As the Paris Climate Negotiations approach, it is becoming increasingly clear that mayors are taking the lead on climate change action. The advancement of climate change solutions by mayors around the world illustrates that committing to bold action on climate is possible, and can improve the economy, quality of life, and investment opportunities in communities large and small.
This message is being reinforced by powerful coalitions of cities, mayors, and international leaders. In many ways, the new focus on cities is because more than half of the worlds population live in urban areas, and cities produce over two thirds of greenhouse emissions. This makes cities particularly challenging, and poses a particularly good opportunity to make an impact.
City leaders can take a practical approach to climate action, resulting in strong environmental impacts, and better lives for residents in their community. One way to do this is by increasing energy efficiency. To curb emissions, cities can implement standards to cut power demand—resulting in lower energy bills for ratepayers, and cleaner, healthier communities for residents. Such actions are also shown to yield strong economic incentives. Pollution free cities attract businesses, residents, and hard-working individuals—and are shown to have greater economic growth than their more polluted counterparts.
What makes climate action at the city level so promising, is that mayors and city leaders have demonstrated both a commitment and ability to make a difference. Many of the goals that world leaders hope to achieve at the UN Conference in Paris are already being committed to and met by mayors. The key now is to empower local leaders with the tools and resources needed to continue their work on climate solutions. To see how your city can join the movement, visit the Path to Positive Communities.
When world leaders gather in Paris in December to negotiate a global agreement on climate change, they will have a powerful ally standing behind them and urging them onward: mayors. In fact, mayors have already helped set the stage for success in Paris, by establishing models of cooperation that provide a strong foundation for the negotiations.
Through international coalitions like the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and the Compact of Mayors, cities around the world have been committing to major reductions in carbon emissions, while adopting a common measurement system and public reporting process to ensure that they can be held accountable. In other words: Many cities are already doing what the United Nations is urging national governments to do.
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