12 pioneering mayors commit to create green and healthy cities

The mayors of 12 cities have signed the C40 fossil-fuel-free streets declaration, pledging to fight air pollution, improve the quality of life for all citizens, and help tackle climate change.

On 23 October in Paris the mayors of London, Paris, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Quito, Vancouver, Mexico City, Milan, Seattle, Auckland, and Cape Town committed to a series of ambitious targets to make their cities greener, healthier and more prosperous. By signing the C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration, the pioneering city leaders pledged to procure only zero-emission buses from 2025 and ensure that a major area of their city is zero emission by 2030. The policies are designed to fight air pollution, improve the quality of life for all citizens, and help tackle the global threat of climate change.

The city of Paris has committed to zero emissions by 2030 © Jace Grandinetti/Unsplash

A future where citizens move around cities in a sustainable way

The signatories to the declaration “envision a future where walking, cycling, and shared transport are how the majority of citizens move around our cities.” The cities therefore commit to increase rates of walking, cycling and the use of public and shared transport; reduce the number of polluting vehicles on city streets; lead by example by procuring zero emission vehicles for city fleets, collaborate with suppliers, fleet operators and businesses to accelerate the shift to zero emissions vehicles and reduce vehicle miles in cities.

cape town
The city of Cape Town, South Africa, committed to zero emissions by 2030 © Tim Johnson/Unsplash

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

“I am absolutely committed to tackling the deadly effects of toxic air on Londoners and making London a zero carbon city. That’s why I am incredibly proud that today in London we have introduced the pioneering T-Charge, the toughest emission standard of any city in the world, which will help drive down the number of dirty vehicles polluting our roads and our lungs. We are leading the fight to clean up our filthy air and protect our citizens from the devastating consequences of climate change. I want to make London one of the greenest cities in the world – that’s why I’m putting walking, cycling and zero emission public transport right at the heart of Londoners’ day-to-day lives alongside energy efficient buildings, clean energy and increased recycling.”

Frank Jensen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen

“In Copenhagen we believe that citizens have a right to clean air. We therefore have the ambitious goal of becoming the world’s first C02 neutral capital by 2025 and continuously try to improve air quality. This is achieved through a green transition of our transportation, energy production and energy consumption. With this commitment we hope to inspire other cities to act.”

Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona

“Cities have to be the real protagonists in the fight against climate change, and to tackle this challenge it’s imperative to have greater powers and a bigger budget. Barcelona is working to gain 165 hectares of green space in the next few years, to triple the number of kilometres covered by bike lanes, to boost public transport, to cut journeys in private vehicles by 21 per cent, and to implement the superblock plan and create more space for pedestrians. In Paris, we once again express our commitment to the climate, set out with over 800 city entities, to cut emissions by 40 per cent and increase urban greenery by 1m2 per inhabitant”.

Tim Burgess, Mayor of Seattle

“Responding to climate change’s threat requires big thinking and bold action. By reaffirming our commitment to a zero emission transportation system, Seattle is proud to join our friends around the world in demonstrating the power of cities to lead on climate.”

Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan

“We need structural measures to fight air pollution and its impact on the health of citizens. More than ever before, as mayors of the world cities most committed to tackle environmental challenges, we must set ambitious targets. Milan invests in a better mobility, in particular by strenghthening public transportation and by expanding car, bike and motorbike sharing opportunities. We want cities without polluting vehicles and with much cleaner air. We owe this to our citizens”.

Mauricio Rodas, Mayor of Quito

“This is the time for cities to take bold action towards fossil fuel free future. Quito is ready to lead the way and committed to provide a better more resilient, low carbon and sustainable local development for all our citizens.”

Phil Goff, Mayor of Auckland

“In Auckland, our largest single contributor to greenhouse gas emissions is from transport – around 40 per cent, so signing this declaration signals how serious we are about tackling climate change. With more than one-third of New Zealand’s population and the majority of its growth, Auckland has a key leadership role to play and we are committed to transforming the way our people move and delivering a clean, green city for all.”

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