10 Years of Inspiring Climate Action in Global Cities
From the very beginning, when I was asked as mayor of Toronto to join the board of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) in 2005, I knew former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone had an idea that was going to make a massive difference. C40 is an exceptional organization that brings together leadership from major cities around the world to take real and lasting action on climate change.
Mayors of large cities that hold statutory responsibilities for large-scale infrastructure such as transportation systems, regional energy production, social housing, water and solid waste management can have a tremendous impact on both reducing greenhouse gas emissions and taking steps to address and forestall the sometimes devastating impacts of climate change. Bringing these mayors together—and through them the hundreds of millions of people they represent—remains an extremely powerful and effective mechanism towards halting climate change.
Glad to have celebrated @C40Cities' #10YearsofResults last night with climate leaders @EduardoPaes_ and @BillClinton. http://t.co/3hAosdjjNG— Mike Bloomberg (@Mike Bloomberg)1442938567.0
I was honored to become chair of C40 in 2008 and to serve through to the end of 2010 when former Mayor Michael Bloomberg took up the mantle. In the 2006 Toronto election, I was re-elected with a strong mandate to act on climate change. My message throughout that election was: "When national governments fail to act, cities can, and must, act." This is the philosophy that I carried with me as I assumed my position as chair of C40. And I came to understand that it's a belief strongly held by all C40 mayors.
For me, there were three critical imperatives during my tenure:
- Strengthen the C40 network
- Ensure the immense value of large cities taking action on climate change was understood by national governments and international organizations
- Expand knowledge sharing among cities to support climate change goals, including beginning to track progress as a group
Strengthening Our Network of C40 Mayors
To strengthen the network, I communicated regularly and in person with C40 mayors at every opportunity. This approach allowed us to build strong working relationships and make decisions quickly. Mayors are the elected leaders most responsive to the concerns and everyday realities of the people they represent. Mayors tend to be practical problem solvers who take pride in getting things done. Working more closely with mayors worldwide to solidify the network was an essential and inspiring part of my work as chair.
A Voice for Cities on the Global Stage
To ensure the voice of cities was heard on the world stage, we undertook a number of initiatives, the most important of which was our presence at COP15 in Copenhagen. Led by C40 Secretariat Mary MacDonald from my office and the wonderful former Mayor of Copenhagen Ritt Bjerregaard, we initiated and planned the Copenhagen Summit for Mayors. This was a transformative event, the result of which was to place leadership on climate change by cities on the global agenda in a permanent way. Our mantra while the national negotiations were floundering during COP15 was: while nations talk, cities act.
It's now commonplace to say that cities are where the action is on climate change, but this was not true before Copenhagen. Many C40 mayors and mayors-elect attended the Copenhagen Mayors Summit, including but not limited to Bloomberg, Mayor Boris Johnson of London, Gov. Fauzi Bowo of Jakarta, Islam, and Mayor Amos Masando of Johannesburg.
More than 80 mayors attended the summit, supported well by their civil servants who presented a dazzling array of actions already underway to act against climate change. The summit was covered by major national and international media outlets and we were the front page story on the delegates' newspaper to COP15. Some would argue the only good news that came out of Copenhagen was about cities—whatever the position, it was clear from that moment on that cities indeed were the governments acting and leading on climate and the world took notice.
Sharing Information and Tracking Progress
With the active support of our small but effective London-based secretariat, we worked hard to secure the future of the organization, including a highly successful C40 summit in Seoul in 2009 thanks to former Mayor Oh Se-hoon. At the Seoul summit, former President Bill Clinton, head of our then partner organization the Clinton Climate Initiative, acknowledged in the keynote address that cities were indeed leading the fight on climate change. In 2009, C40 knowledge-sharing and capacity building workshops and events were held in cities including Tokyo, Berlin, London and Basel, Switzerland.
We are pleased to bring you #10YearsofResults http://t.co/v1clw8u5zu— C40 Cities (@C40 Cities)1431350943.0
C40 also created structures of knowledge exchange. Part of the goal was to exchange information around particular areas of interest, sometimes accomplished by conferences such as the Rotterdam, Netherlands event on ocean flooding, held in the fall of 2010 and the Hong Kong conference on low carbon cities for high quality living, both of which had over 1,000 attendees including mayors, scientists, civil servants, businesses and the public.
In 2010, we also began tracking our collective progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and created a shared inventory of high-impact actions through a pilot test with the Carbon Disclosure Project. Today, we see the fruits of these early endeavors to drive collaboration between cities and track their progress. Ahead of COP21, C40 released the third edition of its flagship research publication, Climate Action in Megacities 3.0, showing that cities have taken more than 10,000 climate actions since COP15 in Copenhagen—30 percent of which was taken as a result of city-to-city collaboration. 70 percent of C40 cities report that they are currently experiencing the impact of climate change. As a result, C40 mayors are setting ambitious targets and long-term strategies: in 2015, cities reported plans to expand nearly all (88 percent) actions currently underway, up from 30 percent in 2011.
