• With 100 days until COP26 in Glasgow, cities and unions pledge to tackle climate change and inequality together.
  • Mayors vow to recruit 1,000 Cities to ‘Race to Zero’ coalition to keep global heating below 1.5°C.
  • Read this press release in Spanish or Portuguese.

100 days before the opening of COP26, thirteen mayors and union leaders have committed to a decade of action focused on creating good quality jobs; tackling inequality; raising international climate ambition and calling on other cities to join them. 

Mayors and unions are providing accessible good quality jobs, addressing energy poverty, improving air quality, and investing in resilient infrastructure. Setting the stage for an ambitious COP26 in November, mayors and trade unionists met virtually yesterday to formally adopt a Call to Action outlining a common response that tackles climate change and inequality together.

The Call to Action sees mayors and trade unions pledge:
  1. NEW JOBS: Deliver a just transition, providing good quality jobs for all: We will ensure that every climate plan delivers good quality jobs and we will support workers who lose jobs in polluting sectors to find new and better opportunities.
  2. NEW SKILLS: Ensure people are educated and trained in the skills they will need for the future; working together with workers, business and academia to nurture the skills people need to access good jobs over the decade.
  3. SOCIAL EQUITY: Ensure a just transition that leaves no one behind by providing, where city’s powers exist, social protection and affordable access to essential public services – such as mass transit, water and sanitation, healthy food – especially to frontline communities including women, communities of color, indigenous groups, and any person marginalised on the basis of their ethnicity, origin, gender or social condition.
  4. TACKLING INEQUALITY: Act to tackle long-standing inequalities by addressing energy poverty, improving air quality and access to green space, investing in resilient city infrastructure and, when city powers exist, enhancing social services that benefit our communities most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
  5. NEW PARTNERSHIPS: Work together in partnership to establish just transition pathways in cities: working with employers in social dialogue and engaging communities, young people, and national governments to design local strategies.
  6. NEW INVESTMENT: Securing investments necessary to deliver a green and just recovery: We will work together to ensure that investments and all stimulus funding directed to cities support ambitious inclusive climate action. 

The Call to Action also urges national governments, civil society, businesses, investors, and international institutions to match the level of ambition and inclusive climate action seen in cities. 

Speaking in a virtual meeting for city leaders, trade unionists and partners, hosted by C40 Cities and the City of Glasgow, mayors also pledged to accelerate efforts to recruit as many as 1,000 cities around the world to deliver inclusive climate action plans, consistent with constraining global temperature rise to 1.5°C set out in the Paris Agreement, and initiate a green and just recovery from COVID-19. The Cities Race to Zero campaign will play a key role in securing an impactful outcome to the COP26 negotiations in Glasgow. 

Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles and Chair of C40 Cities said, “Ecological devastation and economic dislocation are the two challenges of our time, so we need to act with urgency to create good jobs that preserve the health of our planet and life as we know it. COP26 is about recognizing that this burden is one we bear collectively, and we must summon the will of governments at all levels to realize a Global Green New Deal that puts us on pace to secure a zero-carbon future, creates the economy of tomorrow, and lifts up our most vulnerable residents.”  

Sharan Burrow, Secretary General of International Trade Union Confederation said, “The pandemic has destroyed jobs and rolled back rights and equality. A real recovery requires global vaccination, just transition and decent jobs, and social protection for all. ITUC joins the call of mayors around the world for good and climate friendly jobs and an economy that works for everyone.”

Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, which is hosting COP26, said, “Glasgow is committed to accelerating inclusive climate action and delivering vital new jobs and infrastructure to keep our city thriving into the future. By signing up to the Cities Race to Zero and unleashing green and just recovery packages that protect our workers and communities, cities like ours can rebuild from the pandemic and tackle the climate challenge at the same time.”

Michael R. Bloomberg, U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Global Ambassador for the UN Race to Zero and Race to Resilience campaigns said, “In 100 days, global leaders will come together at COP26 to intensify efforts to tackle climate change, and mayors and local leaders are already working to do just that. As part of the Race to Zero campaign, cities, regions, businesses, and citizens are supporting climate actions that create good jobs, address longstanding inequalities, and build a healthy, resilient future. We look forward to advancing these goals – today, and throughout the countdown to COP.”

Mohammed Sowah, Mayor of Accra said, “A just transition requires cities to put people at the centre of climate action, and work to eradicate existing inequalities and barriers to a green and just transition. The City of Accra is working with leading stakeholders and experts in the informal sector in Accra to deepen the voice of informal actors in the city’s climate discourse. Today, I join C40 Cities and Mayors around the world to call for an alignment of systems and a redistribution of investment toward a just transition for all.”

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London said, “Taking action towards our goal to make London zero-carbon by 2030 goes hand in hand with a prosperous and fair recovery. That’s why I am committed to tackling London’s environmental challenges and creating economic opportunities for the capital’s businesses by supporting green jobs and skills for Londoners. Our Green New Deal mission aims to double the size of London’s green economy by 2030 through retrofitting buildings, renewable energy, electric vehicle charging and urban greening. But so much more can be achieved if cities, businesses and government work together. With COP26 just 100 days away, now is the time for better collaboration and a mutually shared vision.”

Kate Gallego, Mayor of Phoenix said, “The next decade will require a re-imagination of the way our society operates, and cities are prepared to rise to the occasion. Together we can create quality jobs that meet the needs of emerging markets, invest in infrastructure that bolsters community resilience, and ushers in a more sustainable and prosperous future.”

Randall Williams, Mayor of Tshwane said, “The City of Tshwane is committed to ensuring that the transition to a low-carbon climate resilient future is just. We have prioritized actions which improve the well-being of our most vulnerable communities and have established partnerships with NGOs and the private sector to create good quality green jobs.”

Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala said, “We, mayors, have agreed that there will be no real recovery in our cities that is not green and just. We know climate change has a disproportionately negative effect on the most vulnerable, within our cities and in the world. We know that the answer is inclusive climate action and are committed to it. We know we can pursue what is good for the people and the planet at once. ”

Mark Malloch-Brown, President of Open Society Foundations said, “I am proud to stand with mayors and union leaders to call for a bold climate action plan today. This is about spurring much-needed action to cut pollution. It is also about recognizing the critical impact on people – and affected communities – that our approach to climate change will have. We have seen how climate change can exacerbate inequality. But with strong leadership, our approach to this crisis can also help create new opportunities. That is why the Open Society Foundations has supported a groundbreaking partnership between C40 and ITUC. Together we can cut emissions and address inequality at the same time.” 

Signatories to the call to action include:

Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles & Chair of C40 Cities
Mohammed Adjei Sowah, Mayor of Accra
Steve Adler, Mayor of Austin
Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona
Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council
Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan
Kate Gallego, Mayor of Phoenix
Ricardo Nunes, Mayor of São Paulo
Jenny Durkan, Mayor of Seattle
Randall Williams, Mayor of Tshwane
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation

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