The European Commission is setting up a North American chapter of its Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. The new regional covenant will cover the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The move was announced at the COP22 climate change summit last week (14 November), and gained an extra dimension because of the election of Donald Trump as the next US president the week before.
The Global Covenant of Mayors is the largest and first-of-its-kind coalition of cities committed to fighting climate change, and is the result of a merger of the EU Covenant of Mayors and the Compact of Mayors earlier this year.
The new covenant is supported by the European Commission, and co-chaired by EU commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič and UN special envoy Michael Bloomberg, the US media magnate and former New York City mayor.
“Mayors and local authorities are crucial partners in our collective fight against climate change. We need their creativity and commitment in putting the world on track to reach our climate and energy goals,” said Miguel Arias Cañete, the EU’s climate and energy commissioner.
Cities that take part in the Covenant of Mayors have already achieved an overall reduction of 23 per cent in emissions according to Šefčovič.
The new North American chapter of the coalition will support the implementation of the European Union’s International Urban Cooperation Programme, which promotes city-to-city cooperation on sustainable urban development for “smart, green and inclusive growth,” according to the European Commission.
Climate-KIC, the EU’s climate innovation partnership, is already working with cities across North America.
Earlier this month, cities like Washington D.C., Toronto and Puebla took part in the global Climathon, a 24-hour hackathon to find local climate change solutions. Low Carbon City Lab, another Climate-KIC programme, is helping Mexico City create its first green bonds to fund sustainable infrastructure.
Want to know more about what happened at the COP22 climate summit? Explore the coverage.