I'm proud and honored to have had the chance to chair the C40, build on the foundational work of Livingstone and to watch the continued momentum of the organization under the leadership of Bloomberg and now the chairmanship of Mayor Educardo de Costa Paes of Rio de Janeiro. I'm especially grateful to have had the chance to work closely with innovative, effective and committed mayors from all parts of the globe on perhaps not just the most important issue of our time, but of all time. Together, we have made and are making, a tremendous difference.
2015 marks C40's 10 year anniversary. To celebrate C40's 10 Years of Results, they are featuring the voices of C40 principals, partners and other thought leaders throughout the year.
David Miller was C40 chair 2008 to 2010 and mayor of Toronto 2003-2010.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Many people shop online for everything from clothes to appliances. If they do not like the product, they simply return it. But there's an environmental cost to returns.
- Are We Doomed If We Don't Curb Carbon Emissions by 2030 ... ›
- California Winery Cuts Carbon Emissions With Lighter Bottles ... ›
- Wealthy One Percent Are Producing More Carbon Emissions Than ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dolf Gielen and Morgan Bazilian
John Kerry helped bring the world into the Paris climate agreement and expanded America's reputation as a climate leader. That reputation is now in tatters, and President-elect Joe Biden is asking Kerry to rebuild it again – this time as U.S. climate envoy.
Energy Is at the Center of the Climate Challenge<p>The <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/1/" target="_blank">effects of climate change</a> are already evident across the globe, from <a href="https://theconversation.com/100-degrees-in-siberia-5-ways-the-extreme-arctic-heat-wave-follows-a-disturbing-pattern-141442" target="_blank">extreme heat waves</a> to <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/12/" target="_blank">sea level rise</a>. But while the challenge is daunting, there is hope. Solar and wind power have become the <a href="https://www.irena.org/publications/2020/Jun/Renewable-Power-Costs-in-2019" target="_blank">cheapest forms of power generation globally</a>, and technology progress and innovation continue apace to support a transition to clean energy.</p><p>In the U.S. under a Biden administration, long-term national climate legislation will depend on who controls the Senate, and that won't be clear until after two run-off elections in Georgia in January.</p><p>But there is no shortage of <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2020-biden-climate-change-advice/" target="_blank">ideas for ways Biden</a> could still take action even if his proposals are blocked in Congress. For example, he could use executive orders and direct government agencies to tighten regulations on greenhouse gas emissions; increase research and development in clean energy technologies; and empower states to exceed national standards, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-emissions-california/defying-trump-california-locks-in-vehicle-emission-deals-with-major-automakers-idUSKCN25D2CH" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">as California did in the past with auto emission standards</a>. A focus on a just and equitable transition for communities and people affected by the decline of fossil fuels will also be key to creating a sustainable transition.</p><p>The U.S. position as the world's largest oil and gas producer and consumer creates political challenges for any administration. U.S. forays into European energy security are often treated with suspicion. Recently, France blocked <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/frances-engie-backs-out-of-u-s-lng-deal-11604435609" target="_blank">a multi-billion dollar contract</a> to buy U.S. liquefied natural gas because of concerns about limited emissions regulations in Texas.</p><p>Strengthening cooperation and partnerships with like-minded countries will be critical to bring about a transition to cleaner energy as well as sustainability in agriculture, forestry, water and other sectors of the global economy.</p>
Creating a Global Sustainable Transition<p>How the world recovers from COVID-19's economic damage could help drive a lasting shift in the global energy mix.</p><p>Nearly one-third of Europe's US$2 trillion economic relief package <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-21/eu-approves-biggest-green-stimulus-in-history-with-572-billion-plan" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">involves investments that are also good for the climate</a>. The European Union is also strengthening its 2030 climate targets, though each country's energy and climate plans will be critical for successfully implementing them. The <a href="https://joebiden.com/clean-energy/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Biden plan</a> – including a $2 trillion commitment to developing sustainable energy and infrastructure – is aligned with a global energy transition, but its implementation is also uncertain.</p><p>Once Biden takes office, Kerry will be joining ongoing <a href="https://www.un.org/en/conferences/energy2021/about#:%7E:text=The%20overarching%20goal%20of%20the,2030%20Agenda%20for%20Sustainable%20Development.&text=Accelerate%20delivery%20of%20United%20Nations,related%20issues%20at%20all%20levels." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high-level discussions on the energy transition</a> at the U.N. General Assembly and other gatherings of international leaders. With the U.S. no longer obstructing work on climate issues, the G-7 and G-20 have more potential for progress on energy and climate.</p><p>Lots of technical details still need to be worked out, including international trade frameworks and standards that can help countries lower greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep global warming in check. <a href="https://www.carbonpricingleadership.org/what" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Carbon pricing</a> and <a href="https://www.csis.org/analysis/how-can-europe-get-carbon-border-adjustment-right" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">carbon border adjustment taxes</a>, which create incentive for companies to reduce emissions, may be part of it. A consistent and comprehensive set of national energy transition plans will also be needed.</p><p>The global shift to <a href="https://www.irena.org/publications/2019/Jan/A-New-World-The-Geopolitics-of-the-Energy-Transformation" target="_blank">clean energy will also have geopolitical implications for countries and regions</a>, and this will have a profound impact on wider international relations. Kerry, with his experience as secretary of state in the Obama administration, and Biden's plan to make the climate envoy position part of the National Security Council, may help mend these relations. In doing so, the U.S. may again join the wider community of countries willing to lead.</p>
- 14 States On Track to Meet Paris Targets - EcoWatch ›
- Biden Vows to Ax Keystone XL if Elected - EcoWatch ›
- Biden Names John Kerry as First-Ever Climate Envoy - EcoWatch ›
By Maria Caffrey
As we approach the holidays I, like most people, have been reflecting on everything 2020 has given us (or taken away) while starting to look ahead to 2021.
