Canada’s Big City Mayors make united call for climate action (06/07/2015)
Mayors pass joint resolution in support of binding emission targets and call for coordinated international climate change leadership.
Vancouver, BC - Mayors representing 21 of Canada's big cities are calling for binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, adding to action and leadership from cities worldwide ahead of December's COP21 UN Climate Conference in Paris.
The Big City Mayors' resolution comes as local governments from around the world met last week at the World Summit for Climate & Territories in Lyon, France. Local governments presented commitments and specific proposals to the negotiating countries that will negotiate a new, universal climate deal at COP21.
"Even when other levels of government have been slow to respond, leading cities in Canada and around the world are taking action on climate change - and showing that we can reduce our climate pollution while growing our economies," said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, who serves as Chair of Canada's Big City Mayors' Caucus (BCMC). "Cities must expand upon our crucial and innovative leadership role in confronting climate change and adapting to its dire consequences. We are united in calling upon other levels of government in Canada and throughout the world to join us in committing to meaningful and binding emissions targets. We must have a climate agreement signed in Paris that respects the needs of our cities, our planet, and the generations to come."
The Mayors' resolution commits the BCMC to support binding GHG targets on all orders of government that address both short-term and long-term commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It calls on all members of the big cities caucus to develop and implement climate actions plans that both identify the risks from climate change and detail how those risks will be mitigated. The resolution also commits cities to regular and transparent reporting of their GHG emissions through the Carbon Disclosure Project.
"Cities around the world are leading the way in tackling climate change, and in Canada, they are also speaking with one voice in urging specific global action," said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Cities and Climate Change. "This resolution by the Big City Mayors' Caucus, like the Compact of Mayors that more and more cities are joining, is a concrete commitment to take bold action. I applaud Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson for his leadership in passing it at the perfect time, as the World Summit convenes in France."
Similar global initiatives are already helping cities lead in this way, including the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance (CNCA) and Compact of Mayors. Both are working with officials from cities across the globe to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging them to pledge to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions and enhance resilience to climate change-and track their progress transparently. Cities are responsible for producing 70% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of severe weather are being felt in cities across Canada.
"Big cities have taken a leadership role by implementing practical environmental initiatives," added Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson. "We need other governments around the world to make similar commitments towards increasing energy efficiency, reducing reliance on non-renewable energy, and thereby reducing our greenhouse gas footprint."