A number of mayors are joining together to learn from each other about what’s working in tackling both the global challenges and local impacts of climate change. The two biggest global polluters, the U.S. and China, have finally stepped up their commitments to reduce carbon pollution, providing a long overdue and important benchmark for other countries. Now is the perfect time for our cities to take the ball and run with it.
Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney, and co-chair of the C40 Private Sector Buildings Energy Efficiency Network, weighs in to HuffPo’s ‘What’s Working’ series: “Cities are where these national commitments will turn from words to action. Cities are economic hubs, driving development, growth and investment. But cities are also causing more than 70 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions. We must improve on the 20th century model of urban sprawl, fossil-fuel consumption and private motor-vehicle transport, or preventing runaway climate change may not be possible.”
The great news is that some Mayors around the globe are already ahead of schedule in achieving their pollution reduction targets — through innovative partnerships and programs for building and lighting efficiency, energy conservation, landfill waste diversion, and solar and wind energy.
Hopes are high, as cities continue to see the economic and health benefits of their actions and investments in sustainable climate solutions. For tools and resources to help city and community leaders in developing long-term climate plans that will make an impact, check out Path to Positive.
Momentum is building toward December’s summit on climate change in Paris. Unlike the 2009 Copenhagen summit, where high hopes were dashed by low politics, this time the world’s two biggest polluting countries (the U.S. and China) are onboard.
Political leaders will find it harder than ever to avoid their responsibilities.
The shameful truth is that the slow response to this urgent issue means some climate change is now inevitable.
But we must not waver from the common goal of limiting a global temperature rise to 2 degrees.
The United States has committed to reducing their greenhouse-gas emissions by 26-28 percent below its 2005 levels in 2025.