Mayors in many of the world’s leading cities have warned there can be no return to “business as usual” in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis if humanity is to escape catastrophic climate breakdown.
City leaders representing more than 750 million people have published a “statement of principles”, which commits them to putting greater equality and climate resilience at the heart of their recovery plans.
The statement of principles has so far been signed by mayors representing 33 world cities from Los Angeles to Lisbon, São Paulo to Seoul, Melbourne to Mexico City.
The statement warns that the recovery from Covid-19 “should not be a return to ‘business as usual’ – because that is a world on track for 3C or more of overheating.”
It also states that immediate action on the climate will “accelerate economic recovery and enhance social equity, through the use of new technologies and the creation of new industries and new jobs”.
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said: “Half-measures that maintain the status quo won’t move the needle or protect us from the next crisis.
“We need a new deal for these times – a massive transformation that rebuilds lives, promotes equality and prevents the next economic, health or climate crisis.”
Last week, mayors from cities in Europe, the US and Africa held talks as part of a newly formed C40 economic task force. They agreed to coordinate efforts to map out plans to support a low-carbon, sustainable recovery from the crisis.
Mark Watts, the chief executive of C40, said mayors had a lot of power to protect their citizens and shape the direction of the recovery. “There is now a hell of a lot of collaboration among very powerful politicians who do think a green economic recovery is absolutely essential,” he said.
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