Cities are leading the way on global climate change

By on February 19, 2014
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Recently released research has shown rapid expansion and acceleration of city-led actions to combat climate change are having a marked affect. 

Mayors and top officials from more than 45 cities joined global leaders for the fifth biennial C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) Mayors Summit, hosted for the first time on the African continent, by the City of Johannesburg.

In addition to releasing landmark research about the climate actions taken by cities, C40 added African cities to its membership, launched a new programme providing on-the-ground support to cities, and made a strong statement to the global community about the role of cities in tackling climate change.

During the Summit, C40 released a landmark report, Climate Action in Megacities Volume 2.0 (CAM 2.0), developed in partnership with consultancy firm Arup. CAM 2.0 provides compelling evidence that C40 cities are taking significant actions – such as implementing rigorous energy efficiency regulations for buildings, bus rapid transit lines, or flood risk mapping – to reduce carbon emissions and climate risks. The report builds upon research originally released at the 2011 C40 Mayors Summit in Sao Paulo.

“Mayors have the power and the will to confront climate change, and they are seizing every opportunity to take action,” says Michael Bloomberg, philanthropist, 108th Mayor of New York City and President of the C40 Board. “C40 cities are doing more than ever to reduce emissions and become resilient – that’s why they are increasingly looked to for leadership by the international community. In my new role as UN Special Envoy on Cities and Climate Change I am looking forward to working with C40 cities, and other cities around the world, to build on our progress.”

C40 Chair, Mayor Eduardo Paes of Rio de Janeiro also announced several developments demonstrating the momentum of C40 as one of the preeminent climate action organisations in the world. The global network welcomed three African cities, Cape Town, Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, bringing the total representation of the continent to seven member cities and total C40 membership to 66.

“Although the African continent faces disproportionate impacts from climate change, we are no less dedicated to contributing to solutions,” says C40 Summit host, Johannesburg Executive Mayor Mpho Parks Tau. “African cities are growing at a tremendous rate and as mayors, it is our duty to ensure the long-term sustainability of our communities. That’s why African mayors are stepping up to join the C40.”

In a letter presented to Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, and signed on to by more than 35 C40 mayors, Mayor Paes called for a specific urban goal among the overall global sustainable development goals. The letter urged the UN’s Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals to recognise the unique challenges of urban spaces, and presented a strong argument for the inclusion of urban areas in national programmes.

The growth of populations and cities in many African countries is creating new problems and business opportunities all across the continent. The Mega Cities Africa Conference and Expo, to be hosted at the Gallagher Convention Centre from 11-12 June 2014, is Africa’s only event focused solely on recognising potential issues of mega cities, identifying solutions for those problems, and uniting the relevant government and business organisations to make sure the issues are addressed and opportunities are not missed.

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