Mayor Bloomberg issues C40 call to Rio+20

National governments should help, not hinder local action

C40 Chair New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg issued an extensive call to action to the upcoming Rio+20 conference on sustainable development, describing four targeted proposals in a speech delivered to an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) roundtable today.

In Rio, Mayor Bloomberg said today, the C40 will call on organizations such as the UN and the OECD to advance standardization of how cities measure their greenhouse gas emissions. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” he said, adding that wide variation between cities in measuring and reporting emissions has caused confusion and inaction on climate change.

He also called on governments of economically advanced nations to provide financial support to city-to-city partnerships that transfer expertise and technology to developing countries. “Today, these emerging cities are at a crossroads,” he said of the rapidly growing cities in developing countries. “If they take the wrong path, they will lock into place, for decades to come, wasteful and destructive patterns of construction, transportation, land use and energy generation and consumption.” Providing these cities with the tools to build a sustainable urban future is an “investment well-worth making”, he argued.

The Mayor directed another proposal to national governments, calling on them change policies and practices that stymie local action and “to join us in removing the obstacles that may keep us from solving our problems ourselves.”

Finally, Mayor Bloomberg called for cities to be granted access to funding mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol: the Clean Development and the Joint-Implementation mechanisms. “Cities around the world are increasingly demonstrating that they have the desire, the knowledge, and the capacity to make effective use of such assistance,” he said, noting the historic partnership C40 has formed with the World Bank to help finance “green projects” at the city level.

All four proposals -- a consistent approach to tracking emissions; city-to-city partnerships between the developed and developing worlds; removing obstacles to city-level action; and expanding access to financing –are key to making the world’s increasingly urban future a sustainable one. Issued now on behalf of C40 Cities, these proposals will help to shape the Rio+20 agenda, and to seize the historic opportunity that it creates to put the world on the right path, with cities leading the way.