Newly elected C40 Chair, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, alongside the mayors of cities worldwide including Copenhagen, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney and Tokyo, today announced their support for a Global Green New Deal and recognized a global climate emergency.
The broad coalition – including youth climate activists, and representatives from labour, business and civil society – announced their support for the Global Green New Deal vision as mayors of the world’s largest cities warned that the planet is in a state of climate emergency. The message was issued by city leaders attending the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen. Their call came in response to intergovernmental action being blocked by a minority of very powerful, science-denying governments, representing the interests of the fossil-fuel industry.
Through the Global Green New Deal, cities have reaffirmed their commitment to protecting our environment, strengthening our economy, and building a more equitable future by cutting emissions from the sectors most responsible for the climate crisis — transportation, buildings, industry, and waste — to keep global heating below the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.
This includes putting inclusive climate action at the center of all urban decision-making to secure a just transition for those working in high-carbon industries and correct long-running environmental injustices for those disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis – people living in the global south generally, and the poorest communities everywhere.
Avoiding the worst impacts of the climate crisis means cutting global emissions in half by 2030. In practical terms that means improving mobility while replacing polluting fossil fuel powered vehicles with clean alternatives; setting the strictest possible building codes and reducing waste, amongst other actions. Policies already being delivered in cities around the world, thanks to the commitment of mayors to the C40 Net Zero Carbon Buildings, Advancing Towards Zero Waste, and Green & Healthy Streets Declarations.
Keeping temperature rise to within the limits deemed safe by the overwhelming scientific evidence means not only cutting emissions, but also reducing the carbon already released into our planet’s atmosphere. Even standing still isn’t good enough.
The Global Green New Deal was immediately endorsed by those also committed to the level of action determined by science – including business leaders, investors, the labour movement, civil society, indigenous groups, informal settlement representatives and groups disproportionately impacted by climate change and poverty. Mayors Garcetti, Hidalgo and Jensen issued a clear challenge to national leaders, CEO’s and investors that haven’t yet matched the level of ambition detailed in the Global Green New Deal.
“As mayors our first priority is to protect the safety of our citizens,” said Mayor of Paris and C40 Chair, Anne Hidalgo. “It will soon be four years since the Paris Agreement was signed in our city. World leaders met in New York just last month and once again failed to agree anything close to the level of action necessary to stop the climate crisis. Their ineptitude directly threatens all people around the globe as time keeps running against us. There is no other solution but a Global Green New Deal to be the pivotal instrument to win this race against the clock. All decision-makers must take responsibility in making it a reality”.
“When it comes to climate action, no one is doing more than cities, but no one is doing enough,” said Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti. “We are entering a make-or-break decade for the preservation of our planet and environmental justice for every community — and I am proud to lead C40 cities at this critical moment. Together we will continue leading the drive to protect the world and promote a better, more equitable life for everyone living in it.”
Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Frank Jensen, said: “Copenhagen recognizes the climate emergency and commits to the Global Green New Deal because climate change is the greatest threat to security, public health and prosperity. We need to act now – and we need to act together. There is no need to hesitate: cities already have many of the green solutions needed.”
“As the need for bold climate action grows more urgent, mayors and cities are leading the way and getting results,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, C40 Board President, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action, and Mayor of New York City 2002-2013. “Together, C40 cities have taken thousands of successful actions to reduce carbon emissions, and they are proving how fighting climate change helps drive economic growth and improve public health. There is no time to waste.”
“Cities are where the climate battle will largely be won or lost,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. “At September’s Climate Action Summit at the United Nations, at least 70 countries and 100 cities agreed to enhance their national plans by 2020 – we must build on this momentum. Cities are at the heart of this race, and I congratulate the C40 on its leadership at this critical moment.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th Congressional District, said “I am inspired by this coalition and the commitments made for a global Green New Deal. If we work to join forces globally, we will be able to defeat our greatest threat and realize our greatest opportunity.”
