As the global climate talks get underway in Paris today, the world’s great cities continue to show why they are an integral part of the conversation on climate change.
In a powerful message to world leaders, hundreds of thousands of people – by some estimates 785,000+ – from around the world took to the streets over the weekend for the Global Climate March, a worldwide movement calling for an ambitious climate agreement at COP21. Citizens from 17 C40 cities – including Tokyo, Sydney, Sao Paulo, New York and London – participated in the March, urging global decision makers to tackle climate change.
At the same time, the world’s leading mayors are also urging national leaders to reach an ambitious, universal climate agreement in Paris. As of today, 25 C40 mayors have signed the Earth Statement, an appeal to national political leaders to commit to eight essential elements of climate action at COP21, including: limiting warming to below 2 degrees Celsius; reaching a zerocarbon society by mid-century or shortly thereafter; safeguarding ecosystems; and providing additional climate finance to developing countries. If these actions are taken, according to the Statement, a climate safe future is still within reach.
The Earth Statement is written by leading scientists and economists who together form the Earth League. Earth League chair Professor Johan Rockström, and co-author of the Earth Statement, said:
We can still prevent dangerous climate change, but the window of opportunity is rapidly shrinking. In Paris in December, world leaders must agree to phase out fossil fuels by 2050 and safeguard sustainable development for all.
The Earth Statement has received endorsements from global leaders in the business, religious, academic, and political communities, including Al Gore, Desmond Tutu, Gro Harlem Brundtland, and Sir Richard Branson.
C40 Chair, Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes, was the first mayor in the world to sign the Earth Statement in April of this year. At the time of signing, Mayor Paes said:
I am proud to join scientists and leaders from around the world in calling for ambitious action at the UN climate change conference in Paris. Limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees requires agreement between countries, but cities are playing a crucial role in getting us on the right path. Through networks such as the C40, mayors are leading the way, working together to build a low carbon and climate resilient future.
Since then, 24 of his fellow C40 mayors have joined the cause. They are:
Akinwunmi Ambode, Governor of Lagos State
Basuki Tjahaya Purnama, Governor Of Jakarta
Charlie Hales, Mayor of Portland
Cllr Kgosientso Ramokgopa, Executive Mayor of the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality
Cllr James Nxumalo, Mayor of Durban
Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney
Dr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, Mayor of Accra
Dr. Mauricio Rodas, Mayor of Quito
Ed Murray, Mayor of Seattle
Frank Jensen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen
Gregor Robertson, Mayor of Vancouver
Gustavo Bonato Fruet, Mayor of Curitiba
Gustavo Petro Urrego, Mayor of Bogotá
Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, Mayor of Warsaw
Helen Torrealba de Fernández, Mayor (E) of the Metropolitan Mayor of Caracas
Kam-sing Wong, Hong Kong Secretary of Environment
Karin Wanngård, Mayor of Stockholm
Manuela Carmena, Mayor of Madrid
Mauricio Macri, Chief of Government of the City of Buenos Aires
Miguel Ángel Mancera Espinosa, Mayor of Mexico City
Mohammad Sayeed Khokon, Mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation
Park Wonsoon, Mayor of Seoul
Patricia de Lille, Mayor of Cape Town
Sajjad Hussain Abbasi, Administrator Karachi Metropolitan Corporation