Statements by Michael R. Bloomberg, C40 President of the Board, Co-Chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors, and U.N. Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change and Mayor Anne Hidalgo, C40 Chair, Global Covenant of Mayors Board Member and Mayor of Paris
Today in Paris, Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor Hidalgo met with French President Francois Hollande to discuss the progress cities are making on climate change, including in the United States. President Hollande’s leadership has been crucial in securing the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in which all nations were brought for the first time into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change.
“I communicated to President Hollande that American cities, states and businesses will deliver the U.S. commitment to the Paris Agreement,” said Mr. Bloomberg. “Mayor Hidalgo and I discussed with President Hollande the resolve of cities around the world to accelerate progress and fulfill the diplomatic commitments their nations made – even as the global political winds have shifted over the past year. In the U.S., action by state and local governments and businesses has replaced half the country’s coal-fired power production with cleaner forms of energy and put the country on an irreversible path to meet our Paris commitment — irrespective of future national policies.”
Analysis by the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, shows that U.S. coal retirements and new clean energy through 2025 will reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by at least 437 million metric tons. This is equivalent to 60% of the gap between the U.S. pledge under the Paris Agreement and the economy-wide emissions in 2025 projected by the U.S. government in its 2016 biennial submission to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Additional actions already underway by leading U.S. cities, states and businesses, will close the rest of the gap. According to C40 analysis, actions taking place in the 12 C40 cities alone can deliver up to 131 million metric tons of CO2 savings by 2025.
“The global organization I lead on behalf of mayors and climate change, C40, includes 90 cities representing 650 million people and a quarter of the global economy,” said Mayor Hidalgo. “Cities around the world remain strongly committed to the Paris agreement. The reason is simple: mayors in France, in the U.S. and around the world know the same steps that reduce carbon emissions also clean the air, strengthen the economy, and improve lives. The more cities work together, the faster they will make progress, and we urge mayors around the world to join our coalition.”
In addition, the 12 U.S. C40 mayors have reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement. To recognize the extraordinary leadership and innovation of U.S. cities, C40 also announced today a section of the 2017 C40 Bloomberg Cities Awards will be open to all American cities, regardless of size, for the first time.
Further, mayors from 14 U.S. cities released the following statements:
Atlanta —Mayor Kasim Reed
“As the only U.S. Mayor on the Board of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, I stand with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor Anne Hidalgo in demonstrating U.S. cities’ unwavering commitment to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“For the past seven years, my Administration has worked to build a better, more sustainable city that is ready to compete in the 21st century economy.
“Given that more than 50 percent of the world’s population and 70 percent of the world’s GDP stems from cities, cities are critical to tackling the tough issues associated with a warming climate. And – through the power of strong public-private partnerships like 100 Resilient Cities, the Global Covenant of Mayors and the Mayor’s National Climate Action Agenda, cities are already leading and showing results.
“The City of Atlanta leads the nation in square footage of commercial building space committed to energy efficiency through the Better Buildings Challenge. We passed the first benchmarking and auditing ordinance in the country to include both energy and water efficiency measures for commercial and municipal buildings. In addition, we deployed electric vehicles in the City’s fleet and installed solar panels on municipal facilities. Local actions like these show that cities are where hope meets the street.
“We are engaging in the tough but necessary work to pioneer a cleaner path forward. In such a connected and economically competitive world, it is up to cities now to work together to push ahead. We won’t slow down, and we won’t change course.”
Austin – Mayor Steve Adler
“Austin will not stop fighting climate change. Worldwide, cities will lead in achieving climate treaty goals because so much of what’s required happens at the local level. Regardless of what happens around us, we’re still Austin, Texas.”
Boston – Mayor Martin J. Walsh
“Alongside Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor Anne Hidalgo, I am reaffirming my pledge to work with local leaders to support the Paris Agreement. To compete in a 21st century economy, cities across the country must proactively prepare and reverse the course of our changing climate to safeguard our future. That’s why I joined C40 Cities and the Global Covenant of Mayors to partner with cities around the world, and that’s why Boston will continue to reduce emissions, measure our progress and build a city of the future.”
