The following is the text of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s remarks as prepared for delivery today at the Sheraton São Paulo WTC Hotel in São Paulo, Brazil.
“Thank you – obrigado – Gilberto. And bom dia, everyone. People from every corner of the globe are at this summit. But the world-renowned hospitality of our Brazilian hosts makes us all feel like paulistas. Who knows, we’ll probably all be doing the samba before the week is up. And of course, we’ll all want to be back for the World Cup three years from now. My term of office will be up; I’ll have lots of time on my hands. Perhaps I’ll stay for the whole tournament.
“This is truly one of the world’s great cities. And São Paulo’s story is, in many respects, similar to that of my own city of New York. Both our cities began as small colonial outposts in the New World. Just like São Paulo, New York has, over the centuries, been a magnet for immigrants from the world over. Today, both Sao Paulo and New York are known as ‘the city that never sleeps.’
“With all the work we have ahead of us, by the end of the week we may all feel like we’ve never slept. And the neighborhood this hotel is in is even called ‘New Brooklin.’ It all makes me feel right at home. Where’s the best bagel shop?
“But for all those similarities, there’s also this very significant difference between our cities. It took long centuries for New York to emerge as the great metropolis it has become today. São Paulo’s growth, on the other hand, has been far more explosive. Only 100 years ago, this city, now home to more than 11 million people, had a population of fewer than one million.
“We all sense that history is speeding up. What were once slow processes of social evolution are giving way to rapid revolutions in almost every area of human life. Nowhere is that truer than here in São Paulo, and in other cities around the world – cities where, because of their intense growth, more than half the people on Earth now live.
“Consider this: As recently as 1950, only one of the world’s metropolitan areas – that of my own New York – had a population of more than 10 million people. Today, there are 26 such mega-cities – 14 of them in Asia. And by the year 2025, there will be 17 cities with populations of 10 million or more people in India and China alone.
“This extraordinary urbanization in Asia, and in developing nations elsewhere, is a dramatic demographic upheaval: One with profound implications for the environment we inhabit now, and that we’ll pass on to our children. The intense burning of fossil fuels in the world’s cities – where 70 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are produced – not only contributes to climate change, it also clogs the streets, pollutes the air, and shortens the lives of their millions of residents. How we as mayors respond to these challenges will strongly determine the fate of the entire world, now and for decades to come.
“That brings us to the essential purpose of this biennial summit. Because of our shared experiences in leading the world’s great cities, and because, more than anyone else, we grasp the urgency of the challenges we now face, no one can do more to produce good outcomes for the world than we, the mayors of great cities, can.
“History now summons us to that duty – and we must answer its call. That sense of great responsibility, and also of immense possibility, must guide our work here in São Paulo.
“In our own home cities, we have clearly risen to the challenge. Each of us has already taken forceful and far-sighted actions to make our cities healthier, less congested, more energy-efficient, and more environmentally responsible. Our citizens are already reaping the benefits of cleaner air, lower energy costs, and longer and healthier lives.
“But the pace of urbanization is accelerating dramatically, all around the planet. And our response must become as rapid and as global. We can and must work together, more closely and productively. In the process, we will, I am confident, make C40 the world’s leading, and most indispensable, climate change organization.
“C40 is already widely recognized for our effectiveness. That’s a tribute to the achievements of its member cities, to the skill and hard work of its dedicated staff, and to the vision of a man who has played such a major part in C40’s emergence, and whom we’ll hear from this morning: former United States President Bill Clinton.
“For more than five years, C40 has benefited tremendously from a close working partnership with a major project of the Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Climate Initiative. Now we’ve deepened and strengthened that partnership. Today, CCI and C40 are integrated under a unified central management that reports to the C40 steering committee. This is the logical next step in carrying out the critical mission that CCI and C40 share. It’s going to give C40 a greater organizational capacity to meet the challenges we face.
“Those challenges are expanding in scope and increasing in urgency. And that’s why, since last year, when the steering committee named us the chair of C40, we’ve engaged in wide-ranging conversations with member cities about the organization’s future. The overarching message we’ve heard is that we must approach our work more rigorously, and more cooperatively, than ever before.
“That message is the basis of the two-year organizational strategy, approved by the C40 steering committee, that we presented at our meeting in Hong Kong last November. Its principal points are: strengthening C40’s organizational capacity and ability to work with other international organizations; reorganizing its programs into networks of cities; ensuring that city directors are fully supported by and integrated into the work of C40; making C40 a more visible and effective leader in urban sustainability; and broadening C40’s membership to better reflect not only the world’s great cities today, but what will be its great cities tomorrow.
“How we’ve set that strategy in motion – and the immediate benefits that will result from new and tremendously significant partnerships with other great world organizations that we’re about to announce. That’s the focus of our plenary sessions today. Let me summarize where we’re headed now.
“Our strategy for the future begins with gaining a better understanding of where, in fact, we stand today. In public health, that’s called establishing ‘baseline data.’ It’s a practice well worth employing in our work, too. Because while many academic studies have ranked the world’s cities on the size of our carbon footprints, none has made a systematic assessment of what we’re doing, or can do, to ‘go green.’
“None, that is, until now. At our request, over the past several months, the global, independent consultant firm Arup has worked with C40 cities on just such a comprehensive review. It was a process that began by asking cities: What have you done concerning climate change in the past five years, since C40 was founded? What are you doing right now? And, very importantly, what governmental powers do you have in key areas that impact climate in cities?
“Yesterday, we published the results, in our Climate Action in Megacities report. Two essential lessons leap off the pages of this first-ever study.
