OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría and UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities & Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg push for cities to take lead on climate change


17/09/14 - OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría and the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg reaffirmed today their commitment to support international cities’ efforts to lead in the global fight against climate change — and called for national support to make this happen.

  “Cities have the potential to make a great difference in the global effort to confront climate change: They account for more than 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and two-thirds of the world’s energy use today,” Mr. Gurría and Mr. Bloomberg stated (Read the opening remarks by Angel Gurría). “Mayors have, within their authorities, many ways to reduce emissions, change the way energy is consumed, and prepare for the impacts of climate change.”

“With urban populations expected to double by 2050, the steps cities take to reduce their carbon footprints and to protect their infrastructure from more severe weather events will have a major impact on the future of our planet and improve the lives of billions of people,” they continued. “As world leaders gather next week at the UN Climate Summit in New York City, and in the months leading up to the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015, they should look for ways to help their cities accelerate their progress and empower them to do even more.”

Michael Bloomberg speaking at the OECD. Photo: OECD/Julien Daniel

A Policy Perspective issued today by the OECD and Bloomberg Philanthropies notes that choices made in cities around low-carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure can help us avoid the worst impacts of a warming climate.

Recommendations in the report include empowering cities to meet this challenge. In particular, providing incentives for cities within national policies can ensure a “race to the top” among cities, leading to the potential for huge reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions. The specific areas where it will be critical to align national, regional and local efforts are the following:

  • Improving and aligning policies around the planning and management of regional, national and local infrastructure development;

  • Promoting market instruments and regulations to directly incentivise green urban investment and establishing sound investment policies;

  • Developing national legislation to ensure that cities can access necessary resources to fund low-carbon infrastructure; and

  • Finding ways to better attract and engage private sector partners.

“National and local governments must be partners in fighting climate change,” Mr. Gurría and Mr. Bloomberg said. “We are working together with our constituencies to enable real progress in reaching international climate goals and a meaningful, global agreement next year in Paris, and will continue to do so beyond 2015 for the necessary shift to a low-carbon society.”

  Click on the book cover to read the publication online

Read more on the OECD’s work on cities and climate change on and also on



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