Thursday, October 10, 2019

Cities for the Climate

Ahead of the seventh World Mayors’ Summit in Copenhagen the mayors group, representing more than 90 of the world’s biggest cities,  launched a blistering attack on the failure to agree strong measures to fight the climate crisis at last month’s UN Climate Action Summit, blaming “a small number of powerful governments serving the interests of the fossil fuel industry”.

“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,” the group’s chair, Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, said in a statement. “Their ineptitude directly threatens all people around the globe as time keeps running against us.” Hidalgo said ahead of the conference that she supported the disruptive protests launched this week in London, Berlin and elsewhere by the protest group Extinction Rebellion“We are facing a climate emergency, and a growing number of people around the world, particularly young people, are treating it as such,” she said. “We share their concern for the future of humanity, and we must push forward with courage and ambition to change the status quo that has generated this crisis.”
Mark Watts, the C40 group of leading global cities executive director, told the Guardian that the leaders of the US, Brazil, Australia, Russia and Turkey were now “essentially representatives of the fossil fuel industry”, so it was important for “the next most powerful group of politicians”, the mayors of the biggest cities, to step up. 

“It makes what we do even more important, because in the context of those really powerful nations not only holding back their own actions but blocking the whole of the United Nations, we’ve got to have momentum coming from somewhere else.” As well as mayors, Watts said this year’s summit would bring together “more of the genuine national leaders of youth climate strikes than ever before”, with youth activists from 30 different countries.
The conference gathers leaders from cities around the world for three days to share ideas on green urban development and how to pressure national leaders to act on the climate crisis. The conference covers themes such as affordable housing, waste and climate migration. 
Copenhagen, which has an ambitious plan to become carbon-neutral by 2025, is showcasing efforts such as apartments built with recycled materials and energy-efficient systems.
“The entire framework around the C40 has the wrong approach,” said Kirsten Kværnø, one of the organisers for the local green pressure group Klima Aktion DK, “They’re taking the wrong starting point: that technology and green growth is going to save us from this crisis.”

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