If former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg had used the Vélib’
- Paris’ public bicycle sharing system - to arrive at the headquarters of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development here Wednesday, he might have sent a stronger message about the need for cities to be “empowered to take the lead in combating climate change”.
With presidents and prime ministers failing to take meaningful action to avert a planetary-scale climate crisis, the mayors of cities and towns are increasingly stepping up to enact changes at the local level.
Mexican cities with populations of more than 500,000 face serious obstacles in monitoring air quality and reducing air pollution, but as of July local authorities will be required to do both, and to submit mandatory reports on their efforts to the federal government.
During World War II, a German U-boat made its way into New York Harbour
. It fired two torpedoes at a British tanker, splitting the hull in three places and igniting it in flames. The captain and 35 members of his crew burned to death.
Over 30 small and medium-sized municipalities in Argentina are jointly developing policies for climate change adaptation and mitigation. The idea is to raise awareness and work together to help these communities cope with a global problem, say the promoters of the initiative.
“With more than 60 percent of the world projected to be urban by 2030 why not prepare for it and build cities that include biodiversity preservation into planning?” asks Kobie Brand of ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability in Cape Town, South Africa.
Building the cities of the future requires not only smarter planning but a profound shift toward greater equity and social justice, says Joan Clos, executive director of the U.N. Human Settlements Programme, or UN-HABITAT.