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94 World Mayors Call for Green New Deal, Blast Slow National Actions

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Group photo of all mayors and leading members of the C40 World Mayors Summit during the summits opening press conference at Copenhagen City Hall seen on Oct. 9. Ole Jensen / Getty Images

Disappointed by the lack of concrete action at September's UN Climate Action Summit, the mayors of some of the world's biggest cities are taking matters into their own hands.


The C40 group of mayors — who represent 94 cities, more than 700 million people and one quarter of the global economy — announced their support Wednesday for a Global Green New Deal to fight the climate crisis, The Guardian reported.

"As mayors our first priority is to protect the safety of our citizens," Mayor of Paris and outgoing C40 Chair Anne Hidalgo said in a press release. "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 in making it a reality."

The announcement came on the opening day of the group's World Mayors' Summit in Copenhagen, The Guardian explained.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is taking over as chair of the group, said the Global Green New Deal would be his priority.

"This will be the defining decade not only of our lives, but of life itself for human beings on this planet," Garcetti said at a press conference reported by The Guardian. "I have no doubt that we can and will get it right, because human beings have this stubborn desire to survive."

The Global Green New Deal has four major principles, according to the group's press release.

  1. Recognizing the climate emergency
  2. Honoring the Paris agreement goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which means halving emissions by 2030
  3. Putting climate action at the center of urban planning
  4. Calling on partners to also acknowledge the climate crisis and act to resolve it

Alongside their call to action, the group shared some good news. The emissions of 30 cities have already fallen below peak levels, as MarketWatch reported. This suggests that cities can continue to grow their economy while lowering emissions, the group said. But some disagree with this approach.

Protestors at the Copenhagen summit, organized by local group Klima Aktion DK, set up a "green illusions scanner" that the attendees had to pass through and carried binoculars to show the mayors they were being watched.

"The entire framework around the C40 has the wrong approach," organizer Kirsten Kværnø told The Guardian. "They're taking the wrong starting point: that technology and green growth is going to save us from this crisis."

Others praised the initiative, including U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who will speak at the summit Friday and has helped lead the push for a Green New Deal in the U.S.

"I am inspired by this coalition and the commitments made for a global Green New Deal," she said in a statement reported by MarketWatch. "If we work to join forces globally, we will be able to defeat our greatest threat and realize our greatest opportunity."

City action is essential, C40 Executive Director Mark Watts told The Guardian, because the U.S., Brazil, Russia, Australia and Turkey are now "essentially representatives of the fossil fuel industry."

"[I]n 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," Watts told The Guardian.

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A volcano erupts on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island on Dec. 9, 2019. Michael Schade / Twitter

A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.

"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."

The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.

Michael Schade / Twitter

At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.

The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.

Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.

"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."

Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.

Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.

"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.

"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."

The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.

Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.