Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Cities Forge World's Largest Alliance to Curb Climate Change

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Cities Forge World's Largest Alliance to Curb Climate Change

Article excerpt

Most attention on climate change policy has focused on national governments, but can cities, too, help curb global warming?

That's the goal of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, a coalition of more than 7,000 cities spanning six continents.

The group, created by merging the United Nation's Compact of Mayors and the EU's Covenant of Mayors, is a first-of-its-kind global initiative of local governments aimed at supporting each other in "setting ambitious climate reduction goals, taking ambitious action to meet those objectives, and measuring their progress publicly and transparently," according to a statement released by the European Commission on Thursday.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will co-chair the new Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy along with European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic, called the move "a giant step forward in the work of achieving the goals that nations agreed to in Paris."

"Cities have increasingly been gathering the confidence of nation- states in demonstrating that not only are they spaces of solutions but spaces of such grand solutions that nation-states can be more ambitious in their commitments," Shagun Mehrotra, who teaches sustainable development at The New School University and directs the Sustainable Development Solutions Center, tells The Christian Science Monitor.

Cities played a key role in developing the UN's sustainable development goals, Dr. Mehrotra said, and more than 400 mayors converged on Paris for the climate talks in December where the United States committed to a 26-28 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 compared to 2005.

A national version of the international network was also announced earlier this week. The US Conference of Mayors and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions will partner to encourage public-private cooperation on climate action, forming a group called the Alliance for a Sustainable Future.

"Making cities more livable, walkable, and attractive is something that mayors are very keen on," Bob Perciasepe, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, tells The Christian Science Monitor in an interview Thursday. …

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