Mayors' Crucial Role in Climate Action Takes Center Stage at COP28
Posted 05/12/2023 14:02
At COP28 in Dubai, UN Secretary-General António Guterres emphasized the pivotal role that mayors of large cities play in addressing climate change. Acknowledging that cities are responsible for over 70% of global emissions, Guterres urged mayors to demand a seat at the table during the development of national climate policies and regulations.
Mayors were given prominence at COP28, marking a significant recognition of their contributions to climate action. Guterres called on them to start planning for a just transition to a net-zero future and to craft concrete plans that guard against greenwashing or unnecessary delays.
The unique position of mayors in promoting the renewables revolution was underscored. Guterres urged them to throw their full political support behind this transformative shift in energy. Despite the challenges faced by some mayors, like Warsaw's Rafał Trzaskowski, who contended with a national government supporting heavy coal usage, they showcased progress through local climate action pledges.
Trzaskowski, for example, successfully banned coal boilers in public buildings and incentivized citizens to transition away from coal. The mayors' advantage lies in their direct interaction with citizens, walking the streets of their cities and effectively conveying the urgency and benefits of the renewables revolution.
In exchange for their commitment to these demands, mayors received recognition and political capital, symbolized by their inclusion at the COP28 table alongside national governments. This acknowledgment marked a critical step forward, emphasizing the importance of integrating local leaders into global climate discussions. The mayors' summit at COP28 highlighted their essential role in steering climate action and influencing policies at both local and international levels.