Mayors from around the world have backed a global Green New Deal. Their announcement came as Frans Timmermans gained the backing of MEPs to lead the EU’s own Green Deal initiative.
Speaking on behalf of 94 cities around the world at a press conference in the Danish capital Copenhagen, the mayors of Paris and Los Angeles recognised the global climate emergency and announced support for a worldwide Green New Deal.
Paris mayor Anne Hidaglo and Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti were speaking at this week’s gathering of city leaders at the C40 World Mayors Summit.
The C40 group is an alliance of cities committed to tackling climate change and driving action that will increase the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens.
Jeremy Wates, EEB Secretary General told META: “With three quarters of Europeans living in cities, local action is increasingly important. But while cities can enjoy benefits like cleaner air and safer streets, we need to recognise that national and international action is going to be crucial.”
Wates’ concerns mirror those of Hidaglo, who criticised world leaders’ “ineptitude”, while Garcetti said: “When it comes to climate action, no one is doing more than cities, but no one is doing enough.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the US lawmaker who first popularised the idea of a ‘Green New Deal’, backed the C40 mayors: “If we work to join forces globally, we will be able to defeat our greatest threat and realise our greatest opportunity.”
The European Union has been quick to recognise the popularity and potential of a Green Deal following elections in May that saw candidates backing climate and environmental action enjoy a wave of success across the bloc.
Incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has put green issues first and foremost in her programme for the next five years. After receiving the backing of MEPs this week, Frans Timmermans will serve as Vice President for the European Green Deal.
Timmermans has set out his plan for Europe’s own Green Deal, which has been warmly welcomed by citizens groups and environmental experts.
Wates explained that green deals were also important because they framed environmental policies “primarily as part of a positive future.” While reserving judgement about the details of plans to come, he said: “The overarching story is clear: green policies mean safe, clean jobs, good food, thriving nature, fresh air, warmer homes, efficient transport, responsible industry – and who can disagree with any of this?”