Mayors ink global carbon-cutting deal

Mexico City Pact commits 135 global cities to deliver low carbon action plans

Officials from over 135 of the world’s largest cities yesterday signed up to a wide-ranging climate change agreement at a summit in Mexico City, fuelling hopes that their national counterparts may be able to deliver similar progress at the UN’s upcoming climate change talks in Cancun.

The Mexico City Pact requires signatories to formally adopt climate action plans, develop mechanisms for recording greenhouse gas emissions, and adopt legislation that helps to curb emissions. Cities are also required to publically report on their progress each year to the Carbon Cities Climate Registry (CCCR) at the Bonn Centre for Local Climate Action and Reporting.

Many of the world’s largest cities signed up to the agreement, Buenos Aires, Bogota, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Paris and Vancouver to name but a few.

Marcelo Ebrard, Mayor of the Mexico City and chair of the World Mayors Council on Climate Change, who hosted the third conference of the United Cities and Local Governments, kicked off the agreement last week with a pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the badly polluted Mexican capital by around 14 per cent.

“With more than half the world’s population today living in cities for the first time in human history, mayors and urban leaders are on the frontline of the planet’s fight against a changing climate,” said Ebrard, arguing that as a result the upcoming international negotiations in Cancun should aim to deliver much needed financing for climate change projects direct to city governments.

“Funding is a critical component to ensure that cities around the world have the financial resources to implement their climate action plans,” he said. “Mayors believe that if financial resources become available through transfers from developed to developing countries, a significant portion of these monies should be passed through to cities and local governments to implement local climate programs.”

The pact was welcomed by the UN’s top climate change official, Christiana Figueres, who hailed the agreement as a positive example of co-operation for diplomats ahead of the start next week of the Cancun Climate Summit.

The agreement follows the launch last week of a separate climate initiative for city and regional governments led by out-going California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Dubbed the R20 group and loosely modeled on the G20 group of nations, Schwarzenegger said the group would aim to pioneer best practices for low carbon development and fast track funding for regional-level low carbon projects.

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