(New York, NY - WNYC) By the end of the decade, climate-related actions taken by cities around the world will reduce greenhouse gases by 250 million tons per year. That's what New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told delegates at the Rio Earth Summit. He added that by 2030, the annual reduction of greenhouse gases by major cities could be a billion tons per year--the combined output of Mexico and Canada.
Bloomberg was addressing the Rio+C40 Summit, which he said includes 59 cities "from Bogota to Berlin, from Jakarta to Johannesburg, and from my New York." One of every 12 people on the planet live in those cities, he said, and account for about 14 percent of the world’s total carbon footprint.
“The world is rapidly urbanizing," Bloomberg said. "Cities are becoming bigger and bigger. Our problems are sometimes harder and harder to tackle. Yet we continue to make major progress, even in times of tough budget cuts."
He said New York City has shrunk its carbon footprint by 13 percent in the past five years, and praised other cities for taking similar steps.
“Let me point out that nearly two-thirds of the climate change actions the C40 cities have taken have been paid for solely from our budgets – without support from our national governments," he said. "That’s because cities recognize our responsibilities to act; we haven’t waited for our national governments to go first."
Bloomberg also announced initiatives to improve the management of city solid waste, including reducing the release of methane and other greenhouse gases, and a web site "to provide a broad, deep, and constantly updated library on what the world’s cities are doing about climate change – and about the tools and resources cities can use to further their work."
Go here to read the mayor's full remarks.