Hoping to place cities at the forefront of global climate-change policy efforts, leaders of more than 100 urban centers pledged on Sunday in Mexico City to commit their governments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The so-called Mexico City Pact is a precursor to climate-change talks with world governments opening next week in the Mexican resort city of Cancun. Countries will attempt once more to come up with a binding treaty to rein in global warming after the failure to do so at United Nations talks in Denmark last year.
In Mexico City, mayors and representatives of 138 cities, including Los Angeles, Paris and Johannesburg, signed the voluntary pact that states they will develop and implement local climate-change action plans that are "measurable, reportable and verifiable." The mayors summit was organized by the government of Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, whose efforts to "green" this crowded and polluted megalopolis are considered the most ambitious in Latin America.
Ebrard, who appears a likely presidential candidate in Mexico in 2012, said local governments will be key to reducing the effects of climate change. A majority of the world's population is now living in cities for the first time in history.
"We have to tell the international community that it's in the cities that the battle to slow global warming will be won," the mayor said before the summit.
Other cities in the region joining the pledge in Mexico City included Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina; La Paz, capital of Bolivia; Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, the largest cities in Brazil; Bogota, capital of Colombia; Quito, capital of Ecuador; and Montevideo, Uruguay's capital (link in Spanish).
-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City
Photo: Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, center, Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, at left, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa hold the pact. Mexican magnate Carlos Slim, who also presented his plan on climate change at the mayors summit, is seen in the far rear, third from left (link in Spanish). Credit: World Mayors Summit on Climate Change