This century is the epoch of the city, and by association it means it’s the century of mayors
Cities are older than countries, and they are centres to be reckoned with. In 2010, the balance of the world changed, with over half of us dwelling in an urban environment. By 2050, the metropolis will be home to over 70 per cent of us.
City leaders will be dealing with the problems and logistics that only crowded municipalities beset with climate change as a backing track can throw up. That makes cities front line when it comes to the appliance of new technologies, innovation and new opportunities.
This century is the epoch of the city, and by association it means it’s the century of mayors. Donald Trump may have decided to become a climate salmon by swimming against the tide of the Paris accord tide, but US city mayors remain committed to the cause, undeterred by the federal government’s decision.
On a recent conference call hosted by The U.S. Conference of Mayors, New Orleans (LA) Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who serves as USCM vice president, stressed strong opposition to the withdrawal and explained that the bipartisan organisation has taken an active role for many years to combat climate change.
“From Kyoto to Paris to today, on behalf of the Conference, it is our collective opinion that withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord is a short-sighted decision. While we don’t necessarily disagree on ‘America First,’ it cannot be ‘America Only’ – pitting environmental protection against economic growth, which is a false choice. Mayors will do what we need to do on our own. This is not the first time when we have had to act without Washington,” he said.
Phoenix (AZ) mayor Greg Stanton, USCM Environment Committee Chair said, “We see the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord as an abdication of American leadership and America’s mayors will certainly fill that void. We will symbolically sign on and take actions necessary so that America meets its obligations under the Paris Accord, despite actions of this administration. This is a local issue that mayors must come together on and we will not shirk our responsibilities. The eyes of the world are upon us and they are disappointed. We want to make sure that they are heartened by the actions of American mayors in a bipartisan way. America’s mayors are stepping up to the plate and taking on a greater international role as a result.”
Burnsville (MN) mayor Elizabeth Kautz, USCM past president said, “Mayors won’t quit. We care about the environment and energy efficiency. Mayors will make a difference. Mayors will come together to get this done. We must protect the planet.”
Two days ago, a total of 1, 219 governors, mayors, businesses, investors, colleges and universities form the US or with significant interests in the US signed an open letter displaying their intent to continue to ensure carbon emission reduction.
The ‘we are still in’ initiative has collected signatures from businesses and investors who account for a total annual revenue of $1.4 trillion and include over 20 Fortune 500 companies, including Apple, eBay, Gap Inc., Google, Intel, Microsoft and Nike.
The statement reads: “In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, colleges and universities, businesses and investors, representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions.
“It is imperative that the world know that in the U.S., the actors that will provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment are found in city halls, state capitals, colleges and universities, investors and businesses. Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2℃ and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health.”
In addition to the www.wearestillin.com initiative, 211 Climate Mayors have adopted the Paris Agreement goals for their cities, 13 Governors have formed the bipartisan U.S. Climate Alliance, and 17 governors have released individual statements standing by Paris.
Trump’s got his wall, just not the one he was angling for, and in its unwitting construction, he has managed to brick himself in.
Before I sign off, just want to alert you to the fact that our City Profiles series launches today. Here we take a look at the smart initiatives in action in various world cities, and how these are all helping to solve issues and create new growth. We kick off our series with a look at Singapore, which is on a bold trajectory to be the world’s first smart nation.
Another week passes.