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Mayors back global climate strike as citizens flag crisis as number-one issue

Mayors voice their support and public say climate crisis is the most important issue, ahead of migration, terrorism and the economy.

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Cities around the world are showing their support for today’s global climate strikes, sparked by teenage campaigner Greta Thunberg and expected to be the largest demonstrations to date.

 

The Mayor of Paris and Chair of C40 Cities, Anne Hidalgo; Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio; Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti; and Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen, have issued a statement in support of today’s strike.

 

The mayors said historic investments are being made to prepare and adapt cities to the inevitable consequences of emissions already released into the atmosphere.

 

Houses on fire

 

Echoing the words of a speech by Thunberg, the statement reads: “When your house is on fire, somebody needs to sound the alarm. Young people in our cities, displaying incredible maturity and dignity are doing just that.

“School children are taking to the streets, drawing attention to the terrifying threat that climate breakdown poses to their future.”

The statement also highlights that those who have generated the least greenhouse gas emissions, including the poorest, most disadvantaged and youngest in society, will suffer the worst effects of a rapidly changing global climate.

 

“As mayors, our greatest responsibility is to protect the lives and wellbeing of those that live in our cities,” it says. “Fortunately, the evidence is increasingly clear that transforming our cities to prevent the climate crisis will also make them healthier, more equitable, safer and ultimately better places to live.

 

“The cities of the future will enjoy affordable and reliable public transport; the air will be free from poisonous toxins; buildings will generate zero emissions thanks to ultra-high efficient heating, cooling and insulation; waste will be recycled or reused, and all of this will be powered by abundant renewable energy. We have a unique opportunity to bestow a bright and hopeful legacy to the next generation. This is the future we want.”

 

Fortunately, the evidence is increasingly clear that transforming our cities to prevent the climate crisis will also make them healthier, more equitable, safer and ultimately better places to live.

 

The mayors add, “But we cannot tackle the climate crisis alone. We need science-based action from every sector of the economy, and we expect greater leadership from nation states.”

 

In many cities, including Oxford in the UK, adults will join young people in the climate strike today, with businesses closing in some places.

 

Number-one issue

 

Public concern about climate change is building across all age groups. An eight-country poll commissioned by the UK-based anti-racism group Hope not Hate found that the climate crisis is seen as the most important issue by the public, ahead of migration, terrorism and the economy.

 

A report in the Guardian highlights that the poll found that most people called for radical measures to cut emissions, including building more wind turbines and solar panels, providing more charging points for electric cars, and investing to create jobs in clean industries.

 

The climate crisis is seen as the most important issue by the public, ahead of migration, terrorism and the economy.

 

The report also states that the public want governments to be tougher on "big polluters” and want stronger measures to cut emissions, including a halt to coal mining and an end to oil and gas drilling, as well as increased taxes on frequent fliers.

 

Nick Lowles from Hope not Hate said the findings showed that the public are “way ahead” of politicians in recognising the scale of the climate crisis. “They understand the scale of the problem and want governments to take the strong and decisive action that this emergency requires.”

 

Citizens’ Assembly

 

Oxford, one of 1,027 jurisdictions in 19 countries around the world to declare a climate emergency, will be holding a Citizens Assembly on Climate Change later this month. It is believed to be the first city in the UK to hold a citizens assembly addressing the issues of climate change.

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