Mayors hold the key to more than just their cities


As climate talks continue in Paris, it’s become apparent that cities have a critical role to play in meeting COP21 goals. On Day 5 of the meetings, Michael R. Bloomberg, former New York City Mayor and current UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate, and Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of the City of Paris, co-hosted the Climate Summit for Local Leaders. This gathering was the first of its kind to be held during a UN-climate conference.

It served as vehicle to unite mayors from around the world and make sure their voices are heard at the negotiating table. The Summit also provided a platform to announce the collective impact of the Compact of Mayors, an international coalition of cities committed to addressing the challenges of climate change that launched in September 2014.

“Based on an analysis of 360 cities, the World Resources Institute found that Compact of Mayors signatories can collectively reduce their emissions by nearly 17 percent below 2010 levels by 2030. To put that in perspective, they can avoid emitting 740 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually in 2030, more than what Mexico emits every year.”

Animals impacted by climate change:

Orangutan bird
butterfly frog
polar bear red panda

Photo Credit for top right photo: Debbie McKenzie

Philadelphia in Action

Philadelphia, a signatory on the Compact of Mayors, has been active on the climate front since 2009 with the launch of its ambitious Greenworks Plan, which aimed to make Philadelphia the greenest city in the U.S. by 2015.

The sixth and final Greenworks Progress Report was issued in June 2015. It provides a summary of work performed between 2009-2015, including cumulative data, trends, notes on work that remains in progress, key takeaways, and ideas for what comes next.

Last week, as mayors in Paris were preparing for the Climate Summit for Local Leaders, the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Sustainability released their report “Growing Stronger: Toward a Climate-Ready Philadelphia.An important first step toward preparing for a warmer, wetter future, the report includes details on three key topics: climate projections for Philadelphia, vulnerability assessments for city-owned assets, and early implementation adaptation strategies.

The Philadelphia Climate & Urban Systems Partnership, or CUSP, is a collaborative effort led by The Franklin Institute to engage our local community in climate preparedness. The Philadelphia Zoo, a proud member of CUSP, is working with others to save energy to save wildlife and to restore habitat for people and animals.

Join the Zoo’s UNLESS Project for opportunities to take local action with global impact for people and wildlife.

Click here for the latest from Paris and more on what mayors attending COP21 are up to!