Tokyo and Paris: Global leaders in clean air, clean cities and climate action

Yuriko Koike, Governor of Tokyo, Vice Chair of C40 Cities

Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, Chair of C40 Cities

 

Nine out of ten people worldwide breathe polluted air, according to the latest figures released by the World Health Organisation this month. 7 million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in polluted air, the vast majority of them in the world’s cities. These pollutants released from vehicles, industry, open burning of trash and polluting fuels, are also contributing towards climate change.  

As leaders of two of the world’s great cities, we recognise our responsibility to protect the health of every citizen of Tokyo and Paris. That is why we are committed to urgent and bold action to clean the air that we breathe, reduce waste and cut greenhouse gas emissions. 

Tokyo hosted the Tokyo Forum for Clean City & Clear Sky this week. Participants in this forum, including mayors and city leaders from 22 cities as well as international experts, shared best practices and experiences and discussed how to solve the identified issues. The 22 cities adopted the Tokyo Declaration on Realization of Clean Cities & Clear Skies and agreed to make it our goal to realize a sustainable urban environment. 

Tokyo will implement environmental measures, applying Japanese martial arts concept of shin-gi-tai—mind, skill and body. In this case, “shin-gi-tai” represents changing awareness, technological innovation, and system & policies. It is crucial that we advance these three elements as one. 

To achieve “Clear Sky”, Tokyo aims to have zero emission vehicles account for 50 percent of all new cars sold by 2030. We will work with industries to promote the diffusion of products with low environmental impact, such as zero emission vehicles and electric motorcycles and support the development of superb environmental technologies. 

To make Tokyo “Clean City”, it is essential that every citizen becomes even more aware of “mottainai”, which contains the nuance of “too precious to waste” and follows the concept of the 3Rs. Tokyo will create a “Team Mottainai” in partnership with volunteers, companies, NGOs and other organizations. This team will encourage people to take actions like thorough waste minimization, separation of waste, and so on. 

In Paris, we have restricted the oldest, most polluting vehicles from entering the city thanks to the creation of a low emission zone and the implementation of the Crit’Air stickers, combined with the development of clean public transportation. By removing cars from the right bank of the Seine, we have created a unique new space for pedestrians and cyclists. 

Also in Paris, we are committed to reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated from food 40% by 2030 through increasing the amount of food produced and consumed within the city. By 2030 50% of food consumed in Paris will originate from the Paris Basin and 75% by 2050. 

The ambitious initiatives and advanced environmental technologies fostered by Tokyo and Paris will be on display to the entire world, as both cities prepare to host the 2020 and 2024 Summer Olympic & Paralympic Games. Both of our cities are committed to delivering the most sustainable Games in modern history, for our children and for our shared planet. 

In Tokyo, we are fostering measures for sustainability, including the environment, society and economy toward the Tokyo 2020 Games. A project is now underway to make 5,000 medals for the Tokyo 2020 Games from gold, silver and bronze extracted from used electronic devices. To create a hydrogen-based society, we will promote hydrogen energy. Furthermore, we will cooperate to offset CO2 emissions related to the Tokyo 2020 Games. 

Photo: C40 Cities / Sarah Bastin

In Paris, we will utilise existing venues to reduce the carbon footprint of construction and build the only new structure – the aquatics centre - as well as temporary facilities from low carbon and sustainable materials. All spectators will travel to venues on public or shared transport, including autonomous vehicles. The rehabilitation of the River Seine and its canals will leave a lasting legacy, including enabling swimming again in its waters.  

Photo: Paris/Ambre Marionneau

Tokyo and Paris will make use of the outcomes of the Tokyo Forum for Clean City and Clear Sky to lead the actions for sustainable urban environment as members of C40, which connects 96 of the world’s greatest cities and represents 700 million citizens and one-quarter of the global economy.