New figures released ahead of the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen reveal that 30 cities have now peaked their emissions and are making rapid progress to bring them down to net-zero. More than 100 cities around the world are now committed to deliver climate action plans consistent with the 1.5°C global heating target.
The defining principles of the Global Green New Deal include:
- We recognise the global climate emergency.
- We are committed to keeping global heating below the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement by curbing emissions in the sectors that are the greatest contributors to the climate crisis: transportation, buildings, and waste. C40 cities are already cutting emissions at a rate consistent with the limits determined by science – which means peaking emissions by 2020, and halving them by 2030. Every business, individual, investor, partner, informal settlement representative and nation that forms part of Global Green New Deal will commit to similar science based targets.
- We are committed to putting inclusive climate action at the center of all urban decision-making, to create thriving and equitable communities for everyone. Our commitment includes protecting livelihoods, helping end poverty, improving lives, building more equitable societies and securing a just transition for those working in high-carbon industries. Climate delay is already having devastating consequences with the impact being felt most severely by those least responsible for the emissions causing the climate emergency. We will drive an urgent, fundamental and irreversible transfer of global resources away from fossil fuels and into action that averts the climate emergency, thereby building a green and fair ecological civilisation.
- We invite our partners – political leaders, CEOs, trade unions, investors, and civil society – to join us in recognising the global climate emergency and help us deliver on science-based action to overcome it. Business, governments, investors, labour, civil society, citizens, and communities disproportionately impacted by climate change and poverty will form the coalition necessary to tackle the climate crisis. We will work particularly closely with young people in our cities to help shape the sustainable future they want, providing a route from making their voice heard on the streets into shaping policies and projects in city government.
Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, was today announced as the Chair-Elect of C40 Cities, following a vote of the C40 Steering Committee of mayors from around the world.
Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala, said:
“As Mayor of Milan, I strongly support the Global Green New Deal, because it corresponds to the aspiration of my city to continue growing based on a development model that combines sustainability and inclusion. In Milan, the motion for the declaration of climate emergency by the City Council has further enhanced the engagement of citizens, students, schoolchildren, business and the third sector. I believe that, similarly, a powerful universal appeal such as the Global Green New Deal will help many city governments to bring together local stakeholders and team up to address the climate crisis jointly.”
Mayor of Stockholm, Anna König Jerlmyr, said:
“The Global Green New Deal sets the framing of how cities meet the urgency of the global climate crisis. Stockholm has reduced its CO2 emission by nearly 60% since 1990. Despite this fact, we are constantly looking for innovative solutions to step up our work together with businesses, civil society and citizens. I’m ready to take on the challenge. Together, cities will define the future we want.”
Mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, said:
“Philadelphia is proud to join with our peer cities to lead the way in recognizing the global climate emergency. We are not only implementing the important and necessary steps to meet the targets of the Paris Climate Accords, but we are rethinking how we live in the 21st Century,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “As we all know, and as the effects of climate change have shown, we cannot keep going down the same path. The Global Green New Deal reaffirms our commitment to taking bold climate action towards a healthier and more sustainable future.”
Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, said:
“Following more than a decade of committed climate action, the City of Sydney declared a climate emergency in June. We are calling on our Federal Government to move urgently to reintroduce a price on carbon so we can meet the emissions reduction targets outlined in the Paris Agreement, and establish a Just Transition Authority to ensure Australians employed in fossil fuel industries find good jobs in a green economy. Sydney is proud to support the Global Green New Deal announced today in Copenhagen and work with C40 Cities toward a future where all citizens can earn a living wage on a living planet. The impacts of the climate emergency will be felt by us all, but especially our most vulnerable, remote and marginalised communities, and those living in poverty. It is incumbent on all governments to rethink the way their economies work and offer greater social support while urgently acting to address the climate emergency.”
