Think globally, act locally
How mayors will deliver the aims of the Paris Agreement
By Anne Hidalgo, C40 Chair-Elect and Mayor of Paris.
This article is reproduced from the foreword of the 2016 edition of Cities100.
Mayors may not have coined the phrase “think globally, act locally” but they are definitely the biggest proponents of it. This is the mindset that local leaders around the world have not only adopted, but entrenched into their policies as they seek to combat global climate change. It is with this approach that I work to develop and implement policies that will clean Paris’ air, green its buildings, and give its streets back to the people — local actions that, when added up, improve our entire planet. This is also the framework that underpins every project featured in this year’s Cities100. These 100 city solutions bring to center stage the fact that local action is the foundation for mitigating and adapting to climate change globally.
Mayors were on the global stage last December, as I welcomed -with UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael Bloomberg -local leaders from around the world to attend an historic summit at Paris City Hall. I was inspired by their commitments. We discussed how cities could take coordinated and collective action to combat climate change. The result sent a clear message. In agreeing to deliver up to 3.7 gigatons of urban greenhouse gas emissions reductions annually by 2030 and supporting a long-term goal of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050, these mayors took a stand to protect their citizens, their resources, their businesses, and the future of their cities.
It has become obvious that cities play a critical role in adapting to climate change and delivering on the ambition of the Paris Agreement. Urban areas account for most of the world’s carbon emissions, and their share will continue to increase as two-thirds of the world will call cities home by 2050. Such booming populations bring with them challenges, but also myriad opportunities to adapt and grow sustainably. As Cities100 showcases, cities around the world are already capitalizing on these opportunities and employing local solutions that not only reduce CO2 emissions and boost resilience, but also promote health, bolster economic vitality, and alleviate social inequities.
What happened during COP21 in Paris will guide our global thinking for the coming decades. As newly-elected C40 Chair, it is my duty to ensure that mayors around the world will look to and learn from front-running cities’ innovative projects and plans showcased in Cities100, as we all work to build a better future and cultivate strong, sustainable societies. This is how cities will keep on getting the job done.