We Need More Than Listening<p>By now we have all become sadly accustomed to the current administration sidelining scientists, most prominently Dr. Anthony Fauci, because the facts they provide do not fit with the political rhetoric of the moment.</p><p>I have <a href="https://www.csldf.org/2019/08/22/csldf-helps-climate-scientist-maria-caffrey-fight-for-scientific-integrity/" target="_blank">my own history</a> of filing a scientific integrity complaint with the National Park Service (which falls under the Department of the Interior) after senior ranking employees attempted to censor one of my scientific reports. I know all too well the damage and pain that these actions cause, not just for the individual scientist, but also because these <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/attacks-on-science" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">attacks on science</a> over the last few years have undermined sound, evidence-based decision making.</p><p>President-elect Biden has repeatedly said that he will <a href="https://thehill.com/homenews/521638-trump-biden-will-listen-to-the-scientists-if-elected" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">listen to the scientists</a>. While this is certainly a welcome change, listening can only take us so far. This past week Lauren Kurtz from the <a href="https://www.csldf.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Climate Science Legal Defense Fund</a> and my colleague <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/about/people/gretchen-goldman" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Gretchen Goldman</a> published <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ten-steps-that-can-restore-scientific-integrity-in-government/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">an article</a> listing 10 actions the new administration should implement to show their commitment to strengthening government science:</p><ol><li>Clearly prohibit political interference and censorship.</li><li>Protect scientists' communication rights.</li><li>Acknowledge that attempts to violate scientific integrity, even if ultimately not fruitful, are still violations.</li><li>Protect federal scientists' right to provide information to Congress and other lawmakers.</li><li>Commit to incorporating the best science as part of agency decisions.</li><li>Elevate agency scientific integrity policies to have the full force of law.</li><li>Publicly release anonymized information about scientific integrity complaints and their resolutions at every agency.</li><li>Institute an intra-agency workforce, potentially under the White House <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/strengthening-science-and-si-at-ostp.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Office of Science and Technology Policy</a>, to coordinate scientific integrity efforts across agencies, foster discussion of policy improvements, and standardize criteria for policies across agencies.</li><li>Strengthen whistleblower protections.</li><li>Ensure that policies cover all actors who will be dealing with science.</li></ol>
Time for Action<p>I have spoken to many scientists, particularly federal scientists, who are eager to turn the page so they can hurry back to the work they had been doing before this administration, but I urge caution in assuming that things can be "normal" again.</p><p>Before Trump, I naively thought the scientific integrity policies established during the <a href="https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2016/12/19/scientific-integrity-policies-update" target="_blank">Obama administration</a> would be sufficient. I never imagined that any administration could so willfully ignore and attack expert advice and evidence that is intended to protect us and our public lands.</p><p>I have personally witnessed how hard our federal scientists work. They put in long hours with minimal pay (far less that what they could get if they worked in private industry) to pursue one simple goal: to make things better for the nation.</p><p>We need stronger scientific integrity policies to protect these people and their work. But more than that, we need stronger scientific integrity laws because they also benefit society.</p>
By Andrea Germanos
Environmental campaigners stressed the need for the incoming Biden White House to put in place permanent protections for Alaska's Bristol Bay after the Trump administration on Wednesday denied a permit for the proposed Pebble Mine that threatened "lasting harm to this phenomenally productive ecosystem" and death to the area's Indigenous culture.
<div id="da98c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="478a197b7c59c92787c92bec92f1ac39"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1331662923710693376" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Bristol Bay forever, Pebble mine never. #NoPebbleMine #SaveBristolBay https://t.co/CBQ9zuy8A5</div> — Save Bristol Bay (@Save Bristol Bay)<a href="https://twitter.com/SaveBristolBay/statuses/1331662923710693376">1606328156.0</a></blockquote></div>
- Pebble Mine Threatens One of the Last Great Salmon Rivers ... ›
- The Pebble Mine Is Too Toxic Even for the Trump Administration ... ›
- Trump Admin Reverses Obama-Era Restrictions on Pebble Mine ... ›
OlgaMiltsova / iStock / Getty Images Plus
By Gwen Ranniger
In the midst of a pandemic, sales of cleaning products have skyrocketed, and many feel a need to clean more often. Knowing what to look for when purchasing cleaning supplies can help prevent unwanted and dangerous toxics from entering your home.