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Global Climate Action Summit: Moving from advocacy to action

17 September 2018

Finding new ways cities can clean the air we breathe and build healthier, more resilient communities. This was the core objective of the “Cities4Climate: The Future is Us” event, taking place at San Francisco town hall, on 12 September.

This high-level event featured more than 300 global mayors, business leaders, changemakers, tech entrepreneurs and climate experts. They were all gathered for the same reason: to reduce carbon emissions and overcome climate change.

This objective of joining forces has a particular relevance as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has recognised that national commitments will only provide one-third of emissions reductions needed to stay below 2°C. Therefore placing towns, cities and regions at the center of decarbonisation strategies is vital.

Expressing his views, President of the Emilia Romagna region and of CEMR, Stefano Bonaccini highlighted: “The planet is saved only if we have the courage of dreams, dreams that become objectives. And our goal is to support the fastest possible transition to zero emission vehicles. State and regional governments are important players in this sense, and their constant collaboration is crucial. We are committed to promoting and encouraging the creation of a correct regulatory framework that facilitates and does not slow down the transition to a cleaner world”.

The Global Climate action summit is an extraordinary way to showcase the mobilisation of so many from all over the world”, stated CEMR Secretary General, Frédéric Vallier. “I am proud to be coordinating the representation of European local and regional leaders and to stand with 10 other mayors and presidents of regions. We are now moving from advocacy to action”.

But how can mayors and local leaders move inthis direction? Mayor of Cluj-Napoca, Emil Boc, outlined some concrete actions and measures taken by the city, one of the biggest in Romania. In particular, he put forward the introduction of new electric buses in the city’s current public transport system.The mayor hopes that, by 2025, the city’s whole public transport fleet will be environmentally friendly.

While showcasing ways to overcome climate change locally, CEMR Co-president and President of our Norwegian association (KS), Gunn-Marit Helgesen, said: “Cooperation between all levels of governance, business, industries and NGOs is the way forward”.

CEMR spokesperson on climate and Energy and Mayor of Seville, Juan Espadas added:  Acting locally remains the best pathway towards globally closing the emissions gap, but this is a task for all of us