Changing Planet

Post-COP21, Cities Show Renewed Purpose and Stronger Commitment

By Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group

On December 4th, more than 1,000 mayors, local representatives and community leaders took part in the Climate Summit for Local Leaders convened by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael Bloomberg. This largest gathering of elected local leaders on climate change ever, showcased successful city climate action with the international community, and added to the growing momentum for a meaningful global climate agreement.

COP21 was a great success for climate diplomacy: The Paris Agreement, adopted by 195 UNFCCC member States, is a major breakthrough that creates the chance to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change. The reference to pursuing efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius is the strongest acknowledgement yet of the seriousness of the problem. It should be the start of a new climate economy – a critical chance to advance a new era of better, stronger, more equitable growth.

Moving forward, implementing the Paris Agreement will require unprecedented cooperation among multiple actors – and a groundswell of political support from citizens. As Mike Bloomberg says in the video clip below, “If the public understands the problem and the public demands a solution to the problem, then governments around the world will do something about it.”

Read the full text of Mark’s article on

C40 interviewed Mike Bloomberg during the 2015 C40 Cities Awards in Paris. Bloomberg Philanthropies was a key sponsor of the event. Watch as he discusses why mayors are best positioned to take bold climate action and what he hopes the Paris Agreement will achieve in 2016 and beyond.

To see more interviews with mayors and global thought leaders during COP21, click here

The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) is a network of large and engaged cities from around the world committed to implementing meaningful and sustainable climate-related actions locally that will help address climate change globally. Recognizing that cities consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions, our organization’s global field staff works with city governments, supported by our technical experts across a range of program areas to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency in large cities across the world. The current chair of the C40 is Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes, and 108th Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg is President of the Board. The Steering Committee includes: Berlin, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Houston, Jakarta, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul and Tokyo.
  • Elizabeth Woodworth

    I agree that public pressure must be maintained if the COP21 momentum is to be sustained.
    I am a writer and former sciences librarian who went to COP21 as an NGO Observer. I have just released a 47-minute overview film (made with an independent film producer), showing the enormous challenge of reaching agreement between the 195 nations, followed by the shortcomings of this agreement, and what is needed at the national level to start mobilizing now, by following a US WWII-type model. This is a good educational video to show at gatherings:

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