Tuesday, November 30, 2010

World Mayors Summit on Climate

Urban Leaders will present a pact at the Cancun climate talks now underway in Mexico. Mayors from around the world have signed what is known as the Mexico City Mayors Pact which commits them to reduce urban greenhouse gas emissions.

Cities have a tremendous capacity to address climate change. More than half of the world's population now lives in urban areas, they consume 80 percent of global energy and emit 60 percent of greenhouse gases.

This pact includes the signatures of 138 mayors from some of the world's largest urban areas including Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Paris, Vancouver and Jakarta. Five cities have already begun providing sample reports of some key actions, commitments and performances.

In a statement, Marcelo Ebrard, Mayor of Mexico City and chair of the World Mayors Council on Climate Change said, "mayors and urban leaders are on the frontline of the planet's fight against a changing climate."

While this may not be a binding agreement, it is a public promise that will be considered by voters at the ballot box. The pact requires participants to post their commitments and performance online, where city residents can look at it.

The monitoring and verification mechanism is called the "carbonn Cities Climate Registry" (cCCR) which will be operated by Germany's Bonn Center for Local Climate Action and Reporting.

Speaking at the Mexico City summit, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), welcomed the new cCCR mechanism saying it would "help local governments to demonstrate leadership in climate action." She added that subjecting cities to open and independent reviews is a "critical step for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of emission reductions over long-term lines."

Martha Delgado, Mexico City's secretary for the environment said, "Everyone is very excited to participate in this summit because they think that they are going to show national governments that it is possible to have commitments."

Mayors from all over the world are demonstrating leadership through their commitments to lowering emissions. Although most agree that we will not see a binding agreement at COP16, individual cities are taking it upon themselves to lead to way out of climate chaos.

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