Building on a legacy of action: Looking ahead to Johannesburg 2014

This week, C40 Chair and New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg held a press conference with the Mayor of Johannesburg, Mpho Parks Tau, announcing the 2014 C40 Mayors Summit. Mayor Tau said that the summit is “a historic moment for Johannesburg.” But when the mayors, their staff members, and climate experts gather in 2014, they will not be working from a blank slate. It will be the fifth summit of its kind, all of which have proven to be key moments to accelerate the C40 memberships’ efforts to further reduce carbon emissions and improve the quality of life in their cities.

In anticipation of next year’s Summit, let’s take a look back at some of the events that preceded it, the accomplishments that have already been realized, and what milestones are yet to come.

2011 C40 Cities Mayors Summit – Sao Paulo

Two years ago, more than 30 mayors convened at the C40 Cities 2011 Mayors Summit in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to forge partnerships and move forward with cutting-edge research findings. The event featured President Bill Clinton, World Bank President Robert Zoellick, and C40 Chair Mayor Bloomberg, who announced a World Bank/C40 partnership. ICLEI and C40 announced the development of a new global standard for reporting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. And mayors and experts from around the world shared their best practices and innovation for everything from energy efficiency to public engagement and urban forestry initiatives. The event concluded with the assembled mayors drafting a communiqué for the following year’s Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development.

2012 Rio+C40

Building on the foundation laid at the 2011 Mayors Summit, the following year marked Rio+C40: Megacity Mayors Taking Action on Climate Change. Led by President Clinton, Mayor Eduardo Paes of Rio de Janeiro and Mayor Bloomberg, the conference convened mayors and city leadership from around the world in a day-long event to highlight local government actions to promote sustainable development of the urban environment. The conference ran in conjunction with the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. As international leaders struggled to find common ground, mayors at Rio+C40 charged ahead. Their concrete and ambitious accomplishments, commitments, and calls to action were truly inspiring, including identifying cities’ potential to reduce annual GHG emissions by over a billion tons by 2030.

2014 C40 Mayors Summit – Johannesburg

Looking ahead, the 2014 Mayors Summit in Johannesburg promises to continue advancing the progress cities have been making in the face of climate change. Mayors Bloomberg and Tau will lead dozens of mayors and hundreds of experts in the next step in cities’ quest for climate solutions, primarilyquantifiable, data-driven reductions in GHGs. Next year’s Summit will feature a series of roundtable discussions and working sessions that will spur climate actions and outcomes for all cities involved. 

Mayor Tau calls the Summit “a historic moment for Johannesburg,” but it will also be a historic moment in the precedent-setting path cities are paving in the search for climate solutions.

We are also proud to note that it is the first confirmed appearance for Mayor Bloomberg once he has left both the office of Chair and that of Mayor of New York City.