The mayors of London, Los Angeles, Paris, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Quito, Vancouver, Mexico City, Milan, Seattle, Auckland, and Cape Town have just committed to a bold plan to clean up their cities' air and calm the wider threat of climate change.
On Monday, the 12 mayors signed the "C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration", uniting in a promise to only use zero-emission buses by 2025 and make the “major areas” of their cities free of fossil fuel emissions by 2030. They also agree to reduce the number of polluting vehicles on the streets and promote cleaner means of getting around, such as walking, cycling, public transport, and carpooling.
The push was made at a summit for the C40 Cities initiative, an international network of over 90 cities working to address the perils of climate change. Together, they are collaborating on plans to turn the targets set by the Paris Agreement into reality. This includes many US cities, in spite of President Donald Trump pulling out of the agreement in July 2017.
“The largest sources of air pollution are also the largest sources of carbon emissions – and in many cities, transportation is the biggest culprit,” Michael Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, former Mayor of New York, and C40 Board President, said in a statement.
“C40 Mayors understand thriving cities require clean air. By switching to cleaner vehicles, we can fight climate change and save many lives.”
These 12 cities are home to over 80 million people. Urban areas only account for around 2 percent of the world’s landmass yet they pump out over 70 percent of global carbon emissions and consume two-thirds of the world’s energy. Furthermore, 70 percent of the cities in the C40 initiative report they are already feeling the strain of climate change.
On Sunday, the summit also saw 30 major city mayors and senior executives from some of the world’s most powerful companies, including Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, and Siemens, discuss the threats and solutions to climate change.
“As cities take climate action, they can do good for their residents and do well for their urban economies," said Hany Fam, EVP Enterprise Partnerships of Mastercard, one of the multinational companies who attended the discussion.
"By coming together as a private sector, we can make moving around cities more seamless and more sustainable.”