquely situated to address and connect with residents and families on a more personal level. As city leaders become increasingly critical to climate solutions, it is important that they have the best resources and networks to work effectively. Get your city on the Path to Positive, and join with climate leaders today!
The aspiration of the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees may one day be recognized as one of the most important goals ever agreed by international diplomacy. We now have the political consensus and momentum to prevent catastrophic climate change —but we must move extremely fast in order to make the aims of the Agreement achievable.
Global emissions must peak by 2020 and yet the Agreement does not kick in until that year.
This means the next four years are critical, and cities have a major role to play: cities consume more than two-thirds of global energy and are on track to become home to more than two-thirds of the global population; at the same time, 70 percent of C40 cities are already experiencing the impacts of climate change. The agenda for a 1.5 degrees world must therefore account for rapid urbanization in the context of increasing climate hazards, whilst sharply reducing the amount of energy cities consume and the carbon intensity of their energy supply.
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