COPENHAGEN, Denmark, October 14, 2019 (ENS) – The mayors of many of the world’s largest cities have announced their support for a Global Green New Deal and declared their recognition that the Earth is gripped by a global climate emergency. These leaders were participants in the 2019 C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen October 9 – 12.
Avoiding the worst impacts of climate change means cutting global emissions in half by 2030, according to the Global Green New Deal. That means improving mobility while replacing polluting petrol-powered vehicles with clean alternatives, setting the strictest possible building codes, and reducing waste.
A broad coalition, which includes youth climate activists, and representatives from labor, business and civil society, announced support for the Global Green New Deal vision as mayors of the world’s largest cities, such as Copenhagen, Athens, Los Angeles, Montreal, Paris, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney and Tokyo, warned that the planet is now in the grip of a climate crisis.
Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis, expressed the feelings of many mayors, saying, “In Athens, we already feel the impacts of climate change facing extreme heat waves while the number of people affected by energy poverty and insecurity increases. Our decisions and actions are guided by the need to improve our citizens’ quality of life and to create a sustainable, safer and greener city; this is the future we want for our children.”
The support of cities for a Global Green New Deal was organized by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, an association of 94 cities around the world that represents one-twelfth of the world’s population and one-quarter of the global economy.
“As the need for bold climate action grows more urgent, mayors and cities are leading the way and getting results,” said Michael Bloomberg, C40 Board President, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action, and Mayor of New York City 2002-2013.
“Together, C40 cities have taken thousands of successful actions to reduce carbon emissions, and they are proving how fighting climate change helps drive economic growth and improve public health,” said Bloomberg. “There is no time to waste.”
At once, the Global Green New Deal was endorsed by many people committed to the level of action determined by science – business leaders, investors, the labor movement, civil society, indigenous groups, informal settlement representatives and groups disproportionately impacted by climate change and poverty.
Their message comes in response to intergovernmental action being blocked by a minority of very powerful, science-denying governments, representing the interests of the fossil fuel industry.
Through their support for the Global Green New Deal, these cities have reaffirmed their commitment to protecting the environment, strengthening the global economy, and building a more equitable future by cutting emissions from the sectors most responsible for the climate crisis – transportation, buildings, industry, and waste – to keep global heating below the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.
“As mayors our first priority is to protect the safety of our citizens,” said Mayor of Paris and C40 Chair Anne Hidalgo. “It will soon be four years since the Paris Agreement was signed in our city. World leaders met in New York just last month and once again failed to agree anything close to the level of action necessary to stop the climate crisis. Their ineptitude directly threatens all people around the globe as time keeps running against us.”
“There is no other solution but a Global Green New Deal to be the pivotal instrument to win this race against the clock. All decision-makers must take responsibility for making it a reality,” urged Mayor Hidalgo.
This includes putting inclusive climate action at the center of all urban decision-making to secure a just transition for those working in high-carbon industries. It also means correcting long-running environmental injustices for those disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis – people living in the global south and the poorest communities everywhere.
Here are the defining principles of the Global Green New Deal:
1. We recognize the global climate emergency.
2. We are committed to keeping global heating below the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement by curbing emissions in the sectors that are the greatest contributors to the climate crisis: transportation, buildings, and waste.
C40 cities are already cutting emissions at a rate consistent with the limits determined by science, which means peaking emissions by 2020 and halving them by 2030. Every business, individual, investor, partner, informal settlement representative and nation that forms part of Global Green New Deal will commit to similar science-based targets.
3. We are committed to putting inclusive climate action at the center of all urban decision-making, to create thriving and equitable communities for everyone.
Our commitment includes protecting livelihoods, helping end poverty, improving lives, building more equitable societies and securing a just transition for those working in high-carbon industries.
Climate delay is already having devastating consequences with the impact being felt most severely by those least responsible for the emissions causing the climate emergency. We will drive an urgent, fundamental and irreversible transfer of global resources away from fossil fuels and into action that averts the climate emergency, thereby building a green and fair ecological civilization.
4. We invite our partners – political leaders, CEOs, trade unions, investors, and civil society – to join us in recognizing the global climate emergency and help us deliver on science-based action to overcome it.
Mayor Hidalgo, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Frank Jensen and newly elected C40 Chair, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a challenge to national leaders, CEOs and investors that have not yet matched the level of ambition in the Global Green New Deal.
Mayor Garcetti said, “When it comes to climate action, no one is doing more than cities, but no one is doing enough. We are entering a make-or-break decade for the preservation of our planet and environmental justice for every community, and I am proud to lead C40 cities at this critical moment. Together we will continue leading the drive to protect the world and promote a better, more equitable life for everyone living in it.”
Lord Mayor Jensen, said, “Copenhagen recognizes the climate emergency and commits to the Global Green New Deal because climate change is the greatest threat to security, public health and prosperity. We need to act now – and we need to act together. There is no need to hesitate: cities already have many of the green solutions needed.”
The mayors pledged to work closely with young people in our cities to help shape the sustainable future they want, providing a route from making their voice heard on the streets into shaping policies and projects in city government.
Policies are already being delivered in cities around the world, thanks to the commitment of mayors to the C40 Net Zero Carbon Buildings, Advancing Towards Zero Waste, and Green & Healthy Streets Declarations.
Even standing still is not enough to halt the climate crisis. Keeping the temperature rise to within the limits deemed safe by the overwhelming scientific evidence means not only cutting emissions but also reducing the carbon already released into Earth’s atmosphere. Many mayors recognize these facts.
Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, said, “Following more than a decade of committed climate action, the City of Sydney declared a climate emergency in June. We are calling on our federal government to move urgently to reintroduce a price on carbon so we can meet the emissions reduction targets outlined in the Paris Agreement, and establish a Just Transition Authority to ensure Australians employed in fossil fuel industries find good jobs in a green economy.”
“Sydney is proud to support the Global Green New Deal announced today in Copenhagen and work with C40 Cities toward a future where all citizens can earn a living wage on a living planet,” said Lord Mayor Moore.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, says his city is already acting to limit climate change. “The stark reality is we are running out of time to stop the worst impacts of climate change. Cities around the world are united in our frustration over a lack of global government action, and I am pleased to join my fellow mayors in calling for a Global Green New Deal.”
“In London, we are leading the way in investing in the green economy, decarbonizing our buildings and delivering green jobs, with people employed in the low-carbon goods sector in London increasing by 58 percent over the last 10 years,” said Mayor Khan. “We now need governments to match this ambition and adopt the Global Green New Deal principles to create more jobs and deliver the changes needed to infrastructure for a zero-carbon world.”