Bloomberg, Šefčovič and Figueres discuss how cities can lead on climate change

Global Covenant of Mayors Co-Chairs Michael R. Bloomberg and European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic highlighted the important role that cities will have to play in delivering the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

Speaking at the Sustainable Energy for All event in New York, Bloomberg, Sefcovic and Vice Chair Christiana Figueres said that cities and local leaders are working to accelerate global progress towards a low-carbon future. They said that through initiatives like the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, city leaders and mayors could work together, share expertise and set ambitious targets that raise the bar for nation states.

Sefcovic said: “We created the Global Covenant of Mayors to enable cities to do more, faster.” He added that energy efficiency will play a big role in European cities. “In Europe we spend 40% of energy heating houses, so there is enormous potential there.” The European Commission has set out a 30% energy efficiency target as part of its 2030 energy and climate package released last year.

Former Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg said that the problems facing the environment are primarily in urban areas and that the “solutions are on the cities.” In an editorial for the New York Times last week, Bloomberg stressed that cities are taking the lead where nation states are failing to act. “By improving their air quality and becoming greener, cities turn into more attractive places to live and work. And where people want to live and work, businesses want to invest.”

The success of the Paris Agreement rests with cities, businesses, communities and global citizens around the world.  Global Covenant of Mayors committed cities and local governments are demonstrating how action can drive change in order to meet or even exceed ambitious targets set by nation-states.

Former UNFCCC Chief Christiana Figueres, who brokered the Paris climate agreement, had a stark warning for the audience at SE4All. She said: “My invitation to everyone here is to swallow the alarm clock and realise our actions over the next 3-4 years will determine the quality of life on this planet forever.”

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