Global cities unite in new coalition to fight climate change

22 Jun 16

Mayors from across the globe are to come together to fight climate change after the world’s largest coalition of cities committed to environmental leadership was launched today.

 

The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCMCE) was formed from the merger of two existing city-led climate change and energy initiatives. The new coalition now spans more than 7,100 cities from 119 countries and represents over 8% of the world’s population.

Michael Bloomberg, United Nations special envoy of the secretary-general for cities and climate change, who will co-chair the GCMCE, said the initiative is the first of its kind.

“Today, the world’s cities are uniting their efforts to fight climate change behind a single global organisation, something that has never before happened,” he stated.

“In unity there is strength, and this new GCMCE will accelerate the progress cities are making and magnify their influence on the global stage. This is a giant step forward in the work of achieving the goals that nations agreed to in Paris.”

Cities consume more than two-thirds of global energy and are forecast to soon hold more than two-thirds of the world’s population. They were also a key voice in shaping the historic climate change deal agreed by world leaders in Paris last December.

In a rapidly urbanising world, ensuring that cities develop sustainably will be critical to meeting the goals of the Paris agreement, protecting the world from catastrophic climate change. Many cities are already experiencing the negative consequences of changing weather patterns.

The GCMCE will be formed from a merger between the European Union Covenant of Mayors (EUCM), launched by the EU in 2008, and The Compact of Mayors (CoM), launched in 2014 by the UN.

Mayors from global city networks, including C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), will also join the coalitian.  

The EUCM’s signatories include more than 6,800 cities in 58 countries, hailing mainly from Europe but also spanning north Africa and central Asia, while CoM’s cities have a global reach.

It is hoped that by aligning city-led efforts across the world, the GCMCE will allow for greater collaboration and increased funding to support and empower city action, by harnessing the convening and investing power of its various parties including the EU, C40 and UCLG.

A GCMCE website, to be launched in January 2017, will collate data on participating cities’ energy and climate actions for comparison.

The European Commission said that combining the two initiatives will ensure data is more consistent and will streamline and consolidate efforts to capture the collective impact of city action, building greater momentum for locally-led climate initiatives.

“A single coalition will also simplify city participation, freeing cities to focus on a single commitment with both local relevance and global impact,” it added.

Commission vice president Maroš Šefčovič said the success of the EUCM is testament to the GCMCE’s potential.

“The EUCM shows that when mayors share a vision of a low-carbon future and roll up their sleeves, things get done. Bottom-up and close to citizens; that is the strength of the EUCM.

“As of today, this will become the strength of the GCMCE, a coalition that is truly unique on the global scene. Never before have so many cities joined forces, eager to inspire each other and committed to collectively taking the path to a low-carbon, resilient society.”

  • Emma Rumney

    Emma is a reporter at Cooking Recipes International. She also writes for in the UK.

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