• Chair of C40 and Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti unveils bold commitments by a further 125 cities at meeting today between UN Secretary-General and leading mayors.
  • City commitments to net-zero provide a critical push for climate ambition ahead of the Climate Summit hosted by US President Joe Biden on 22 April.
  • 700 cities now part of Cities Race to Zero thanks to unique collaboration between C40 Cities, ICLEI, Global Covenant of Mayors, CDP, UCLG, WRI and WWF.

More than 125 mayors from 31 countries have today committed to take the urgent action necessary to tackle the climate crisis. The cities, including Bangkok, Thailand; Chuncheon-si, Korea; Miami Beach, USA; Mumbai, India; and Rabat, Morocco, pledged to implement immediate actions that will deliver their fair share of the greenhouse gas reduction needed to cut emissions in half within the next decade and reach net zero carbon emissions globally by 2050.

The city pledges were shared by Los Angeles Mayor and Chair of C40 Cities, Eric Garcetti during a meeting between mayors and the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres. The gathering was convened to discuss the vital role of cities in delivering emission reductions, securing a green and just recovery to the COVID-19 crisis and in demonstrating what committed political leaders at every level of government can do to increase credible climate ambition and action ahead of COP26. 

96 cities made this commitment through the Paris Declaration, an effort launched by Mayor Anne Hidalgo of Paris in December 2020 on the fifth-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement. The total number of cities committed to net-zero through the Cities Race to Zero campaign now stands at 704.

This announcement comes at a critical time where countries are expected to present new, more ambitious climate plans ahead of COP26, and the Heads of State of major economies are invited to present their ambitions at the Climate Summit hosted by US President Biden on April 22. The increasing number of cities committed to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 in countries such as Japan, India, Australia, and the US, is part of a growing global coalition for net-zero that is expected to drive the needed momentum for countries to dramatically cut emissions by 2030. 

“Climate change is a crisis that extends beyond municipal boundaries or national borders – and it can only be solved by the collective power of a global coalition,” said C40 Chair and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Race to Zero is already galvanizing cities around the world to raise their climate ambition, make new commitments to protect our planet, and lay the foundation for a more just, sustainable, and resilient future.”

“What excellent news: an additional 96 cities have signed the Paris Declaration, and are joining the Cities Race to Zero campaign. There is clear momentum: cities are actively committed to protecting our planet, tackling climate change and preserving our biodiversity,” said Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and former C40 Chair. “And the larger the number of cities involved, the sooner we will be able to act. That is why I have called on the United Nations Secretary-General to urge governments to give cities greater consideration in their stimulus recovery plans. For they are crucial to meet the commitments of the Paris Agreement targets, and build a fairer economy that respects our common good.” 

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a global catastrophe. But investment in recovery is a generational opportunity to put climate action, clean energy and sustainable development at the heart of cities’ strategies and policies,” said UN Secretary-General, António Guterres. “How we design power generation, transport and buildings in cities – how we design the cities themselves – will be decisive in getting on track to achieve the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. We need a revolution in urban planning and in urban mobility: including better fuel efficiency; zero emission vehicles; and shifts toward walking, cycling, public transport, and shorter commutes. Cities stand to gain most from phasing out coal: clean air; green outdoor spaces; healthier people. Many of your residents are suffering and dying prematurely because of coal pollution in several cities around the world.”

“Across the world, city leaders are fighting the climate crisis with increasing urgency and ambition – and it’s encouraging to see even more cities officially join them in that fight today,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, U.N. Global Ambassador for Race to Zero and Race to Resilience, and the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions. “The Race to Zero is winnable, because local leaders continue to think big and get results from the bottom up. There is much more work to do – and the more that countries support their climate champions at the city, state, and company level, the more progress we can make before the world convenes for COP26 in November.”

“It has never been more urgent for a truly global effort to reduce emissions and increase climate ambition. In Freetown, we are delivering a green and just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, focused on providing for the most vulnerable in our communities,” said Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown and C40 Vice-Chair. “We are committed to Transform Freetown to protect people’s health, jobs and livelihoods, reduce emissions and improve resilience of the city. It is down to all of us – from smaller cities in emerging economies to megacities globally – to tackle the climate crisis together. It is only through collaboration that cities can create a better world for today’s urban residents, and for generations to come.”

“In Jakarta we are on the frontlines of climate impacts, and at the forefront of climate ambition. Through the pioneering Jakarta Development Collaboration Network, we are transforming Jakarta into a sustainable, prosperous and resilient city for the benefit of all residents, particularly the most vulnerable,” said Anies Baswedan, Governor of Jakarta and C40 Vice-Chair. “This is a crucial year of climate action in the lead up to COP26. Today we are demonstrating the strength of collaboration – cities are coming together to deliver a green and just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and sending a powerful message to national governments everywhere.”

“Cities play a critical role in delivering a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery” said Nigel Topping, UK High Level Climate Champion for COP26. “Increasing climate ambitions from cities and subnational governments should give countries the impetus to pursue mid and long term emissions reductions, and ultimately deliver the promise of the Paris Agreement.”

The Race to Zero is a global campaign – led by the UN High-Level Climate Champions for Climate Action to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, and investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth ahead of COP26 in November  2021. 

Today, Cities Race to Zero – a collaboration between C40 Cities, ICLEI, CDP, Global Covenant of Mayors, UCLG, WRI and WWF, to recruit the world’s urban centres to this effort – was formally welcomed as the umbrella campaign for cities into the Race to Zero.

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