Ahead of COP26, we, the C40 Global Youth and Mayors Forum, call on national governments to take radical action within the next year to address the climate crisis, in line with at least halving global emissions by 2030.

The science is clear — we must collectively at least halve global emissions by 2030 — and Global North countries must go further and faster to reduce their fair share of emissions. If we allow greed for more money, power and oil to prevent us reaching this goal, we will not have a future. Right now, the real test of any government’s commitment to climate action is where it is directing COVID-19 recovery funding — 100% (instead of the current 10%) of stimulus funds should contribute to a sustainable, equitable recovery from the pandemic.

1. We call on you to put the Global Green New Deal into action, put people before profits or partisan politics, and deliver a Green and Just Transition.

We are committed to acting to deliver the principles of the Global Green New Deal — we call on you to join us. We must mobilise trillions in investment to tackle the climate and inequality emergency. This must centre frontline groups: from Indigenous communities, immigrants, people of color, and all those historically marginalized or impoverished, who are facing the worst climate impacts. We call on you to implement a Just Transition that ensures everyone, everywhere has the right to good jobs, a safe environment, and a better quality of life.

2. We call on you to divest from the fossil fuel industry and invest in climate solutions.

Too often in our history, the exploitation of fossil fuels and natural resources has benefited a privileged few at the cost of widespread environmental destruction, pollution, and the degradation of livelihoods — nowhere more so than in Global South countries facing the legacy of colonialism. Our current economic model has made matters worse, resulting in evident inequities and over-consumption of resources to the detriment of people and the planet. We call on you to end this destructive cycle by stopping all public investment in fossil fuels and hold accountable the industries that violate planetary limits and undermine climate science, and instead invest in our communities — especially the most vulnerable and historically marginalized.

3. We call on you to finance far beyond $100 billion per year to the Global South.

Countries in the Global North have held a disproportionate amount of our world’s wealth and resources for centuries, building a global economic system that is unjust and exploits both our planet and people in countries deemed “underdeveloped”. Despite being least responsible for causing climate change, communities in the Global South face the worst climate impacts. It is time for a new paradigm — we must redistribute these resources and finance the equitable climate solutions needed in the Global South for adaptation and mitigation. Without access to sufficient climate finance, Global South cities will not be equipped to deal with the consequences of climate change and will continue to face serious impacts, which will also ultimately impact the rest of the world

4. We call on you to work on international and intergenerational collaboration.

Climate justice is only possible with everyone’s cooperation. We must work vertically across generations, nations and sectors, accepting our common but differentiated responsibilities and make room at decision-making tables for those who have historically not had a voice based on their race, gender, nationality, age, citizenship status, socio-economic status, or other marginalized identities. As mayors, we are committed to work collaboratively with youth on climate action and increase youth participation in city decision-making, including but not limited to expanding the network of city youth climate councils. Together, we call on national governments to provide dedicated funding for youth climate action and to support mechanisms for youth participation in national decision-making.

How many summits, declarations, and COPs will it take to mobilise resources and implement adequate climate action? Climate change will exacerbate inequities across the world and bring more devastating and complex effects than this pandemic has, and these consequences have been known for decades. Despite proposals and solutions put forward by scientists, advocates, cities and young people, national governments and global industries have continually failed to do enough.

Young people are tired of empty promises and inaction, but we will continue to demand change and work to build a better future. Cities are doing a lot, but nobody is doing enough to avert the climate crisis. World leaders are supposed to protect us, and yet we are forced to fight for our very right to exist.

It is not time for incremental changes — we are calling for a powershift. We need a radical, structural transition to a new way of life and a just, sustainable future. This is a global emergency, and we have no time left to waste.

This statement is supported by:

  • Mayor Eric Garcetti, C40 Chair and Mayor of Los Angeles
  • Mayor Claudia López, Mayor of Bogotá
  • Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris
  • Mayor Daniel Quintero, Mayor of Medellín
  • Mayor Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan
  • Mayor Phil Goff, Mayor of Auckland
  • Mayor Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
  • Mayor Steve Adler, Mayor of Austin
  • Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown
Youth climate leaders:
  • Asheer Kandhari– New Delhi, India — Fridays for Future India
  • Ayantika Dutta — Kolkata, India — Climate & Sustainability India
  • Dilan Gohill — Los Angeles, US — Extinction Rebellion Youth
  • Djivenson Macius — Port-au-Prince, Haïti
  • Dohyeon Kim — Youth 4 Climate Action Korea
  • Jade Lozada — New York, US — TREEage
  • Juliet Oluoch — Nairobi, Kenya — African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (A.Y.I.C.C)
  • Khadijah Rana — Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Marie Chureau — Paris, France — Youth for Climate France
  • Pamela Escobar Vargas — Mexico City, Mexico — Fridays for Future Mexico
  • Patrick Ryan Bello — Manila, Philippines
  • Saoirse Exton — Limerick, Ireland — Fridays for Future Ireland
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