City officials across the globe have a new coalition of leaders to model on their path to climate solutions. Twenty regional and local governments, representing over 220 million people, have made ambitious pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and invest in renewable energy.
The coalition, or Compact of States and Regions, includes countries, regions, and cities, including Los Angeles. Participating members have set a new bar for emission reduction goals: many pledging to cut greenhouse gasses by 80-100% over the next several decades. These governments, all local or regional, recognize the challenges of global climate change, but emphasize the opportunity that such challenges present for enriching their communities. By implementing ambitious plans that will boost economic growth, increase public transportation access, and rethink policies on clean air water and waste disposal, the coalition hopes to inspire others to follow their lead.
And their actions come at the perfect time. Global leaders are increasingly turning to cities, recognizing that almost all national and international climate policies require the commitment of local and regional governments for effective implementation. Empowering localities has thus become a focal point for negotiators hoping to increase the potency and success of new and ongoing climate change solutions.
To this end, international negotiators have committed to:
- The inclusion of a climate summit for mayors, governors and city officials at the upcoming climate convention in Paris.
- Increased support for cities to develop action plans to curb emissions.
- Representation in international negotiations.
The role of cities, regions, and local municipalities will continue to increase as plans to address climate change are implemented. With this new role, Governors, Mayors, and city officials are being presented opportunities to raise their profiles and enrich their communities by becoming climate leaders. Further resources on how to join in these success stories can be found at Path to Positive.
Twenty local governments, representing areas producing 5 percent of global climate-changing emissions, have committed to targets to cut those emissions, with the majority also setting goals for renewable energy, a platform uniting them said on Thursday.
The Compact of States and Regions, launched last September, said more local governments would join the effort over the summer, making their combined emissions savings one of the most significant pledges to be presented ahead of a new U.N. climate deal due in December.
The state and regional governments that have already set targets include British Columbia, California, Ontario, Oregon, Quebec, New York, Washington, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, the Basque Country, Catalonia, Lombardy, Rhone-Alpes, Scotland, Wales, Australian Capital Territory and South Australia.
Christiana Figueres, the United Nations' top climate change official, told a gathering in France of local leaders from around the world that the actions of cities and regional governments to curb global warming offered huge benefits in public transport, cleaner air and better waste management.
"You are doing nothing less than creating a new reality for the world," she said. "You are making possible that we are moving toward a low-carbon, high-growth society - both of those together."
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