Regardless of how their national governments opt to fight climate change, city leaders at the C40 Mayors Summit say they’re taking the reins.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler is one of many mayors from around the world at the summit in Mexico City this week, talking about how to achieve the goals outlined at the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, made by countries, with their cities.
If all cities with more than 100,000 people achieve the climate recommendations, the world will see a 40 percent reduction in emissions causing climate change, according to “Deadline 2020: How Cities Will Get the Job Done,” a report released by the group. That will require $375 billion in investment focused on low-carbon infrastructure in those cities, the report says.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made headlines last week when he said major cities would fight climate change with or without President-elect Donald Trump. Trump said while he was campaigning that he would pull the United States out of the Paris agreement, but has since softened his stance.
In an interview from Mexico City, Adler indicated a wait-and-see attitude on Trump. He strongly echoed Bloomberg’s sentiment that cities would make it a mission regardless.
“It’s consistent with what I said last December, in Paris,” he said. “It looked like half to three quarters of goals on the Paris accord are things that are achieved on the subnational level and I remarked on that then.”
Adler called himself proud of efforts Austin has undertaken to reduce waste and save water. But the city has a long way to go to meet the public transportation levels of other global cities and to encourage residents not to drive alone, he said.
The summit is useful to network with other mayors, both to get ideas on what to do in cities and to talk about how to align political elements to make them happen, he said.
“We look at our city in terms of aggressive goals with respect to lowering our carbon footprint, but then you look at a city like Adelaide, a sister city of ours in Australia, and their goal is to reach carbon neutrality by 2025, he said. Our goal is 2050.”