Cities are at the epicenter of climate change, responsible for as much as 80 percent of heat-trapping emissions and enduring the brunt of climate change’s effects. Unlike the polarized debate on climate change at the national level, American mayors are calling for carbon-pollution reductions and increased resiliency efforts to avoid the potential catastrophic effects of climate change. Now, a new effort in Los Angeles, California, is attempting to go a step further with a breakout plan for both the city and region to address climate change.
Climate mitigation and resiliency efforts at the city level have been building in recent years. In 2005, mayors of some of the world’s largest cities banded together to form the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, or C40, in order to work together to cut emissions and address climate risks. In 2009, the World Bank realigned its strategy for working with cities to ensure that climate change is being adequately considered and addressed. In 2013, the Rockefeller Foundation launched its 100 Resilient Cities initiative to help cities around the world build the capacity they need to address the “shocks and the stresses” they face on a routine basis, including challenges that are climate related. Even the United Nations has brought focus to the city-climate connection. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointedC40 Chairman and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) as special envoy for cities and climate change. Joint initiatives are working to bring this important work together and to the forefront of
climate change policy. For instance, the Knowledge Centre on Cities and Climate Change, or K4C, provides a mechanism for the sharing of information and experience among cities throughout the world.