Chinese mayors’ drive to hit new carbon emissions targets was evident at a forum on sustainable cities in China hosted by the Paulson Institute during the COP 21 climate conclave in Paris.
Eight mayors from cities across China flew to Paris to share their plans for action and pledge their commitments to creating low-carbon growth. The Chinese mayors’ session was part of a day-long Climate Summit for Local Leaders, which convened 400 mayors and 1000 delegates from around the world to develop municipal solutions for reducing carbon emissions. The Summit was hosted by the city of Paris and Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Paulson Institute Senior Fellow Deborah Lehr moderated the Chinese session.
During the Chinese cities session, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Xie Zhenhua, China’s top climate negotiator, and local leaders from Beijing, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Zhenjiang, Guiyang, Lanzhou, Ningbo and Nanjing, all underscored the important role that cities must play in fighting climate change.
In the Hotel de Ville’s packed Salle de Conseil, Bloomberg, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, noted city leaders’ influence on day-to-day policies that are necessary to reduce carbon emissions. China is taking a leading role in this fight, he remarked, as evidenced by the large delegation of Chinese mayors who were participating for the first time.
“China has been ahead of the curve in recognizing the pivotal role that cities play in fighting climate change. Cities have the ability to act swiftly, experiment with bold ideas, and share solutions that work,” said Bloomberg. “That’s exactly what more and more of China’s cities are doing, and their work is making a major global impact.”