World Wildlife Fund: This Earth Hour, Cities are at the Center of Climate Action
by Kevin Taylor
At WWF, our vision for the future is a world where people and nature thrive. That future is uncertain and can at times feel unattainable, threatened by many challenges, most of all climate change. However, the last few months have brought hope. For the first time in the fight against climate change, momentum is on our side. This past December at the UN climate negotiations in Paris, 196 countries committed to taking action and were joined by 500 cities responsible for raising our individual and collective ambition while demonstrating how we can ensure a safer climate. The Paris Moment brought together the largest ever gathering of heads of states and of mayors from around the world — an historic moment that should not be overlooked.
Cites played a vital role in making Paris a success. The Compact of Mayors was a rallying cry to, and from cities that climate change is a global issue which will manifest at the local level. The Compact also served as a model framework for how countries should act on climate — measure and report transparently, cut carbon emissions, build resilience to impacts, and be accountable as well as ambitious.
The Compact of Mayors for cities and the Paris Agreement for countries represent our best intentions to date for what we will do about climate change. But we cannot allow our best intentions to become our biggest regret by failing to act.
There is, truthfully (scientifically), no time to waste.
The targets set by countries under the Paris Agreement collectively get us only half way to a safe climate. And securing a safer future is an all or nothing deal. Countries have agreed to come back to the table in five years to revisit targets. In that time, we need cities to once again step up to the plate and lead, bridging the gap between current commitments and the manageable climate threshold of under 2 degrees C.
Our future, whether it is lived in harmony or in crisis with nature will be lived in cities.
Cities hold immense power for conservation. On behalf of our planet and the species we share it with, we ask cities to shift the conversation from commitment to action.
Every March, landmarks, cities, and individuals around the world turn off the lights for Earth Hour in solidarity for climate action. This year, on March 19 (8:30pm local time) we want the citizens of the world to recommit to climate action. Join us in making a “climate resolution” for 2016 — what will you do to make a safer, cleaner, better world? Together we can use our power to combat the worst effects of climate change.
Use #EarthHour and the image here in the lead up to and on Earth Hour to share your climate resolution and WWF will help spread the word. If you haven’t already, join the more than 450 cities around the world in the Compact of Mayors! If you are already part of the Compact, take this opportunity to show how you will act on that commitment this year.
The future is made today. This Earth Hour, this year, help us make the WWF vision a reality.
Kevin Taylor is Senior Specialist for Local Engagement in the Climate Program at World Wildlife Fund. Follow @CompactofMayors and @World_Wildlife on Twitter and Facebook for more information on Earth Hour and more stories on city climate action.