16 July 2017 — The majority of the world’s richest nations recognise the urgency of the climate change crisis and are ready to act
In the days leading up to G20 Summit in Hamburg, 52 mayors of many of the world’s great cities, representing 275 million citizens released a statement that asked G20 leaders: “Are you ready to save the planet?” Their call for action on climate change was supported by a petition signed by more than 50,000 people around the world.
On behalf of C40, a network of 91 global cities committed to action on climate change, we are grateful that 19 out of the G20 leaders have listened to our calls and recognise that the Paris Agreement is “irreversible”. The statements made by Chancellor Merkel, President Macron, Prime Minister May, President Xi and many others in Hamburg, show that the majority of the world’s richest nations recognise the urgency of the climate change crisis and are ready to act.
In light of the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, it is not surprising that President Trump finds himself utterly isolated on the issue of climate change. U.S. negotiators may have succeeded in inserting a reference to fossil fuels in the final G20 communique but the global shift towards renewable energy sources and sustainable growth cannot be turned back.
C40’s Deadline 2020 report makes clear the urgency of the climate crisis. Which is why the mayors of the world’s great cities are already delivering urgent action to tackle climate change. Many C40 cities around the world, including several U.S. cities, have committed to 100 percent renewable energy targets. Mayors recognise that the long term prosperity of their cities cannot be based on burning fossil fuels. The days of the internal combustion engine are running out and fossil fuel free streets are now the future of our cities.
We are working with businesses, state and regional governments, civil society and investors to realise the ambition of the Paris Agreement. Just this week, Governor of California Jerry Brown announced he will convene all of these groups at a Global Climate Action Summit in 2018. We are embarking on an age of unique collective action, that we look forward to bringing to the next G20 meeting in Argentina next year. We know what needs to be done to serve our citizens and make our cities healthier, happier and more prosperous. We are ready to save the planet, and with the support of the G19 leaders our progress cannot be stopped.
*Anne Hidalgo, Thomson Reuters Foundation