Chicago – Mayor Rahm Emanuel
“I remain committed to improving the quality of life in our city today and building a vibrant, healthier and stronger Chicago for the future. Last month I released our most recent emissions report showing a 7% decline in Chicago’s carbon footprint while we grow our population and jobs. Efforts like Retrofit Chicago, the expansion of recycling programs, and moving Chicago away from coal improve our environment and our economy at the same time. From C40 Cities and the Global Covenant of Mayors are making contributions to global climate progress, and we must continue to be the leaders on climate change the world needs. That’s why I’m standing today with Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor Anne Hidalgo and reaffirming Chicago’s commitment to the Paris climate accords. We will continue to take bold action locally to reduce our emissions and combat climate change, and to urge Mayors and leaders across the country to do the same.”
Houston – Mayor Sylvester Turner
“For too long, Houston has seen the devastating impacts of climate change, from severe flooding to historic droughts. But Houston is resilient and our city is working harder than ever to build a sustainable economy and future that will shield our community from a changing climate. With hundreds of miles of bike networks, increased energy efficiency in homes and renewable energy sources in city buildings, we’re working with every citizen in Houston to do our part and show our collective commitment to action. And as a mayor committed to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, today I stand with Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor Anne Hidalgo to do my part on behalf of Houston and ensure that our climate and economic future is protected.”
Los Angeles – Mayor Eric Garcetti
“We will do all we can in Los Angeles to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, regardless of what happens in Washington. And we are already doing our part: we have the largest municipal fleet of pure electric vehicles in the country, we have installed the most publicly available EV charging stations, and as of 2013 we had reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 20% since 1990 — all while creating 20,000 green jobs.
Our City stands together in the fight against climate change. Last November, voters overwhelmingly approved a $120 billion investment in public transit, including light rail, subways, bike lanes, and other measures that will drive down emissions.
And across the United States, 75 mayors are now part of the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda that I co-founded. Recently, 29 of these ‘climate mayors’ joined me in releasing an electric vehicle request for information to automakers, showing that cities acting together can create demand and transform the market to lower emissions, gas bills, and maintenance costs. As vice-chair of C40, I am also proud of the work we are doing with my fellow mayors around the globe, including the Global Covenant of Mayors.”
New Orleans – Mayor Mitch Landrieu
“The City of New Orleans is on the frontlines of climate change and no matter who holds office in Washington, D.C., that fact will not change. Reports of the U.S. pulling out of the Paris Agreement are deeply troubling to our community, and that is why as a Mayor committed to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and a member of C40 Cities, I’m joining Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor Anne Hidalgo to protect our climate progress and ensure its success. It would be an abdication of our commitment to protect and strengthen our communities to do anything less than shield our citizens from the devastating impacts of a changing climate that New Orleans knows all too well. As U.S. cities, we stand committed to joining fellow mayors and national leaders on the global stage to let the world know that we are ready to get the job done.”
Oakland – Mayor Libby Schaaf
“Cities across the country are increasingly becoming hubs of change through innovative climate action. As part of the Global Covenant of Mayors, Oakland is locally driving emission reductions – in coordination with over 7,100 cities around the globe – to achieve a global impact. Meanwhile, like so many committed communities in the U.S. and around the world, our work is only just beginning. As we continue to push forward on progress, today I’m proud to stand with Michael Bloomberg and Mayor Anne Hidalgo to show the strength of U.S. cities on climate change. The fight is now up to us – and we are fully committed to winning.”