Mayor of Lisbon Fernando Medina, said:
“Lisbon recognized the urgency of climate action more than a decade ago, but the current global climate emergency requires faster and bolder action. Cities can have the most significant impact and that is why C40 cities are leading the Global Green New Deal, not only with our plans, but with our actions. We are the last generation that can accomplish the necessary change. We all need to commit to a low carbon way of life and we all need to commit with ourselves and with the planet.”
Mayor of Heidelberg, Prof. Dr. Eckart Würzner, said:
“As the Mayor of the City of Heidelberg I strongly support the Global Green New Deal of the C40 network. Cities all over the world recognize through movements like FFF, Scientist for Future, Parents for future or climate emergency announcements, that climate protection must be the leading motivation of all political action and dive in a new dimension. We as Mayors have the knowledge how to implement climate projects on local level since many years. We listen to our citizens, we focus on accelerating measures and bring political decisions into action. We think global and act local. We need the support from all governmental levels, especially concerning legislation, subsidies, taxes and financial support for cities to implement big infrastructure projects for a sustainable future for our children.”
Mayor of Auckland Phil Goff, said, “I support Mayor Garcetti’s call for a Global Green New Deal and its recognition that the climate emergency we face is global in nature. We must work together—across national and international borders, as individuals, cities and nations—to overcome this challenge and ensure sustainable, just and habitable world for future generations.”
Mayor of Toronto, John Tory, said: “Toronto recognizes the urgency of the climate crisis and is committed to working with our residents and businesses to dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. It is clear that these changes make common sense and, ultimately, financial sense for cities, other governments, public institutions, and the private sector. The low-carbon transformation of key sectors is well underway and is creating jobs and improving prosperity for Torontonians.”
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The stark reality is we are running out of time to stop the worst impacts of Climate Change. Cities around the world are united in our frustration over a lack of global government action and I am pleased to join my fellow mayors in calling for a Global Green New Deal. In London we are leading the way in investing in the green economy, decarbonising our buildings and delivering green jobs, with people employed in the low-carbon goods sector in London increasing by 58 per cent over the last 10 years. We now need governments to match this ambition and adopt the Global Green New Deal principles to create more jobs and deliver the changes needed to infrastructure for a zero-carbon world.”
Mayor of Portland Ted Wheeler, said:
“We are convening in Copenhagen on the heels of the Global Climate Strike. The next generation is uniting to tell us that they want more than just lip service and that we need to act with urgency, and we hear them,” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said. “I am proud to be part of C40 to connect with other Mayors to address the root causes and symptoms of this global climate emergency. In Portland, we have an example of what that can look like in the community-led Portland Clean Energy Fund, which offers a vision for a “Green New Deal” at the local scale. Created by climate justice leaders, this initiative is a collaborative model between the community and the city that will drive investments towards energy efficiency, renewables, and other climate solutions.”
Mayor of Austin Steve Adler, said:
“Together, cities are leading the way on solutions to our global climate emergency,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “Mayors and other civic leaders represent a powerfully hopeful wave of action where it counts… in municipal planning, resource deployment and other policies that shape how people will live and thrive in a carbon neutral future.”
Mayor of Seattle Jenny Durkan, said:
“The global climate emergency is one of the gravest threats we face. The failure of the current American president to lead on our global climate crisis means that cities must act boldly,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. “Cities like Seattle will continue to lead the world in our fight against climate change and our fight for solutions that advance equity, health, and prosperity for all. As we advance our own Green New Deal in Seattle, we will continue to create more green buildings, provide free transit to young people and our low-income neighbors, electrify our vehicles and buses, and create a city with fewer cars and more safe routes for walking, biking, and rolling.”
Mayor of Montréal Valérie Plante, said:
”In the climate emergency the only possible response is to act. The intensity and frequency of some climatic various will increase and Montreal is ready to respond with bold action. Alongside other cities, we have committed to the One Planet Charter, Deadline 2020, the Compact of Mayors and the declaration of the Summit of municipal leaders in Paris 2015. By recognizing the climate emergency and by committing to going carbon neutral by 2050, Montreal has put the fight against climate change at the heart of our commitments.”
Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio, said:
“Mayors know we can’t wait to address the global climate crisis. That’s why we are taking action in New York, where we are meeting the crisis head-on with our own Green New Deal and building a fairer city for all. We are the first city in the world to require energy efficiency retrofits and we’re pledging to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and divesting our pensions from fossil fuel companies. New York City is where we’ll prove the Green New Deal can be a reality.”
Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Marcelo Crivella, “The city of Rio de Janeiro embraces the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. As a partner of the C40, Rio is fully identified with the Global Green New Deal proposal and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, especially in urban mobility.”
Mayor of São Paulo Bruno Covas, said: “Climate emergency is an agenda that must be recognized for all and cities have a great role to play in fighting climate change. Assuming our responsibilities is a commitment that we have with the present and future generations”.
Governing Mayor of Berlin Michael Müller, said: When it comes to climate protection, the cities play a vital role in shaping a livable future for our planet. The biggest environmental challenges can only be overcome if we keep our focus on social justice and do not lose sight of the economic perspective. As a result, Berlin’s Energy and Climate Protection Program includes creating more affordable and energy-efficient housing, making public transportation even more attractive and inexpensive, and creating jobs by investing in renewable energy.”
Mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyannis, said: “In Athens, we already feel the impacts of climate change facing extreme heat waves while the number of people affected by energy poverty and insecurity increases. Our decisions and actions are guided by the need to improve our citizens’ quality of life and to create a sustainable, safer and greener city; this is the future we want for our children. To implement effective climate action we need to work with all stakeholders but, most importantly, to have the citizens on our side, explaining that no-one will be excluded and everyone is benefited. This is Athens Green New Deal and we are determined to continue closely working with C40 cities to achieve our common goals.”
Vice Mayor of Madrid Begoña Villacís, said: “Climate change threatens the way we live, the goods we produce and the environment that protects us. Our citizens and future generations will judge us based on the efforts we make and the actions we are able to implement in time, already now, to fight climate change and mitigate its negative impacts on our cities. We fully support the principles of the Global Green New Deal as they set the required ambitious vision and call for effective action towards our shared aim of a green, sustainable and carbon-free future”.
Governing Mayor of Oslo, Raymond Johansen, said:
“Our planet is in a state of a climate and nature crisis. People are deprived of their livelihoods because of dangerous climate change. Our planet’s biodiversity, which all life depends on, is threatened by human interventions and a warmer climate. Curbing emissions and reducing species loss are the greatest challenges of our time. In Oslo, we have declared a climate and nature crisis, and we aim to transform Oslo into a zero-emitting city by 2030. Now is the right time to act on climate and to protect nature and biodiversity.”
Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, said:
“Global climate emergency represents one of the most complex and urgent challenges cities face. It is about what model of growth we want, not for tomorrow, but for the next decades. Barcelona is determined to apply a” New Green Deal “, a green revolution to reconstruct the metropolitan city. We do it by placing the lives of children and the most vulnerable people in the centre. With a green plan for the city based on a change of urban and economic model and from the capacity for action of a brave city that confronts the speculative economy that has taken us here. We need an international alliance of cities. The days are over for diagnoses and declarations without commitment: we need to act.”
Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam, Marieke van Doorninck, said:
“Amsterdam is the first Dutch municipality to recognise the climate crisis. We are fully committed to the energy transition and the recycling of resources. We are therefore choosing to create gas-free neighbourhoods, eco-friendlier ways of generating electricity and heating, drastic energy savings and zero-emission traffic. We will prevent waste and the loss of resources by creating closed circuits as much as possible. Several initiatives are undertaken to ensure Amsterdam plays her, such as the development of the Roadmap Amsterdam Climate Neutral 2050, the development of a new Circular Strategy by the end of 2019 and measures for Zero Emission Mobility.”
