Mayors and officials representing more than 500 cities organized and attended their own summit in Paris. It was the first time local leaders had ever gathered in such numbers during a UN climate-change conference. They came to express their determination to act, to learn from one another and share best practices.
Cities account for about 70 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions, and while some heads of state have been arguing over which countries should do more, cities recognize that reducing their emissions is in their own best interest. After all, when cities cut their emissions, they help their residents live longer, healthier lives. When they improve the energy efficiency of their buildings, they save their taxpayers money. When they invest in modern low-carbon infrastructure, they raise their residents’ standard of living. Taken together, these actions make cities more attractive to businesses and investors. Even if climate change were not a concern, reducing emissions would be smart policy. See: What Paris talks have accomplished so far.
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