Global mayors say after the Coronavirus, there’s no return to business as usual – put climate action at center of recovery
Mayors of megacities that are members of C40, a network pledged to addressing climate change, are saying that going back to the old normal in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic is not a suitable approach to recovery. The organization represents more than 750 million people and approved a “statement of principles” committing them to ensuring that their recovery plans are driven by a focus on greater equality and climate resilience.
Last week, mayors from cities in Europe, the United States, and Africa met for talks of the newly created C40 economic task force to coordinate support for a low-carbon, sustainable recovery. One of them, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, said: “Half-measures that maintain the status quo won’t move the needle or protect us from the next crisis. We need a new deal for these times—a massive transformation that rebuilds lives, promotes equality and prevents the next economic, health or climate crisis.”
Among measures already being put into place are hundreds of miles of new bike lanes in Milan and Mexico City and London to encourage “green and sustainable travel” and prevent a return to the pre-pandemic level of car use and pollution after the economic lockdown.
Mike Bloomberg, the C40 board president and a former mayor of New York City, said: “This task force is committed to helping city leaders as they work on economic recovery in ways that lead us forward into the future, not back into the past. The principles we’ve outlined will guide our efforts to develop a new normal—one that is greener, healthier, and more prosperous for everyone.”
Mark Watts, the chief executive of C40, said mayors had a lot of power to protect their citizens and shape the direction of the recovery. “There is now a hell of a lot of collaboration among very powerful politicians who do think a green economic recovery is absolutely essential,” he said.
“We are talking about collectively creating funds that they all put money into, which would then support electric vehicles, support rollout of cycle lanes, support retrofitting of buildings … C40 cities using the hundreds of millions of dollars in their pension funds for this and getting very good long-term returns.”
(Crossposted with DailyKos.)