Kautz Joins World Mayors to Press for Global Climate Action
By Kevin McCarty
December 20, 2010
In the run-up to the Cancun climate negotiations, Conference of Mayors President Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth B. Kautz joined with host Mayor Marcelo Ebrard of Mexico City and other mayors throughout the world to urge national governments to recognize the role of cities in ensuring the success of global climate agreements.
"We have the proof that we can make a difference so we must raise our voices and roar like lions," Kautz told her colleagues.
Kautz delivered her remarks to the World Mayors Summit on Climate held November 21 in Mexico City, a convening of mayors and other local leaders that culminated with the signing of the Global Cities Covenant on Climate – called "The Mexico City Pact" – by 135 mayors from developing and developed nations.
"Imagine what we can do together. Today, we come together to strengthen our relationship and renew our resolve in signing this Pact and our intent to work together to achieve greener economies through sustainable development and environmental protection," she said.
Touting the efforts of her colleagues through the Conference of Mayors and its Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, Kautz said, "We in the U.S. have been on a journey since 2005. We have been concerned and good stewards of our planet."
Mexico City Pact Targets Cancun
"Today, we are fulfilling the commitment made in Copenhagen to take the voice of the cities and the commitment of the cities to the international community," Ebrard said in his opening remarks, pledging to submit the results of the Pact to world leaders in Cancun.
Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë urged Ebrard to make this case forcefully. "There will be no progress on climate change if local governments are not taken seriously. There will be no global strategies without local governments," he said.
"As local leaders, we know that we will not turn away from our responsibility. We must act forcefully on climate goals. Mayors and other local leaders – gathered here today and throughout America and the world – show our seriousness to protect our planet, as they keep climate protection at the forefront of their agenda," Kautz said.
Talking specifically about the Pact, which follows in the spirit of the U.S. Mayors Agreement, she explained that "we are working with our federal government to record our carbon footprint."
Mexico City Mayor Ebrard Cited as Leader
Kautz praised Ebrard for his "vision for this meeting in Mexico City," a message that was echoed time and again by mayors in their remarks.
During the summit, Margareta Wahlström, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, named Ebrard as the champion of the "Making Cities Resilient" campaign, a United Nations initiative, recognizing him for his city's efforts on disaster preparedness.
Other U.S. mayors attending the Summit were Conference Vice President Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Conference Trustee Des Moines Mayor T. M. Franklin Cownie and Conference Trustee North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays. Villaraigosa, whose city is Mexico City's Sister City, discussed his ongoing commitment and efforts to green Los Angeles.
Among world leaders participating in the Summit or signing the Agreement were the Mayors of Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.