Representatives from 30 European capitals and major cities met to express and formalize their commitment to address climate change, emphasizing the role major urban centers play in this field. The meeting, which took place on 26 March 2015, in Paris, France, came in advance of the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UNFCCC in Paris in December 2015. French President Francois Hollande addressed the European mayors, stating that major cities must be “pioneers” in terms of low-emission practices.
Alongside with partners, such as C40, ICLEI, Energy Cities and Climate Alliance, the city representatives announced they will launch a joint initiative to coordinate public investment in green industry sectors, such as electric modes of transport and renewable energy.
The cities also committed to purchasing, as a group, items such as electric buses and refuse collection vehicles. Such coordination is expected to drive down prices and pressure the private sector to produce more cleanly and sustainably. This initiative will focus on areas: where cities have substantial purchasing power; and with a significant carbon impact, such as transport, construction and energy.
European mayors signed a joint statement titled ‘In response to a global climate challenge, a European commitment and local solutions,’ which calls on global cities to curb their by at least 40% by 2030, in compliance with EU climate and energy targets. The declaration also commits European cities to: regularly report their efforts to combat climate change; increase cooperation and sharing experiences with cities all over the world; and prioritize investments in sectors that are primarily responsible for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, such as construction, energy supply and waste recovery.