Phoenix — Mayor Greg Stanton
“Phoenix will continue to show how swift and ambitious action at the local level, combined with committed partners around the globe, can advance climate progress. In Phoenix, we can’t afford to wait, and we know that our best defense is offense. We are implementing a comprehensive transportation plan to triple our light rail and expand biking, and an aggressive plan to become a zero-waste, carbon neutral city by 2050, and we’re just getting started. Our economic vitality and sustainable future depends on action against a fiercely changing climate. If we are going to make a global-scale impact, then cities must lead to ensure a successful implementation of the Paris Agreement.”
Pittsburgh – Mayor William Peduto
“Pittsburgh is a leader in engaging our entire community to commit to strategies that will advance our progress on reducing carbon emissions. Our focus on improving air quality, strengthening our economy, and building a future to last is driving our city’s path forward. Regardless of the vision at the national level on climate change, Pittsburgh will continue on our path. And we’re not alone. We’re joining Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor Anne Hidalgo today, and the thousands cities of the Global Covenant of Mayors to send a clear message: in the face of uncertainty, Pittsburgh and cities across the U.S. will not stop moving forward.”
Portland — Mayor Ted Wheeler
“Portland is proud to be a pioneer in climate action in the United States. In 1993, we developed the first U.S. city-focused action plan to reduce carbon emissions and we haven’t looked back. No matter which way the winds are blowing in Washington, Portland has always continued to innovate and implement ambitious new policies to achieve a low-carbon future. Now our climate leadership is needed more than ever. As a Mayor committed to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and a member of C40 Cities, I stand with Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor Anne Hidalgo and cities around the world working to demonstrate the power of local action to meet the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement. We can do more and do it faster when we stand together and U.S. cities stand ready to continue to pursue ambitious actions to ensure the health and economic vitality of our communities.”
San Francisco — Mayor Ed Lee
“In the face of national uncertainty, San Francisco is more committed than ever to providing real solutions to climate change,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “We know that San Francisco and other cities worldwide must continue to lead by taking bold actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That is why I’m standing with Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor Anne Hidalgo, as part of the Global Covenant of Mayors. We can prove that collective action will help lead us to a more sustainable future.”
Seattle – Mayor Ed Murray
“The United States is facing a watershed moment on climate change. In Seattle, we’re committed to being environmental stewards and guardians of our climate progress. By targeting our largest source of greenhouse gas emissions–transportation– and working to curb these emissions by 80% by 2030, Seattle is committed to our ambitious vision of building a vibrant and sustainable city. Today, we’re joining fellow climate leaders, Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor Anne Hidalgo, to showcase how U.S. cities are strengthening our actions and are committed to leading on climate change. To protect our climate progress, we’re delivering boldly on the goals set by the Paris Agreement because now, the future is in our hands.”
Washington, D.C.—Mayor Muriel Bowser
“The tides may have turned in Washington, D.C., but one election does not change our values or commitments. As mayors, our work to strengthen and protect our communities from the rising impacts of climate change must continue and that commitment matters. In Washington, D.C., we are taking aggressive action to reduce emissions 80% by 2050 by improving the efficiency of our buildings, switching to clean renewable energy and expanding sustainable transportation options. If all U.S. mayors come together to pursue rapid emissions reductions within our cities, by 2025 we can contribute more than one third of the emissions reductions needed to meet the U.S.’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. That’s why as a mayor committed to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and as a member of C40 Cities, I stand with Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor Anne Hidalgo ready to protect our climate progress and ensure the Agreement’s success.”
Since the U.S. Presidential Elections in November 2016, cities have implemented major policies and projects to cut their emissions and deliver on the promise of the Paris Agreement. Chicago successfully cut its greenhouse gas emissions 7% between 2010 and 2015, while increasing the region’s economy more than 12%. San Francisco has introduced new legislation requiring all new buildings to be 100% “electric vehicle ready”. On the same day as the Presidential elections, citizens of Los Angeles voted to increase their taxation to fund a major overhaul of the city’s sustainable public transit system.
C40’s research, How U.S. Cities Will Get the Job Done, found that the 12 U.S. cities that are members of the C40 network have already taken nearly 2,400 individual actions to respond to climate change in the past decade.