Can 640 Million People Be Wrong?

Can 640 million people be wrong? As we know from history, yes. But today we have 640 million citizens of more than 80 megacities leading the way in creating local climate solutions — all of them members of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, with economies collectively equivalent to that of the U.S. and India combined. Today’s citizens want thriving, liveable cities; and they’re demanding and supporting action from their mayors.

As the United Nations has launched a landmark new framework for sustainable development, including an urban goal for which I have long been a champion, elected mayors worldwide are leading the way in taking climate action, showing unity and ambition in the lead up to the Paris Climate Conference. And in Paris we will be part of a massive gathering of city leaders, hosted by the Mayor of Paris, my good friend Anne Hidalgo.

Recently, U.S. and Chinese mayors stood shoulder to shoulder at a climate summit in Los Angeles, where C40 announced two new Chinese city members, Guangzhou and Nanjing. Who would have thought 10 years ago when C40 was founded that, tired of waiting, big cities in the U.S. and China are now driving national cooperation on this issue? The fact is, cities are making a major contribution toward a global climate solution, and are leading the way for, hopefully, equally ambitious national commitments.

As megacities continue to grow, we face the very present issues of congestion, poor air quality and pollution. We also face the impacts of climate change — such as heat waves, drought and flooding. I am proud that Rio demonstrated a strong and transparent climate plan — becoming the first city to have met all the requirements for the Compact of Mayors. We know that when cities set targets, they are three times more likely —> Read More