Leaders of European cities make pledge to tackle climate change

Kim Willsher, The Guardian, 3/26/2015

Representatives of 30 cities gather in Paris to sign declaration that will also commit them to use their €10bn purchasing power to buy eco-friendly

Leaders and representatives of 30 European cities will gather in Paris on Thursday to declare their commitment to “clean” policies to fight climate change.

Officials will also sign a declaration agreeing to use their collective purchasing power – estimated at around €10bn (£7.4bn) a year – to buy eco-friendly.

The gathering comes eight months before Paris hosts the United Nations climate change conference, known as COP21, aimed at achieving a binding, universal and international agreement on climate for the first time in more than 20 years of UN negotiations.

In a joint statement signed by 26 European mayors, including London’s Boris Johnson, city representatives said they hoped combining forces to favour green and low-carbon industries for procurement contracts would have a “leverage effect on the private sector that very often aligns its own requirements with the public sector”.

“[The] time has now come for European capitals and metropolises to pool our efforts to tackle climate change. This requires a closer dialogue between cities through a more regular exchange of expertise and good practices,” they declared.

The mayors will arrive at Paris’ city hall in electric Autolib’ cars, from the city’s car-sharing service, decorated in the colours of their country.

The summit comes a week after Paris was declared the most polluted city on the planet after a choking cloud almost obscured its most symbolic monuments including the Eiffel Tower and left the city of light looking more like the capital of smog.