Seoul, Houston & Rio Featured on CNN International’s The City

Seoul, Houston & Rio de Janeiro were featured last week on CNN International’s mini-series The City, as part of the network’s ongoing collaboration with the C40. The series profiles the sustainable future of five C40 cities on five different continents and features C40 Chair, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg discussing how cities are leading the way in addressing the risks that climate change poses.

Seoul

Seoul's sustainability success story” features Mayor Park Won-soon walking the streets of Seoul while explaining the city’s ambitious emissions reduction goals. Some of the tactics the city is using to get there include advanced data apps, renewable energy, and a voluntary policy that encourages citizens to pick one carbon-free day a week. An impressive 36 percent of citizens are participating.

The Mayor says:

“Climate change is very serious to every city around the world…this concept of sustainability is most important to the mayors of all cities. We have made so many trials and errors so our experiences can be shared by many other Asian and developing cities across the world.”

Houston

The “Houston mayor's vision for the future” episode follows Mayor Annise Parker, who was just elected as the newest member of C40’s Steering Committee. She highlights how Houston, through bold actions in a range of areas including green space, transport and outdoor lighting, is becoming more sustainable, even recently earning the title of largest municipal purchaser of renewable power in the U.S.

Says Mayor Parker:

“Just because a mistake was made in the past doesn’t mean you have to live with it forever, you can go back and fix it. Just because we have built this city on the profits of oil and gas doesn’t mean we don’t respect the environment…we cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent and we are going to continue to lead by example.”

Rio

The segment “Rio mayor’s vision for the future” highlights three major initiatives the city is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change: urbanizing favelas by 2020; an advanced operations center to manage weather emergencies; and Madudeira Park, which provides a 1.5 km stretch of green space in the heart of the city. Describing Rio as “the best place in the world,”

Mayor Eduardo Paes is clearly passionate about leading his citizens to a more sustainable future:

“Climate change is a big issue for us. We are a sea-level city so if we look ahead, we are going to be in big trouble. We have a history of floods and this is going to be even harder in the future….The role of mayors is the most important role. The decisions you make can really change people’s lives.”

Of note, all five cities featured in this series – which also includes profiles on Johannesburg and Rotterdam-- have been named finalists for the inaugural C40 & Siemens City Climate Leadership Awards. To learn more about the Awards Ceremony & Conference on September 4 and 5, click here.