“First, we’ve already done an astonishing amount. We found that C40 cities have implemented more than 4,700 policies and procedures related to climate change, and another 1,500 or so are being implemented now. Some actions are quite comprehensive. Many others are seemingly more modest, although, as mayors, we all recognize that large victories almost always result from many small steps. They all demonstrate the powerful impact C40 has already had.
“Second, we also found that there’s a great deal more that we can do, particularly where, as mayors, we exercise the broadest powers: in transportation; solid waste management; and in our authority over the public and private buildings in our cities.
“What, in fact, this study gives us is a systemic way of thinking about where and how our cooperative efforts can do the most good. In Hong Kong, we said that precisely such strategic collaborations would be a top priority over the next two years. Now, we’ve got a guidebook for making them happen.
“At the same time, we need to apply new levels of rigor and uniformity to gauging how cities produce, or limit, greenhouse gas emissions. You know, because I had a previous long career in business, people often ask me to describe the difference between management in the public and private sectors. And I tell them, in business, it’s dog eat dog. But in government, it’s just the other way around. I’ll wait for the translators to work that one out.
“In fact, in both government and business, one thing is fundamental: If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. And until now, neither the C40 cities – nor anyone else – has applied a standard metric to how cities produce greenhouse gases, or how we mitigate their effects. We need better measurement in order to do better management.
“That’s why we sought help from the Carbon Disclosure Project, a non-profit organization that’s a global leader in public and private sector climate change reporting. Their findings – the result of extensive work with C40 cities, and which we also released yesterday – not only show the high level of seriousness with which our cities treat climate change, it also for the first time systematically sets out how we measure our carbon footprints, and also how we’re working to reduce them.
“Now, I’ve just spent quite a bit of time talking about measuring and managing data. The reason for that is simple. When it comes to the grave environmental questions that we confront, the stakes are simply too high to permit confusion about the facts to cloud or impede our responses. So the greater clarity and precision we’re now bringing to measuring our work will, in turn, greatly enhance our management of that work.
“And now I’m pleased to announce the first fruits of that effort – the first direct and tangible benefits to C40 cities, especially cities in developing nations. Those benefits are technical and financial.
“Today, there’s growing interest in – and also increasing capital available for – investment in ‘green’ projects in the world’s cities. But before it can take place, substantial obstacles have to be overcome. Too often, the daily grind of government keeps cities from developing the technical proficiency required to apply for and administer complex climate change grants. And because until now there’s been a lack of clarity and uniformity in how cities measure the scope of the problems we face, or the results we’re achieving, investors have understandably lacked the confidence they need before making major commitments of capital.
“Today, we’re taking a giant step toward solving those problems. And we’re doing that in partnership with a global organization of unparalleled resources and expertise, one that brings passion and professionalism to bear on raising living standards throughout the developing nations of the Earth: The World Bank.
“Today we’re honored to be joined by Robert Zoellick, the president of the World Bank. I’m about to invite him to describe their exciting new partnership with C40 in greater detail. Then we’ll sign a memorandum of understanding launching it.
“At this point, let me simply say this. This new partnership creates a tremendous opportunity for C40 cities to obtain vastly greater technical and financial support from all the public and private arms of the World Bank. It’s going to go a long way toward leveraging private capital, too. It’s being made possible by C40’s commitment to standardizing how we report on the climate change plans in our cities.
“To ensure that, we’re creating a new template to account for our efforts. It’s been developed in cooperation with the World Bank and other organizations, including our partners in representing the world’s cities: ICLEI, Local Governments for Sustainability.
“Our new partnership with the World Bank is historic for another reason, too: It’s a landmark recognition of the leadership the world’s great cities are taking to meet the challenges of climate change.
“It’s very fitting that such recognition come here, in Brazil, because it was 19 years ago this month that representatives of more than 170 nations gathered at the UN’s pioneering Earth Summit in another great Brazilian city, Rio de Janeiro. That meeting brought the world’s attention to the need for concerted action to clean our air and water, reduce congestion in cities and limit the emission of greenhouse gases.
“Since then, there have, all too regrettably, been detours and delays in realizing those goals. Progress has not been nearly as swift as hoped. Nevertheless, the call to action sounded at Rio still rings loudly in the streets of our home cities, and in cities across the globe. Even as action at the national and international levels has faltered, the world’s cities have forged ahead. The reason for that is clear: As mayors – the great pragmatists on the world’s stage – we don’t have the luxury of simply talking about change but not delivering it.
“My predecessor as C40’s chair, former Toronto Mayor David Miller, has put it very well: ‘Nations talk; cities act.’ Today, representing the great cities of the world, we’re broadening the scope and accelerating the pace of our action.
“Our new agreement with the World Bank is key to that effort. It’s also emblematic of the energy and vision Robert Zoellick has brought to fulfilling the World Bank’s mission: building a better world through cooperative international economic development.
“So without further ado, let me ask you to please welcome the president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick.”
(World Bank President Robert Zoellick speaks.)
“Thank you, Bob. With this new partnership, C40 and the World Bank will, I am confident, bring new hope to people across the globe – especially to the world’s newest and often poorest city dwellers, who will suffer the gravest consequences if we don’t act.
“Now it’s my privilege to turn the podium over to someone who knows quite a bit about the subject of hope. It is, famously, the name of the town where he was born. And today, the programs of his foundation are bringing greater hope and opportunity to people throughout the world. He’s been an activist on climate change for many years. In fact, when he was the governor of Arkansas, some of his constituents found his enthusiasm for alternative fuel development a bit, let’s say, eccentric. But he was right then. And he’s right today. And it’s for that reason that I am delighted to give you: President Bill Clinton.”