Beacons of Change: Our Mayors Demonstrate Global Leadership in Collective Climate Action

Cities have long been recognized as innovation hubs for progressive policies, creative design, and inclusive public planning processes, motivated by the opportunity to raise the quality of life for their urban citizens. No surprise then, that our city mayors are taking bold yet pragmatic action on climate change by demonstrating workable solutions that can be replicated by others. From the pedestrianization of New York City’s Times Square to the participatory engagement of “Imagine Austin”, people-focused advancements are strengthening communities, the businesses that serve them, and their cities’ economies as a whole. And now our mayors are transcending boundaries to become global leaders in collective climate action, learning from each other to accelerate local initiatives on the ground, while delivering ambitious climate targets that positively affect the world.

Rio de Janeiro Mayor and Chair of the Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) Eduardo Paes says that “cities need to be the beacons of climate change and action”. Quite impressively, C40 cities have nearly doubled the number of climate actions taken since 2011, increasing resource efficiency while reducing carbon pollution and climate risks (to people and infrastructure), both locally and globally. 

There is no time to waste in taking action on climate change and working together to build our collective future. For guidance on how to increase the reach, engagement, and public support of Americans in your communities, check out ecoAmerica’s report on Campaigns II: Recent Learnings from Other Social Movements.

How cities are creating a sustainable future for all

Xinhua News Agency February 24, 2015

BRUSSELS, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) — Cities are where the future happens first, where we create outstanding design, progressive policies, and have significant opportunities to raise the quality of life for more than half of the world’s population. But in the context of climate change and resource over-consumption, cities need to be the beacons that demonstrate how human civilization can be maintained and enhanced, said recently Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, also Chair of C40, an inter-cities climate group based in London.


That cities are hubs of innovation has long been understood. But we are now seeing the world’s greatest cities increasingly in the global spotlight as leaders in building our collective future.

This is because mayors are taking bold action to create livable, sustainable cities: investing in the environment, while increasing the health, well-being and economic opportunities of their growing populations. Today, cities are building low carbon economies, while ensuring their infrastructure and supporting systems are resilient to the impacts of climate change.

In December 2015, when governments will endeavor to reach a climate accord in Paris, city leaders will be there in solidarity, supporting their national governments, but also showing the world what successful and collective action on climate change looks like for global leaders — and urban citizens.

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