Global mayors compact shows unity and ambition to tackle climate change


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the launch of a global Compact of Mayors, the world’s largest effort for cities to fight climate change.

New York, 23 September 2014: ​​United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the launch of a global Compact of Mayors, the world’s largest effort for cities to fight climate change. The Compact will enable cities to publically commit to deep GHG emissions reductions; make existing targets and plans public; and report on their progress annually, using a newly-standardized measurement system that is compatible with international practices.

Through this effort, cities will be choosing to meet the same requirements proposed for the international climate negotiations that will lead to a global climate treaty in 2015.

“Today, by taking on the same rigorous, transparent approach to measuring and managing their climate action plans as nations, cities are demonstrating their determination to lead on this critical issue,” Special Envoy Bloomberg said. “Cities are drivers of progress and innovation, and by taking this step, they can help nations set new, necessary, and aggressive GHG targets over the next year.” 

Announced at the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit, the key partners of the Compact of Mayors are the world’s preeminent global city networks, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) and the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) with support from the UN’s lead agency on urban issues UN-Habitat.

New research by the parties to the compact, along with research partner Arup, indicates that existing city commitments alone could reduce annual emissions by 454 Megatons CO2e in 2020 — a total of 13 Gigatons CO2e by 2050.

“Cities are economic and population hubs, making them critical actors in the fight against climate change,” said Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Councillor Mpho Parks Tau, a member of C40’s Steering Committee. “The C40 network alone represents more than 500 million people around the world. Together with our partners, our collective efforts to encourage cities to sign onto the compact will help them to set more ambitious climate targets and take action the ground. That is the power of cities.”

The Compact will help regions, nations and financial institutions better understand the potential impact of local climate actions, and where they can offer support, such as funding much-needed mass transit systems or energy-efficiency measures. 

“The Compact is more than a new political commitment.  It is an additional locomotive to speed up and scale up transformational climate actions that the world urgently needs right now”, said Juergen Nimptsch, Mayor of Bonn and a leader in ICLEI mayors network.   “ICLEI’s network of cities is already pledging 40, 70, 100 percent GHG emissions reductions by 2050. We hope to inspire other cities to do the same and invite them to join the Compact to further accelerate these efforts.”

Under the Compact, local emissions data will be collected through existing city platforms, including partner platform CDP Cities, and will be made publically available through ICLEI’s platform, the carbonn Climate Registry. Together, city networks will engage thousands of cities to join the Compact of Mayors and to register their GHG inventories, climate adaptation and mitigation plans and targets. The Compact also supports a new consistent method for collecting and publishing city-level greenhouse gas data – the Global Protocol on Community-scale GHG Emissions (GPC).  Cities reporting through the Compact will be using the GPC to ensure the consistency, credibility and quality of their local emissions data.

“Addressing climate change entails making our cities more knowledgeable about their own consumption and resilience. The Compact will contribute to that,” said Mayor Kadir Topbaş of Istanbul and President of UCLG.

“For climate action by cities to truly count, cities need to move ever closer to coordinate on matters such as the reporting of GHG emissions. The Compact of Mayors represents an important step forward in building consensus among cities on how to achieve this,” Dr. Joan Clos, UN-Habitat Executive Director.

A powerful symbol of unity among the world’s cities, the Compact is not just a huge step forward for cities, but also for nations. Importantly, it not only demonstrates cities’ commitment to helping nations set more ambitious, transparent and credible climate targets, but also will encourage nations to recognize local commitments; establish better policies; and direct resources to cities to limit any further increase in global warming. 

The Mayors’ Compact is just one initiative launched today that drives home the major role cities are already playing in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and fighting climate change.  Other city-based initiatives launched at the Summit today included two new initiatives from national governments and the private sector to help cities finance investments in sustainability – the City Climate Finance Leadership Alliance and the City Creditworthiness Partnership.