Jamie Margolin, Zero Hour Founder & Co-Executive Director, said: “This era is for everyone. It is not just for the United States, it is not even about a specific piece of legislation, it is about a global change of values, ideals, and ways of relating to each other and the earth. What we need worldwide is more than sustainability, because we cannot sustain the destruction we are causing to the earth, or the capitalism making our leaders dizzy with fantasies of endless economic growth that is simply not possible on our earth. We need the era of the green new deal, and it’s coming globally.”
Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group said: “The world has woken up to the climate crisis and we need urgent and immediate action to halve emissions in the next decade. We cannot afford to wait for national governments to act. Greater collaboration between businesses, cities, states and regions is needed. Already, our work with businesses shows that close to 300 multinationals representing a combined revenue of US$5.5 trillion, are now fueling demand for renewable power, electric transport, and smarter energy use in more than 140 markets worldwide through our initiatives.
“The Under2 Coalition of states and regions, for which we are Secretariat, has also been recognized as an international initiative with one of the highest potentials for emission reductions. Together they are shifting markets, cutting emissions and helping to drive prosperity. It’s great to see C40 mayors driving the Global Green New Deal forward, and we look forward to working together towards a future where warming is limited to 1.5C and with greater prosperity for all.”
Stephen Cotton, General Secretary, International Transport Workers’ Federation, said: “We are in the midst of a climate emergency. Climate change disproportionately affects the poor, the young and the vulnerable. The threat is impossible to ignore for transport workers around the world. Beyond that, a Just Transition – with people at the centre and workers and their unions at the negotiating table – is now seen as a huge opportunity for creating good jobs, eliminating poverty, enriching employment and cementing decent work in urban transport.
“There are no jobs on a dead planet. If national governments are unwilling or incapable of action, cities must act. The ITF wholeheartedly supports the 4 principles of the Global Green New Deal – we will engage and cooperate with municipal governments and urban employers to deliver a just transition for transport workers and citizens around the world.”
May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org, said: “Don’t let far-right Presidents get you down. There is leadership on the climate crisis apparent across the world: change is coming and we need a global green new deal that tackles the root causes of both the climate crisis and inequality. A global green new deal is more than phasing out fossil fuels or increasing clean public transport and reducing emissions from the building sector– it’s about fighting for a just and sustainable world that works for all of us. Cities will be instrumental in turning the Green New Deal vision into a reality; which is why it is important that local governments center their actions in principles that protect workers, communities, the rights of nature, and the rights of future generations.”
Sheela Patel, Founder Director, Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC), and Chair, Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI) said:
“Climate change and informality of habitat and livelihoods are a reality of the 21st century which cannot be wished away, but are constantly denied by leadership nationally and of cities. Addressing them urgently with this new mindset and transformative vision is the only way forward.”
Kate Raworth, Doughnut Economics, said: “The Global Green New Deal is proof of the momentum that the world’s most influential cities can create when they raise their collective ambition. I am delighted to be working with some of the most pioneering cities among them to explore what it means to be a Thriving City – one that respects the wellbeing of all people and the whole planet. It’s no easy challenge, but C40 cities know that now is the time to take it on.”
Connie Hedegaard, Former European Commissioner for Climate, said:
“The cities are closest to the citizens when it comes to delivering climate solutions – and showing that although the transition is challenging, we have a huge opportunity for creating a smarter kind of growth, a way of living that people want to be part of. If we were better at learning from each other, we could get to the scaled solutions we need faster. That is what C40 is all about.”
Nigel Topping, CEO, We Mean Business, said: “The science is clear, climate action must be at the heart of any strategic plan for creating good jobs and prosperous healthy communities. Not acting on climate is not an option, businesses and whole economies are already feeling the impacts, and those who are retooling for a zero carbon future now are the ones who will be best poised to be the economic engines and employers of the future – cities and governments who do the same will be where they choose to locate.”
The C40 World Mayors Summit is made possible with support from Grundfos, Novo Nordisk, Dell Technologies, IKEA, Microsoft, Rambøll, Velux, The Bernard van Leer Foundation.