UN launches global mayors network to fight climate change

The United Nations unveiled a global Compact of Mayors on Tuesday, forming the world's largest effort for cities to combat climate change.

The new coalition of megacities will spur public commitments from cities for ambitious greenhouse gas emission reductions, and report annual progress to meet such targets.


Existing pledges alone have the ability to cut annual emissions contributing to global warming 24 percent by 2020, or 454 megatons of carbon dioxide, according to a report released by Michael Bloomberg. The former mayor of New York City is the U.N. special envoy on climate change for cities.

Based on those same estimates cities have the power to also cut emissions 47 percent by 2050, the report states.

Bloomberg, former mayor of New York, said the new compact among cities will set the pace for countries, and show them the way to set aggressive targets.

"Cities are drivers of progress and innovation and by taking this step, they can help nations set new, necessary and aggressive greenhouse gas targets over the next year," Bloomberg said on Tuesday.

Mayor of Johannesburg, South Africa, Mpho Parks Tau, said the new network of cities represents over 500 million people across the globe.

"Cities are economic and populations hubs, making them critical actors in the fight against climate change," Parks Tau said.

The new organization adds to commitments and initiatives countries are announcing at the U.N. climate summit Tuesday, which is meant to build up steam for the climate talks in Paris next year.