05/10/2008 - Local governments will offer national governments their support and partnership at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland. Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, will represent OECD in the Local Government Climate Sessions from 9 to 11 December. A clear message will be sent at the event: cities are a central part of the solutions for climate change.
New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, spoke for local governments at the 2007 UN Climate Conference in Bali: "The world's cities, which account for 80% of humanity‘s production of greenhouse gases, recognise that inaction is not an option. Mayors of the world's cities are the great pragmatists on the world’s stage. Results, not ideology, are what matter to us."
Cities and local governments worldwide have a strong track record of voluntary local climate action. The World Mayors and Local Government Climate Agreement commits mayors from major cities around the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% from 1990 levels and by 80% from 1990 levels in industrialized countries.
Local climate action must become part of national climate strategies. “In urbanizing the discussion on climate change, collaboration between national and local governments is essential, together with a co-operation on the difficult issue of sharing the costs. We are already seeing action by many of these partners, but a more co-ordinated, comprehensive and ambitious response is needed,” said Kamal-Chaoui.
The Chair of the World Mayors Council of Climate Change in 2007, Bärbel Dieckmann, Mayor of Bonn added: "It is quite simple - without cities and local governments, national governments will not be able to reach their targets and meet their commitments."
OECD has been working on climate change for 20 years. Today the organization is also helping governments to highlight the role of cities in delivering cost-effective policy responses to climate change.
The OECD Roundtable for Urban Development Strategy brings together Mayors and Ministers on the global scale. At its recent meeting in Milan, participants recognised the urgent need to implement policies that harmonize national, regional, and local action to combat climate change.
“The effects of the current financial crisis will seriously increase long-term investments for cities,” said Kamal-Chaoui. “But climate protection and economic growth are not enemies. On the contrary, there are tremendous economic and job opportunities offered by the green economy.”
Cities are home to 50% of the world’s population, consume up to 80% of all energy, and emit two- thirds of global CO2. They are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and it is time to involve them.
Event Website: www.iclei.org/poznan2008