Africa: Opinion - Why We Support the Global Climate Strikes

Natalija Gormalova/AP for C40
C40 and Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the seven winners of the 2019 C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards at the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen. The prize for "The future we want engages all citizens" was awarded to Accra, Ghana, for its Informal Waste Collection Expansion.

By Mayor of Paris & Chair of C40 Cities, Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti and Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen

Our shared planet is facing a climate emergency. The science is clear that, without urgent action, sea levels will rise further, extreme temperatures will become the norm and climate-related disasters will inflict even greater damage.

We are making historic investments to prepare and adapt our cities to the inevitable consequences of emissions already released into the atmosphere.

When your house is on fire, somebody needs to sound the alarm. Young people in our cities, displaying incredible maturity and dignity are doing just that. School children are taking to the streets, drawing attention to the terrifying threat that climate breakdown poses to their future. Young people recognise just how unfair climate change is.

Those who have generated the least greenhouse gas emissions, including the poorest, most disadvantaged and youngest in society, will suffer the worst effects of a rapidly changing global climate. They are right to sound the alarm, and they are right to demand action that tackles climate change and inequality simultaneously.

On September 20, these inspiring young leaders have called for adults to join them for a Global Climate Strike. We have an opportunity to show, not only that we hear their message, but that they have inspired us to act even faster.

As mayors, our greatest responsibility is to protect the lives and wellbeing of those that live in our cities. As adults, our obligation is to leave the world in a better state for our children than we inherited it.

Fortunately, the evidence is increasingly clear that transforming our cities to prevent the climate crisis will also make them healthier, more equitable, safer and ultimately better places to live.

The cities of the future will enjoy affordable and reliable public transport; the air will be free from poisonous toxins; buildings will generate zero emissions thanks to ultra-high efficient heating, cooling and insulation; waste will be recycled or reused, and all of this will be powered by abundant renewable energy.

We have a unique opportunity to bestow a bright and hopeful legacy to the next generation. This is the future we want.

That is why we are supporting the global climate strikes. Mayors around the world, working through C40 Cities, are committed to deliver on the Paris Agreement and taking action to peak their emissions as our cities already have and bring them down sharply by 2030.

Many businesses, investors, labour groups, faith leaders and local communities share our urgency. But we cannot tackle the climate crisis alone.

We need science-based action from every sector of the economy, and we expect greater leadership from nation states.

Young people are telling us that the climate emergency demands an emergency response. We couldn't agree more.

More than 70 mayors from around the world will be meeting in Copenhagen for the C40 World Mayors Summit, Oct 9-12, 2019.

More From: Thomson Reuters Foundation

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