Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cities for Climate Change

Recent a large number of mayors gathered for an international meeting in Mexico City.

The purpose of this meeting was to provide of forum for mayors to discuss the issue of climate change and to press for the adoption of standards that will lower carbon emissions throughout the planet.

The host mayor stated:
More than 600 mayors from around the world will meet in Mexico City this week to press for local authorities to get a greater role and a piece of the funding in the fight against climate change.

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard will host the conference. He says 42 of the mayors are expected to sign concrete emissions reduction goals. The conference starts Tuesday.

Another goal is to come up with a delegation of mayors to attend the international climate change conference in Cancun, which starts Nov. 28.

Ebrard said Monday that cities should take the lead, because talks among nations are not progressing rapidly.

Mexico City has pledged to reduce emissions by 10 to 12 per cent, but so far have reduced them by only 3.8 over three years.

The meeting is to develop a united front in presenting the needs of cities for protection of the environment. When you think about it, this is a positive idea, we are living on an urban planet. Cities provide wealth, housing, jobs and pollution. Cities are dependent on a healthy environment for food, water and living conditions. Anyone who has ever lived in a city during a heat wave can attest to that fact.

The great news is that the meeting of mayors did bring about a plan for reducing carbon emissions and a call to protect the environment. There was a positive result of the meeting in that is the document which is referred to as "The Mexico City Pact"

I should imagine some will scoff as just another international agreement which means absolutely nothing. But consider, we've already seen the failure when the nations of the world gather to discuss climate change. National governments balance the interest of some strong groups, such as the corporations that are dumping the millions to get politicians elected. However the city is closer to the grass roots and it is where the people live. As I have said, while cities possess the large carbon footprints, they are the places most dependent upon a healthy environment.
To sum up the document:
The Global Cities Covenant on Climate, “the Mexico City Pact” consists of two parts: the first mentions considerations as to why cities are strategic in combating global warming: the second establishes a set of voluntary commitments to promote strategies and actions aimed at mitigating GHG emissions and adapting cities to the impacts of climate change.

To establish and follow up on cities’ commitments, the signatories will establish their climate actions in carbonn Cities Climate Registry (CCCR) powered by Bonn Center for Local Climate Action and Reporting (carbonn). The Registry has two sections:

* Section 1, is for cities that wish to undertake mitigation and climate change adaptation measures and that by signing pledge to take the first steps, such as preparing their emissions inventory, designing and executing a Climate Action Plan, or promoting local laws that favour GHG reduction, among other measures.

* Section 2, is for cities that already have climate actions in place that are measurable, reportable and verifiable (MRV).

It states the aims and provides the means in which progress can be tracked. It is a document which allows and stresses transparency, something that is lacking in most international agreements.

Cities are where the action is, and its not just the largest centres, it can be all municipalities. This is where we live, its the level of government that impacts our lives the most directly. Perhaps this is where change can take place.

Hopefully the delegates who are gathering at Cancun, can read the document and have a heart to heart. As I said earlier, who knows, as they gather around the pool with the fancy drinks, agreements can be reached.

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