At C40 summit cities step up efforts to tackle climate change and air pollution

Mayors and local leaders from over the world gathered in Mexico City from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 for the biennial C40 Mayors’ Summit.

The Summit is the opportunity to share climate strategies and discuss the importance and implementation of urban solutions to climate change.

C40 presented a report detailing a roadmap to allow cities delivering on the goals of the Paris Agreement. According to the study by C40 and Arup (“Deadline 2020: How cities will get the job done”), the next four years are critical to moving from initiatives in planning and pilot stages to full transformative, city-wide measures. Only in the last year, thousands of urban climate actions have been launched in the C40 cities, that together emitted 2.4 GtCO2e of greenhouse gases in 2015, mainly from stationary and transport emissions sources.

During the event, mayors of Paris, Mexico City, Madrid and Athens committed to improve air quality in the four cities by stopping the use of all diesel-powered cars and trucks by 2025. They announced they will incentivise alternative vehicles and promote walking and cycling infrastructure.

“Mayors have already stood up to say that the climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face,” said Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and new Chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. “Today, we also stand up to say we no longer tolerate air pollution and the health problems and deaths it causes – particularly for our most vulnerable citizens. Big problems like air pollution require bold action, and we call on car and bus manufacturers to join us.”

C40 also announced that it was joining with the World Health Organisation and UN Environment’s Climate and Clean Air Coalition, in support of the BreathLife campaign to halve the 6.5 million deaths from air pollution by 2030. The global campaign will support city governments to reduce harmful emissions from the transport, waste and energy sectors, as well as mobilizing citizen action to reduce air pollution while also slowing climate change.

In Mexico City the group also awarded eleven “world’s most inspiring and innovative cities tackling climate change”. The winners of the C40 Cities Awards are: Addis Ababa, for the Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit (LRT) Project to improve the city’s public transport system; Copenhagen, for the Cloudburst Management Plan, an integrated system of green streets and pocket parks that will function as water retention areas and water basins; Curitiba, for its Urban Agriculture project to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; Kolkata, for its Solid Waste Management Improvement Project achieving 60-80% segregation of waste at its source; Sydney and Melbourne, for the CitySwitch Green Office programme improving energy performance in buildings; Paris, for its Adaption Strategy including other sustainability issues like air pollution and health related risks, climate refugee challenges and water scarcity. Portland for its 2015 Climate Action Plan (CAP); Seoul, for the Energy Welfare Public Private Partnership (PPP) Programme; Shenzhen, for the good implementation of the local Emissions Trading System (ETS) scheme; Yokohama, for its Smart City Project (YSCP) to more effectively manage energy use and mitigate climate change by engaging citizens and stakeholders.


(Image: an Addis Ababa Light Rail Tram passes through Ethiopia’s largest business district Merakto. Photo credit: Mulugeta Ayene/AP Images for C40)