Washington – The U.S. State Department believes that cities are essential for figuring out important climate change commitments. With this in mind, the Department is hosting, with the help of Bloomberg Philanthropies, a group of 19 mayors to Washington from around the world, in order to discuss cutting planet-warming emissions.

The meeting was described as a precursor to the United Nations climate change negotiations in Paris that will take place later this year.

Officers from 19 international cities have been in the U.S. from several days now. They have spent almost two weeks visiting U.S. cities like San Francisco, Boston and D.C. Credit: Wal Convert

“Cities are really key players in the fight against climate change, so it seemed like a natural program for us to look at and try to affect a positive outcome,” Evan Ryan, an assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs said, as the Huffington Post reported.

A serious commitment

Sustainability officers from 19 international cities have been in the United States from several days now. They have spent almost two weeks visiting U.S. cities like San Francisco, Boston and D.C. According to Ryan, this first step aims to build networks and share what works, regarding addressing emission from cities.

“Our hope is it also shows that the U.S. really is committed to Paris, and we’re doing everything we can to share our knowledge and work broadly across borders to prevent climate change,” Evan Ryan stated, as Huffington Post announced.

About future emissions

A network of cities working to address climate change, named “The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group,” issued a report discussing that cities are key to keeping the world within safe carbon limits. According to their findings, cities change and expand as much as a third of the so-called “carbon budget,” or the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that could be liberated before surpassing unsafe levels.

Furthermore, any decisions about what types of infrastructure to build are not yet locked in for cities. The reports issue that most of future emissions are already locked in because of several decisions that have been made about infrastructure, energy and transportation systems.

However, cities are quickly changing, with 1.5 million more people moving to urban areas around the world each week. In other words, the reports suggest there is potential to build such infrastructures in a more intelligent way.

Other positions

Seth Schultz, director of the research, measurement and planning at C40 said, “This is particularly true for decisions that will be made in the next five years.” He continued, “Mayors are the world’s great pragmatists, most mayors aren’t debating climate change. They’re dealing the impacts.”

“If you look at cities goals, targets, programs, in most cases they far outstrip the national governments’ commitments — and that’s globally, not just in the United States,” he concluded, as Huffington Post reported.

Source: Huffington Post