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Rio+20: Cities Take the Lead

Rio+20: Cities Take the Lead

by Adam Stern

Adam Stern was Care2ís first head of Business Development and is now the Climate Program Manager, San Francisco Department of the Environment.† This report is drawn from an email he sent Wednesday to our founder and CEO Randy Paynter.

The press is sure to characterize this international gathering as falling short of the task at hand, but I see encouragement in what cities are doing to address climate change.

Cities taking aggressive action

Mayor Bloomberg announced Wednesday that policies already in place in C40 cities (world’s biggest emitters) would reduce GHGs by 1 gigaton (a billion metric tons) by 2030 compared with 2010 levels; this pledge goes to the heads of state now negotiating the Rio sustainability agreement. The major theme is that cities are taking action on climate while nations are just talking. The mayors of C40 cities are also delivering these messages to the negotiators:

1) C40 is working with the World Bank and other groups to standardize GHG accounting and reporting for cities.

2) Developed countries need to transfer technology to developing nations, so that they make the necessary infrastructure investments in sustainability.

3) National governments should remove policies that impede progress of cities in reducing emissions.

4) Cities ought to have access to financing from the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation, not just countries.

I rode back in the shuttle with the mayors of Johannesburg and Seoul. Earlier in the day, I had useful conversations with officials about bike infrastructure in Copenhagen, congestion management in Stockholm, and general environmental policies in Mexico City.

Back in the States, LA announced on climate adaptation research/findings on Thursday, while New York plans to release results of study of energy efficiency in buildings on Friday.

Mayors gather

Last night, Mayor Paes of Rio (some here say he may be a future president of Brazil) hosted an extraordinary dinner for mayors and heads of city delegations. There were about 75 of us at the Mayor’s official residence with great food, live Brazilian music, toasts, and conversation. I sat with my new-found pals from Barcelona and we were in awe. I’ll never forget the thoughtful service and graciousness shown to us as guests. Rio is practicing for the World Cup (2014) and the Olympics (2016).

Things are getting a little crazy today as the heads of state arrive (100+ expected). Brazilian Navy ships are patrolling the bay and black helicopters are in the sky (right outside my hotel window), while motorcades ferry prime ministers and presidents around town, and armed soldiers guard street corners.

Our thanks to Adam Stern for sharing these developments from Rio.† Itís a hard story to get oneís head around, and these kinds of moments make a difference.

 

Related stories:

Rio+20 Red List Identifies 63,837 Threatened Species

17-Year-Old Addresses World Leaders at the UN Earth Summit

At Least One Environmental Activist is Killed Every Week

 

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Photo by alien cow via Creative Commons

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36 comments

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2:45AM PDT on Jun 27, 2012

A small piece of good news. Finally!

2:10PM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

Good!

9:34AM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

Thank you...

3:52PM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

"Last night, Mayor Paes of Rio (some here say he may be a future president of Brazil) hosted an extraordinary dinner for mayors and heads of city delegations. There were about 75 of us at the Mayor’s official residence with great food, live Brazilian music, toasts, and conversation.". No doubt, as part of this dinner was Churrasco or Brazilian barbecue. What these mayors and delegations should know, is that the consumption of animal products is the primary cause of climate change and the destruction of the enviornment. If everyone would switch to a plant based diet there would be no further need to hold these confrences.

1:27PM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

people should stand up for themselves in a positive way

6:15AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

Thanks.

2:22AM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

Thanks for the post.

10:56PM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

This conference is actually far more important than many people seem to be giving it credit for. Cities are the backbone of any effort to clean up our environment as cities are the major contributors of pollution. The lessons the mayors are learning, from their local efforts, can later be used to facilitate national and world-wide efforts. I am encouraged that mayors are beginning to take on the task themselves rather than wait for national intervention. The ship is quickly sinkiing and I appreciate the mayors taking action to keep us afloat.

7:11PM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

That would be great

11:16AM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

thanks

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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